Something really awesome happened last weekend. For some people the third weekend in April is like Christmas. That weekend was SSM Festival of Beer.

With 24 breweries and over 90 types of beer to choose from, this years fest was the biggest yet. Year 4 “The Prefill” brought its “A” game. The suds for the festival were carefully selected, and included many never before tasted varieties. Many had just been released from breweries across Ontario, some not even in the LCBO at present.

Now for my top 5 brews from the fest…

#1 Bodacious Blueberry Blonde- Broadhead (Ottawa)

Subtle blueberry flavour and aroma in a clear golden blonde ale. Brewed with fresh-picked blueberries from Canaan Blueberries just outside of Ottawa. The brew is a single release, so when it’s gone it’s gone! Perfect for Spring/Summer. Glad to have had a taste before it runs out.

#2 Pink Fuzz Grapefruit Wheat- Beyond the Pale (Ottawa)

Not your Bavarian grandfather’s wheat beer.  Made with grapefruit zest and pulp; with hops that emphasize the citrus notes. But don’t expect this to taste like the first course of Sunday breakfast; the fruit flavour is subtle, and the bitter quality of the grapefruit is balanced nicely by a bit of sweetness in the finish.

#3 Mighty Oak Imperial Brown Ale- Trafalgar Ales & Meads (Oakville)

The Mighty Oak tree located in Oakville, is believed to be over 25o years old. This tree was saved from donations from the community and Trafalgar. To pay homage The Mighty Oak Brown Ale was born. A rich brown ale with a well balanced hop-flavour and aroma, complemented by a mild oak finish. .

#4 504 Pale Ale- Liberty Village (Toronto)

A personal favourite of mine. One of the owners is my best friends roommate so whenever I visit Toronto this is the beer of choice.  A clean and refreshingly drinkable pale ale, with lush aromas of peach, fresh cut grass and citrus. A subtly earthy undertone and a soft, contained, bitterness make this a true session pale ale.

#5 Ransack the Universe IPA- Collective Arts (Toronto)

Collective Arts,- Art + Brewing. Definityely check out their Black Box Sessions. The sessions showcase some of today’s most interesting indie and alternative artists. Sessions are stripped down and filmed in the tiny, but mighty-sounding recording studio at Indie88 HQ.

Collective Arts newest creation Ransack the Universe uses galaxy hops from Myrtleford, Victoria, Australia and Mosaic hops from Yakima, WA . These hops deliver aromas and flavours of tropical fruits, mango and citrus. Light malt body lets the hops shine through, and finishes crisp but not bitter. A hemispheric hop mash-up.

504 Pale Ale, The Mighty Oak Imperial Brown Ale and Ransack the Universe IPA are all currently available at Loplops, until quantities run out. Don’t worry there’s over 80 other varieties to choose from.

See ya there!