Cask Days 2013: Thank You!

On behalf of the Cask Days 2013 team we would like to thank you for being part of our 9th Annual Cask-Conditioned Craft Beer Festival held on October 19th and 20th at Evergreen Brickworks. The festival welcomed 4500+ guests over 2 days, 124 breweries from across Canada and the UK and 230 different cask-conditioned ales. 


Special thanks to all participating breweries, volunteers, event staff, Kim Montgomery for co-ordinating media, sponsorship, food and DJ program, Jake Lewis, UNITY charity, barVolo staff, Ruth Evans, Evergreen Brickworks, pick up points (Harbour, Parallel 49, Big Rock, Half Pints, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Propeller), ticket outlets (Amsterdam Brewhouse, Bellwoods Brewery. Indie Ale House, barVolo, Granite Brewery), Stephen Beaumont, Edward Lofthouse, Rusty Wyatt, HiMyNameIs Productions, friends and family! 



Our sponsors: ( barVolo, Keep6 Imports, Microdat, BFBI, Guerilla Printing (Art Gallery), Ontario Craft Brewers Association, Glibertson & Page (brewers breakfast sponsorship), Mill St. Brewery (Shuttle Buses) Granite Brewery (Artist Gallery & Live Painting), Rankin Brothers, Amsterdam Brewery (Music), Ontario Hop Growers Association, Get Well (arcade), Spirit Tree Cidery,  our media sponsors: The Grid and City Bites Magazine


Food Vendors: ( Bar Isabel, Ceili Cottage, Parts & Labour, Tracy Winkworth, Hogtown Charcuterie, Pig Iron Coffee


DJs: ( Skratch Bastid, DJ Fathom, DJ Fase, Nasty Nav, DJ Serious, DJ Numeric, Shingo Shimuzu, Dirty Dale, Henry T, Carlo Cruz, Lively Ones


Artists: ( Kellen Hatanaka, Adrian Forrow, Jim Mezei, Marcus Uran, Rcade Wizard, Beavertown, Magic Rock, Amsterdam, Bellwoods Brewery, Le Trou Du Diable, Siren Craft, Indie Ale House, House Ales, Dieu Du Ciel!, Beau’s All Natrual, 


Photographers: Connie Tsang and Michael Lee 

Congrats to the winner of the 5th Annual Cask-Conditioned IPA Challenge: Flying Monkey’s Pink Dime IPA from Barrie Ontario. Here are the beer numbers (4)Flying Monkey (2) Left Field (4) Hopfenstark (3) House Ales. 


See everyone next year for our 10th anniversary of Cask Days. Check out some of the press we got this year:

National Post: You won’t know if you don’t cask: The transatlantic journey of a British Brew

City TV: Thousands Attend Cask Days Beer Festival 

Toronto Star: Cask Days beer festival moves to Brickworks, welcomes true British Cask Ale 

BlogTo: How Cask Days became a full-blown beer phenomenon 

The Thirsty Wench: Cask Days 2013

The Varsity: Annual Beer Festival Celebrates The Art Of Cask Ale 

Toronto Life: Five Weird And Wonderful Brews Coming To This Years Festival 

Swallow Food: Cask Days Are Coming 

City Bites: Cask Days 2013 pours into the Brick Works 

Chill Media: Our Top 8 Brews

1LOVETO: Cask Days 2013

Not My Typewriter: Cask Days 2013

Ltd.Supply Kitchen Brewery: Cask Days 2013 

Toronto Social Review: Cask Days At Evergreen Brickworks 

Cask Ale & Food – A New Cultural Feather in Canada’s Cap

By: Kristen Marano (@kmarano)

As the global dining scene experiments and matures, cask ale is quickly becoming the perfect partner to pair craft beer with good food. Young Canadians, bored with adopted tastes from mom and dad for sophisticated sauvignon blanc, are shifting to cask ale as their preferred drink when enjoying a lone pint or paring it with a meal.

Young people are making cask cool

From trendy, young women sipping cask in the dining room at Toronto’s upscale pub The Oxley, to award-winning brewers like Halifax’s Granite Brewery, cask ale interest is boosting Canadian culture to new levels. 


While Canada is known to look up to major cultural hubs like the United Kingdom for fashion trends and new music, cask ale has our friends across the pond learning from North American styles and recipes. Pete Brown, author of the UK’s The Cask Report said: “Cask ale can help pubs to not only survive but thrive … cask is shaking off its historic flat-cap image and is seen by younger consumers as a cool drink.”

 According to this year’s report, more than 50 per cent of cask consumers choose cask because, “it offers more variety and flavour than other mainstream drinks, while its heritage, natural ingredients, and locality are also cited as strong influences.”

Eoghan Banks, manager of Leslieville’s Irish Local Céilí Cottage, which has been serving cask since 2009, agrees.

“It’s very popular among our customers, even to people who may not have tried cask ale before. Most people will drink from the cask irrespective of what style of ale is actually pouring.”


Cask ale is a good food partner

Cask ale as a living beer requires less filtering and fewer ingredients, providing a lot more flavour than one would get from a lager, for example. An abundance of flavours present new opportunities for food matching, especially in a country like Canada where dining continues to become increasingly multicultural. From spicy dishes to acidic plates, there’s a cask ale to match—the key is to ensure the beer complements the food rather than overpower the dish.

When selecting your meal at a restaurant or preparing a dinner, think first about the ingredients, rather than the end product to select your beer. If you’re new to cask ale, ask your server or bartender for suggestions to suit your tastes and selections. Cask ales are diverse and can produce bitter tastes from a barrel brewed with coffee, or a sweeter palate from a barrel aged with sour cherries.

If you’ve never tried cask before, Banks says, “Don’t be put off by texture or temperature, but give it a chance and really experience the flavours in the ale.”


A cheaper alternative and attractive offer for restaurants

For people who want to have more than one pint at a bar, cask is cheaper and also more tasteful than a regular industrial lager. Ironically, cask requires more time and effort to prepare and it’s less expensive than a mass-produced, fizzy and filtered beer. Real ale is the most pure form of beer people are going to get.  

Aside from cost, there’s a growing need for consumers to know where their food comes from. What’s in the drink—from sugar to aspartame and more—is due to a growing popularity in locally produced goods.

Banks says Céilí Cottage uses cask ales in dinner recipes, and the visual of the bar staff pulling the pump is intriguing to a lot of people.

Recently Celli Cottage worked with beer supplier Barley Days Brewery in Picton, Ontario, to develop its Scrimshaw Oyster Stout. They used one thousand Malpeque oysters from Prince Edwards Island in the brew, and the first batch is currently available on cask, draught and bottle at many pubs throughout Ontario.

If you haven’t had your beer epiphany yet, Cask Days will help you discover an appreciation for cask ale and good food. 

Photo’s by: Connie Tsang



By: Kavi Guppta (@kaviguppta) & Kristen Marano (@kmarano)

For centuries, men and women in many cultures have been preserving quality alcoholic beverages—vintners carefully oversee the harvesting of fine grapes to produce the best wines, and distillers painstakingly observe aging bourbon to ensure each sip abides by the lore that birthed it. Good beer is no different.

With cask-conditioned ale, cellarmans are tasked with promoting the beauty in each cask of beer sold—whether they’re developing a range of aromas and flavours, or nurturing the brew by serving it in a manner and temperature that complements its profile. What’s enjoyed in the pint glass is a laborious process involving dedication to a fine craft.

Like much of the history that follows cask ale, the UK has led a storied tradition of cellarmanship for years. As technology and culture has evolved, the role of the cellarman has also had to adapt.


“Cellarmanship is something many of us take for granted,” says Edward Lofthouse, co-founder of The Harbour Brewing Company in North Cornwall, UK. “With the pressures of modern business, cellarmanship skills are being tested further. Some brewers are trying to shortcut on traditional methods to make and sell more by producing ‘bright’ cask ales, which don’t meet ‘real ale’ requirements.”

North America’s take on cask-ale brought about gentle changes to the British tradition.

“Cellarmanship in North America is very different from what pubs in the UK have been doing for years”, explains Ralph Morana, owner of Toronto’s Bar Volo and co-founder of Cask Days. “In the UK, the pub owners were responsible to condition and mature the casks by adding finings and priming sugars. The beers needed to settle and were served bright. In North America, most breweries do not add finings and or priming sugars.”

These changes have allowed a traditional brew making process to flourish. The UK set the standard and history for good cask-ale, but it’s North America that has inspired new recipes and styles of the beverage.


“I am hugely influenced by the North American brew scene and its expression and passion to take on all styles,” shares Logan Plant, co-founder of London based Beavertown Brewery. “Cask-ale culture goes all the way back to King Arthur…but brewers are paying attention to North American recipes.”

While steady sales are a priority for many pubs to sustain their presence, cellarman adhere to strong core beliefs—safety and hygiene are vital to the health and strength of a good brewery. A well-conditioned, cool room guarantees a safe habitat for brewing and allows for a clean environment where cellarman can conduct their craft. An understanding of proper conditioning will help reduce the level of carbon dioxide and each style of beer may need different temperature levels.


Serving is also a key component of the process that requires attention to detail—whether it’s tapping the cask to enable an optimal flow of beer when pouring, or securing the barrel on a stillage—a rack to hold the cask—in an upright position for hand-pumping.

Ultimately it’s the customer who helps propel excellent product. Younger crowds seeking out quality beer have been championing good cellarmanship, and the breweries they love.

“Many cask-ales were very traditional and not very inspiring for younger drinkers,” says Lofthouse. “Younger drinkers are turning their backs on mass produced bland beers, and want flavour and variety. It’s an amazing time for the UK market, and US inspired Pale ales are certainly leading this resurgence.”

“I think many of the new growth market customers in beer are the 20-35 years olds,” says Plant in agreement. “I also believe that the emergence and huge popularity of the UK craft beer scene is pushing people back into appreciating and drinking cask-ale—which is a good thing for communities and pubs alike.”

A good cellarman will always ensure that fresh beer is served. “We don’t rush,” adds Lofthouse. “Great beer needs time and attention to make sure it is served in the best possible condition. Just give it time and you will be rewarded.”

Photo’s by: Connie Tsang

Cask Conditioned Ale – The Basics.

By: Kavi Guppta (@kaviguppta)

The explosion of craft beer onto the bar and dining scene has only fueled excitement about unique brews popping up all over the country—add to this the growth in awareness of cask-conditioned ale—Canadians are quickly becoming savvier beer drinkers. With increased recognition, passionate supporters are quick to point out that cask-conditioned ale isn’t merely a style, but an attentive brewing process.

Cask-ale’s rise in popularity has been aided in part by the distinct method it is brewed and served—unfiltered and unpasteurized beer, served from a cask (originating from the Spanish word cascara, which means container)without the use of external nitrogen or carbon dioxide pressure. Its increase in consumption can be associated with a number of defining qualities: a living, breathing product from brewery to pint glass, localized creation to ensure optimal freshness, and an extensive range and depth in flavour that increasingly pairs well with food.   


To understand what sets cask-ale apart from other brewing types, we have to explore the history associated with the beverage. For this, we turn to Britain—a country synonymous with its ales and beers. Long responsible for the culture’s evolution and savior in times of conflict, cask-ale worked in Britain because of an enthusiasm among drinkers dating back to the middle ages, but also a cooler climate that allowed the specialized brewing process to flourish. Connoisseurs will claim cask-ale to be Britain’s greatest contribution to the world—it is their staunch attention to detail that has kept cask-ale brewed and served to explicit standard—and the drink has navigated Britons through war, disease, and social progress.

What differentiates cask-ale from keg served beer is the primary fermentation process—the beer is left in the cask to condition naturally right up to the point it is served. Beer destined for cask is “racked” (poured) into the barrel in its natural state, where keg and bottled beers can be sterile-filtered, pasteurized, or both. Finings, substances that remove organic compounds to improve clarity or adjust the flavour and aroma, are added to the beer near the completion of the brewing process. This encourages the yeast to sink to the bottom and remains undisturbed while the beer is poured.

The length of time the beer can last in the cask depends on the nature of the beer itself—but to enjoy the brew at its finest, cask-ale should be consumed within two to three days of being tapped. A wooden peg is knocked into a wooden or plastic fitting called the shive found in the side of ale casks. The wooden peg in the shive allows any extra gas within the cask to vent off. When the beer is deemed ready, the soft wooden peg is replaced with a hard one that doesn’t allow air to flow in or gas to leak out. The beer settles for twenty-four hours, until it is ready to serve. A gravity dispense remains the simplest method of serving types. Once tapped, the cask can allow beer to flow freely into your glass. The cellarman will ensure that the brew is properly vented—allowing air to enter and replace the dispensed beer.

If the beer is sitting in a cool cellar below the pub, a hand pump known as a beer-engine is used to siphon the ale up. Once the lines have been washed, and the beer engine is tapped, the pump requires several pulls to clear air or water. Experienced staff will serve a pint with long, smooth, and slow pulls from the pump handle—resulting in a good amount of head, and beautiful clear ale best poured in a wide-brimmed glass to enjoy its full aroma.

The brewing of cask-conditioned ale is a storied process spanning many centuries. As history has ebbed and flowed, the way we’ve enjoyed beer has also been taken on a wild journey—but Canadians are once again turning to local, artisanal producers of food and beverage, with Cask Days continuing the passion and enthusiasm for this specific brewing technique. The result is an ever-growing community of brewers and advocates championing a community approach to brewing tasty, handcrafted beer made with the utmost attention to detail.  

Photo’s by: Connie Tsang 

5th Annual Cask-Conditioned IPA Challenge

Cask Days invites you to participate in the 5th Annual Cask-Conditioned IPA Challenge taking place Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th, 2013 in Toronto, Ontario. This years challenge will be hosted bybarVolo (587 Yonge St. Toronto) and feature 32 cask-conditioned IPA’s from 32 different breweries (Ontario & Quebec). Participating IPA’s be served blind through gravity cask and will compete heads up in a single elimination bracket tournament. The top score of each beer pairing will advance to the next round. Attendees will have the opportunity to rate and score beers over three rounds. All beers will be revealed as their knocked out of the challenge. The final four beers remaining in the challenge will compete in one last round at Cask Days in October this year. 



  • Round One (12pm - 4pm) - SOLD OUT - Saturday, May 4th, 2013 
  • Round Two (5pm - 9pm) - SOLD OUT - Saturday, May 4th, 2013
  • Round Three (12pm - 4pm) - $20.00* - Sunday, May 5th, 2013  
  • IPA Tap Takeover (4pm-2am) - Sunday, May 5th, 2013 (No Tickets Required)*
  • * Featuring 26 India Pale Ale Hybrids on tap (Belgian IPA, Black IPA’s, Double IPA’s etc..
  • * Round Three Ticket holders will have first access to the tap take over. 

IPA CHALLENGE TAP TAKEOVER (Open To Public / No Tickets Required) 

Sunday, May 5th, 2013 - 4:00pm @barVolo (587 Yonge St.)

A. House Ales Big Hoppa (Double IPA)

B. House Ales Fermium (Double Black IPA)

C. Nickel Brook Malevolent (Imperial Black IPA)

D. Nickelbrook Immodest (Double IPA)

E. Bellwoods Witchshark (Double IPA)

F  Amsterdam Fracture (Double IPA)

G. Great Lakes Robohop Double IPA 

H  Indie Ale House Barnyard (Belgian IPA)

I. Indie Ale House Jump The Shark (Double Black IPA)

J. To Be Announced

K. Dieu Du Ciel! Chaman (Double IPA)

L. Dieu Du Ciel! Penombre (Black IPA)

M. Dieu Du Ciel! Derniere Volonte (Belgian IPA)

N. Flying Monkeys TBA

O. Black Oak Ten Bitter Years (Double IPA)

P. Muskoka Twice As Mad (Double IPA)

Q. Left Field 6-4-3 (Double IPA)

R. Sawdust City Togenga’s Forbidden Fruit (Belgian IPA)

S. Dunham Black IPA (American Black IPA)

T. Dunham Belgian IPA (Belgian IPA)

U. Le Trou Du Diable Amere Indienne (Belgian IPA)

V. Le Trou Du Diable Smash IPA (SMASH Single Hop IPA) 

W. Le Trou Du Diable Black IPA

X. Le Trou Du Diable Dubai Pilee (Double IPA)

Y. Great Lakes X F&M “Alan Eagleson Was Framed Man!” (Black IPA

Z. Rogue 2X IPA (Double IPA)

Thank You!

On behalf of the whole Cask Days 2012 crew we would like to thank you for being part of this years event at Evergreen Brick Works last week. With approximately 3000 guests in attendance and 120 casks finished 2012 marks the most successful Cask Days to date. Its hard to imagine that just two years ago we were hosting this festival within the walls of Volo. Cheers and see you next year! (oh yeah, forgot to mention were doing it again!)

Special Thanks To All Of Our Guests, Bre
weries, Volunteers, barVolo Staff, Evergreen Brick Works, Remix Project, Andy Connell, Laura Macdonald, Guy Rawlings, Kim Montgomery, Guerilla Printing, Le Trou du Diable, Amsterdam Brewery, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Benelux Half Pints, Picaroons, Parallel 49, Beaus All Natural, Bellwoods, Great Lakes, Howe Sound, OCB, Mill St., Gilbertson and Page, Flying Monkeys, Toronto Brewing, Granite Brewery, Grand Electric, Chocosol, Robbie / Chris, Hogtown Charcuterie, Jay Carter, The Green Grind, 100KM Foods, 23 Degrees Coffee, Alis Bread, Zuccarini, Brewers Backyard, BEATBOXCAN, Hansel, DJ Dopey, J-Tec, Dough Low Rock, Andre Trudel, Lively O.nes, Elicser, Beerology, Jimmy Chiale, Mike Del Mundo, Yannic Brosseau, Jordan Bamforth, Adrian Alphona, Kellen Hatanaka, Connie Tsang, Robin Sharp, Michael Lee, Eating Out TO, Mike Warner, Rusty Wyatt, Adil & Milos & Francis (Hope we are not missing anyone) :)


Brewers Breakfast / Session 1  Facebook  /  Photobucket    (Connie Tsang)
Session 1 / Session 1 Facebook  /  Photobucket (Robin Sharp)
Session 2 Facebook  /  Phtoobucket   (Michael Lee)

Cask Days On Facebook /  Cask Days On Twitter                                                                                                                              
Pre Cask Days Press

Session 3

First off we would like to thank everyone who came out to session one and two yesterday. This was by far the largest turn out Cask Days has ever seen in eight years. Over 2,300 people came through our doors.

Unfortunately a lot more beer was consumed than we estimated and a hand full of casks have blown from the initial advertised list. There are some new casks we have introduced but there may be some beers you wanted to try that are no longer available. Don’t worry there is plenty of beer for the amount of people attending!

We are offering all ticket holders for Session Three the option to receive $10.00 dollars cash back or $10.00 in tokens when you enter. We apologize if this may inconvenience anyone. 

All the food vendors, art gallery, live music are still in full effect and we are still rocking it from 12:00pm - 5:00pm at the Brick Works today.

Thank You!

Cask Days @ Great Lakes Project X

Written By: Mike Warner 

On Thursday, October 11th the monthly Project X party put on by the fine people at Great Lakes was turned into a special Cask Days celebration with breweries from around the GTA participating. In true Cask Days style, the six cask beers were being served outside the Great Lakes brewery despite the chilly weather. It was a great way for everyone at the event to get a little practice drinking in the cold before the big weekend arrives.

A cask from each of Amsterdam, Black Oak, House Ales and Nickel Brook were being served alongside two Great Lakes offerings. Black Oak brought a Lavender Pale Ale, which was their standard pale ale given a big floral oomph by the lavender. The result was not subtle, but neither was it unpleasant (but that probably depends on your lavender tolerance). The House Ales Back In The Day Bitter was the tamest of beers, a mild tasting ale with earthy English hops and a slight cereal grain character. Very light tasting compared to the other beers available.

A beer that worked very well was the Nickel Brook Bertwell 80/-, a Scottish style beer with wet-hopped with local Bertwell hops (a variety that may only found in Ontario). The earthy flavour of the fresh hops fit with the bready caramel flavours of the malt. The cask definitely helped to accentuate the subtle elements at play and the Bertwell 80/- had the nicest body of all the beers. In contrast, the Amsterdam Molasses Porter was done no favours by being served on cask. Every bit of the 8.5% ABV was felt and overshadowed the rest of the beer.

Great Lakes like to play around with different ingredients and their two casks were further proof of this. The Alipeno Ale, named obviously for the jalapeno pepper that is the featured ingredient in this spicy beer. The jalapeno flavour is backed by a nice caramel malt profile, which helps to add some balance. The beer is deceiving mild at first, but the heat builds up over time. A nice beer in small quantities. The real star from Great Lakes was the Pumpkin Ale with Bourbon Soaked Vanilla Beans. The bourbon and vanilla were subtle, but added a nice depth to the pumpkin spices. Being served on cask also seemed to tone down the spices, which was fine by me. A nice twist on the Pumpkin Ale.

Food for this Project X event was provided by Melt Grilled Cheese, featuring such creations as pulled pork, roasted vegetable, chicken burrito and the classic grilled cheese. The cheese inside miraculously stayed gooey and warm on the inside, the perfect thing for a chilly night. Between the food, good company and delicious cask beers, it was an excellent and got everyone excited for the Cask Days weekend.

Gravity v.s Beer Engine

Written By: Mike Warner

One of the defining elements of cask beer is that it is served without any added gas or carbonation. This differs from draught beer, where carbon dioxide and nitrogen are added for carbonation and to push the beer out from the keg, through the tap and into your glass. As cask beer is naturally carbonated and conditioned within the keg, a different method of dispensing the beer must be employed. This can either be done through a beer engine or by gravity.

Gravity dispensing predates the beer engine. In this case, a tap is placed in the front of the cask and the beer comes out by the simple force of gravity when the tap is opened. This allows for cask beer to be appreciated in a pure form, as there is no agitation of the beer from the cask to glass. The gravity dispense method also makes it harder to mask flaws such as an under carbonated beer.

Gravity dispensing is most often used at beer festivals, special events or at bars without beer engines, which usually means they only serve cask beer one or two nights a week. The problem is that most often the cask is just sitting on the bar (or on a table in the case of beer events), making it hard to regulate the temperature of the cask. Cask blankets (basically flexible ice packs) can be used to help keep the cask cool, but casks served through gravity must still be consumed very quickly.

The alternative to gravity dispensing is the beer engine. Before modern refrigeration, the beer engine allowed a cask to placed in a cellar and have the beer drawn up to the bar by pumps. This extended the life of a cask by placing it in a consistently cooler area. Casks are now stored in fridges most of the time, but the beer engine remains largely the same. (There are electronic pumps, though you’re not likely to come across one. If your server isn’t pumping the beer, chances are you’re secretly getting draught beer from a tap made to look like a hand pump.)

Unfortunately, beer engines are not perfect. If the line from the cask to the spout is not properly insulated, the beer could be above ideal temperature in your glass. Hand pumps can also agitate the beer, taking away some of the subtleness of cask beer. Sparklers are another contentious issue surrounding beer engines. Essentially, sparklers are plastic caps attached to the spout of a beer engine. They are perforated with small holes that spray the beer into the glass when it comes out of the spout. This helps to create a nice head on a pint of cask beer, though some also argue that it takes away from the flavour and aroma of cask beer. It’s really a question of personal preference and source of nerdy pub arguments.

I would never say that one method of serving cask beer is better than another, though you’re welcome to come to your own conclusions. In my opinion, coming up with an answer is hard because of the very nature of cask beer. As a living and evolving beer, no two casks are ever the same. Plus there is the influence of the bar/restaurant and how they treat casks. There is more to the story than strictly how a cask is served, though it is an important part to creating an enjoyable pint. It never hurts to ask how a cask beer was served – the gravity or beer engine part is usually pretty easy to see, but see if they use a sparkler or ask where the casks are stored in relation to the hand pump. Over time you may find a preference to one method or take sides in the sparkler debate. Or you may just develop a stronger appreciation for cask beers, the breweries that make them and the people the serve them. There’s nothing wrong with that either.

Cask Days Montreal - List Of Beers


BENELUX Sabotage
Le Cheval Blanc Citra IPA
Dieu du Ciel! Baraque IPA
Brasserie de Dunham IPA Anglaise
Brasseurs Illimités Simple Malt Cascade IPA
Brasseurs du Monde Houblonnière IPA
Broadway Pub Westcott IPA
Hopfenstark Postcolonial IPA
Trou du Diable Dubaï Pillée IPA
MB Charlevoix Vache Folle RyePA
BENELUX X House Ales VoLuxious IPA


Amsterdam Boneshaker IPA
Beau’s Beaver River IPA
Black Oak Ten Bitter Years IPA
Flying Monkey Smash Bomb IPA
House Ales Westside IPA
Great Lakes Karma Citra IPA
Granite Hopping Mad IPA
Indie Ale House Instigator IPA
Nickelbrook Headstock IPA
Muskoka Mad Tom IPA

Cask Days & Benelux Present: A Night Of IPA's

Une soirée
Servies en cask
Une présentation de BENELUX & Cask Days

BENELUX et Cask Days sont fiers de s’unir afin de vous offrir “Une Soirée IPA” qui aura lieu le samedi 9 juin prochain à 18h à la Brasserie artisanale BENELUX (245 rue Sherbrook Ouest, Montreal). Les bières à l’honneur seront toutes de type India Pale Ale, provenant d’Ontario et du Québec, conditionnées et servies en cask. Pas moins de vingt brasseries participantes en plus d’une collaboration toute spéciale entre BENELUX (Montréal) et HOUSE ALES (Toronto). Il s’agira d’un événement historique : pour la première fois, des bières ontariennes seront servies en cask au Québec. Tout cela, grâce à l’étroite collaboration des Importations Privées Bièropholie.

La soirée se déroulera en deux temps: de 18h à 20h la dégustation se fera à l’aveugle, sans que le noms des brasseries ne soient affichées. Toutes les IPAs seront servies en format 5oz. À 20h, le nom des brassereis et des bières seront dévoilée et la dégustation se poursuivera en verres de format 12oz. La championne des IPAs issue d’un vote tenu durant la période à l’aveugle sera dévoilée en cours de soirée.

De par nos expériences passées, nous pouvons affirmer que BENELUX affichera complet ce soir-là et nous vous encourageons à arriver tôt afin de profiter de la gamme complète des bières offertes.

La liste des brasseries participantes apaprait au bas de ce message


A Night Of…
Served On Cask
Presented By Benelux & Cask Days

It is with great pleasure to announce that Benelux and Cask Days will be working together to host “A Night with IPAs” on Saturday, June 9th, 2012 at Brasserie Benelux Brewpub (245 rue Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal) - 6:00pm. The theme for the event is the India Pale Ale styles from Ontario and Quebec served cask-conditioned. This event will mark the first ever appearance of Ontario casks available in Quebec with the help of Importations Privées Bieropholies. “A Night Of India Pale Ales” will be the after party for Mondial de la Bière. For this special night only, there will be 20 participating breweries and one special collaboration between BENELUX (Montréal) and HOUSE ALES (Toronto).

The event will be split in two halves: first, between 6pm and 8pm all the IPAs will be offered in 5oz pours for a blind tasting, a period where no beers nor brewery names will be published. Then, from 8pm, beers and brewery names will be revealed and tasting will then on be in 12oz glasses. A champion IPA shall be announced later at night from votes compiled during the blind tasting .

From past experiences, these events fill up quite quickly, and we encourage everyone to come as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

Here is a list of the participating breweries….


BENELUX, Montréal
Cheval Blanc, Montréal
Dieu du Ciel!, St-Jérôme
Brasserie de Dunham, Dunham
Brasseurs Illimités, St-Eustache
Brasseurs du Monde, St-Hyacinthe
Broadway Pub, Shawinigan
Hopfenstark, l’Assomption
MicroBrasserie Charlevoix, Baie-St-Paul
Trou du Diable, Shawinigan


Amsterdam, Toronto
Beau’s All Natural, Vankleek Hill
Black Oak, Etobicoke
Flying Monkeys, Barrie
Granite, Toronto
Great Lakes, Etobicoke
House Ales (barVolo), Toronto
Indie Ale House, Toronto
Muskoka, Bracebridge
Nickelbrook, Burlington


BENELUX x House Ales (Montréal x Toronto)



On behalf of Cask Days & barVolo we would like to thank everyone who joined us this weekend and participated in the 4th Annual Ontario Cask IPA challenge. The weather was in perfect condition for cask ale and it was the largest customer participation / turn out we have ever seen. 

A special thanks to all of the craft breweries from Ontario who entered their beer into this years challenge. Everyone can agree that the quality and taste of the IPA’s were in excellent condition and gets better every year. The challenge is not so much about who makes the best beer, but to spread the awareness of the style and to stimulate local breweries to create new and exciting varieties of india pale ales. 

Cask Days would like to congratulate House Ales who came out on top and won the challenge with their West Side 213 IPA. For those of you who missed out this weekend or our live twitter feeds you can check out the results here; 

We also have some great photos of the event taken by Mandeep Flora;

Finally, a big thanks to Caplansky’s Truck & Chef Ryan (for catering the event), Guerrilla Printing (for all their hard work and awesome prints), Keep6 Design (for branding the challenge), barVolo staff/volunteers (standing outside all weekend long in the cold weather serving beer) and for all our customers who came out to support the event. Its great to see so many new faces and industry folk present. Its a good time to be a craft beer lover in Ontario. Cheers and see everyone next year! (At a new undisclosed location )

Event Reviews;




Great Lakes (1) Karma Citra IPA v.s
Niagara College Sarbanes Hopsley IPA

Mill St.Paradise IPA v.s
Grand River Curmudgeon IPA

Amsterdam (2) X House Ales LK 101 IPA v.s
Lake Of Bays Ten Point IPA

Muskoka (1) Mad Tom IPA v.s
Cheshire Valley IPA

Beau’s Beaver River IPA v.s
Black Oak Apollo Smash IPA

Durham Hop Addict IPA v.s
Indie Ale House Instigator IPA

Granite (2) Grapefruit Lagoon IPA v.s
Church Key West Coast IPA

Clocktower IPA v.s
House Ales (1) West Side 213 IPA


Cameron’s Rye IPA v.s
Toronto Brewing X Durham Home brew Club Sick Day IPA

F&M Stonehammer IPA 2012 v.s
Bad Ass Brewers Collective (Indie Ale House, Sawdust City, Kevin Sommerville) Cock Puncher IPA

House Ales (2) X Amsterdam LK 102 IPA v.s
Publican House Sqare Nail IPA

Sawdust City Lone Pine IPA v.s
Granite (1) Hopping Mad IPA

Amsterdam (1) Boneshaker IPA v.s
Magnotta Magnetic North IPA

Nickelbrook Headstock IPA v.s
Great Lakes 2 Lake Effect IPA

Muskoka In Pursuit Of Hoppiness (2) IPA v.s
Kensington Fisheye IPA

Saint Roach Hopnotoad IPA v.s
Flying Money Phantom of the Hopera IPA


Friday, April 20th, 2012 @ barVolo (2:00pm - 2:00am)

We will begin this years festivities with the IPA SPIN OFF featuring not so traditional IPA’s from Ontario breweries. This will include the following styles: Double IPA’s, Black IPA’s Belgian IPA’s and experimental IPA’s Beers. The majority of beers for this event will be one offs. No admission required. Here is a first look of the beers available;

  • AMSTERDAM’S  “Dodoens Pale” – Belgian IPA  8.4%
  • BELLWOODS  “Witchshark” – Imperial IPA – 10.7%
  • BEAU’S “Hell Hop” - Imperial Red Ale - 8.5%
  • BLACK OAK’S  “Ten Bitter Years” – DIPA – 8.0%
  • CAMERON’S  “Barrel Aged Sour IPA” – Hybrid – 6.0%
  • CLOCK TOWER “Piney The Beer” - Hybrid - 6.0%
  • FLYING MONKEY “Harmonic Decimation -DIPA - 10.0%
  • GRANITE  “Darkside” – Black IPA – 6.0%
  • GREAT LAKES  “Apocalypse Later”– Imperial IPA – 11.0%
  • GREAT LAKES  “Audrey Hopburn” – Belgian IPA – 6.2%
  • GREAT LAKES X DHC  “Mangoverboard” – Hybrid – 4.4%
  • HOUSE ALES  “Fermium” Double Black IPA – 8%
  • SAWDUST CITY “The Princess Wears Girlpants” – Belgian IPA – 8.5%

We are excited to announce our list of judges for the first round of the IPA challenge whom will make up 70% of the score. (30% public)

  • BJCP Judges – Brad Clifford & Erica Graholm
  • Brewers – Siobhan McPherson & DougPengelly
  • Writer – Michael Warner & Nick Pashley
  • Home Brewer –Russ Burdick & Angel Weller
  • Bar Owner – Fabian Skidmore & Tashi Sundup
  • Beer Raters – Harry Heatherington & Jeremy Craigs

Cask Days is looking for one more home brewer and beer writer judge for the event. If your interested please e-mail

4th Annual Ontario Cask IPA Challenge

Cask Days™ invites you to participate in the 4th Annual Ontario Cask IPA Challenge taking place on Friday, April 20th to Monday, April 23rd, 2012. This year’s challenge will be hosted by barVolo (587 Yonge St. Toronto) and feature 32 different cask-conditioned IPA’s from 26 Ontario breweries served blind. Participating IPA’s will go heads up in a single elimination bracket tournament, where the top score of each beer pairing will advance to the next round.

Attendees will have the opportunity to rate and score beers throughout the entire weekend. The beers will be revealed as they are eliminated from the challenge. With the growing demand for hoppy beers, our goal is to stimulate and challenge our local craft brewers to create new and exciting ways to make india pale ales. For more information and details about the challenge visit the official website.

• $10.00 admission (includes branded glassware for tasting and tasting score card)

• Featuring 32 different IPA’s on cask from Ontario. (all year, seasonal’s and special one offs)

• Beers will be assigned a random display number and will be served blind on gravity casks .

• Customers will be presented score cards to rate the participating IPA’s.

• All participating beers in the challenge will be available in either a 1/4 or 1/2 pint serving.

• Beers that do not advance will be disclosed and become available by the 1⁄2 and full pint.

• First round cumulative results will be weighed as 70% judges score & 30% public score.

• Judges will consist of brewers, writers, home brewers, BJCP certified judges and enthusiasts.

• Live tournament updates will be posted on @Caskdays twitter (#IPACHALLENGE) 

• If the final two IPA’s can be brewed again, there will be a 5th round. 

• Final round will take place during ontario craft beer week.

• 19+ event. Cash only - ATM available downstairs. Food will be available. 

Thank You!

On behalf of the Cask Days team we would like to thank everyone for coming out and supporting this years festivities at the Hart House on Sunday, October 30th, 2011. The event was a tremendous success with a total of 55 participating breweries, 82 unique cask-conditioned ales and over 1200 guests in attendance.  This marked the 7th year of Cask Days which was founded in 2005 at barVolo by Ralph Morana and was the first year we brought the event to a new venue.

A special thanks goes out to all of the craft breweries across Canada who participated this year. All of the casks were in top form and tasting great! If it wasn’t for you guys this event could not be possible.

We would also like to thank all of this years volunteers, the hart house staff, our photographers, barVolo staff (you guys have been a tremendous help the last few weeks), our sponsors (TAPS Magazine, Premier Brands, Niagara College, Keep6 Imports), the folks part of CASK! Toronto, CRAP, the Dj’s (Carlo Cruz, House Addict, Dieu Du Ciel!, Avlisad, Skip) our friends, family and everyone who helped make this event possible.

Over the next few days we will be posting some photographs of the event and announcing the winners of the Cask Days 2011 Awards.

Cask Days will return in Spring 2012 with the 4th Annual Cask-Conditioned IPA Challenge. Stay tuned for more details! Cheers!

Guide To Cask Days 2011

Cask Days 2011: Cask-Conditioned Craft Beer Festival is a few days away! Below is important information you should know before coming to the event. Please take the time to read through everything;


Event Location

Hart House Quadrangle (University of Toronto Campus)
7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON M5S 3H3

View Larger Map
Cask Days 2011 entrance and line up will be on the west side of the building on Tower Road (Off Hoskin Ave). You will not be able to enter through the main entrance of the Hart House. For more information about Hart House click here.

How to get to Hart House?

TTC      Queens Park Subway Station or Museum Subway Station (Yellow Line)
WALK   Hart House is walking distance from both subway stations (above)

BUS      Wellesley or Ossington 94 Bus (Stop is “Tower Road”)

BIXI      Hart House is surrounded by four BIXI bike stations


For live updates and news follow @CaskDays on Twitter. 

Halloween Costumes are encouraged - there will be a Halloween costume contest during session two. Best costume wins a case of Dieu Du Ciel! Peche Mortel  (Mortel Sin).


Important Information

  • Please bring a printed copy of your electronic ticket (.pdf) and photo identification. Without this you cannot get in. If you don’t have a copy of your ticket or have any questions regarding admission please contact Your ticket purchase receipt is not the ticket.
  • Cask Days is a rain or shine event.  All casks will be under tents and there is plenty of room inside the Hart House. Don’t forget to dress warm!  The Hart House quadrangle is outdoors.
  • Cask Days 2011 is a 19+ event. Please remember to drink responsibly and don’t drink and drive!
  • If you registered multiple tickets under one name, ensure each guest has a unique ticket number.
  • Cask Days 2011 is a CASH ONLY event. There are three accessible ATM’s in the Hart House area.


CASK DAYS 2011 Food Stand
Provided and prepared by Hart House

Miss Vicki’s Chips ($1.00)
Pulled Pork Sandwiches ($3.00)
Mini Hart house Sliders with choice of Blue Cheese,
Aged Cheddar or Bacon ($2.50)
Grilled Corn with Chili Lime Butter ($1.00)
Sausage on a Bun ($2.50)
Grilled Veggie Tower  ($2.50)




Cask Days 2011 T-Shirt            $ 20.00
Cask Days 2011 Sweater            $ 35.00
Cask Days 2011 Printed Poster        $ 5.00



Cask Days 2011: After Party & DJ Sets

We will be closing out Cask Days 2011 with an after-party at barVolo from 11:00pm - 3:00am Sunday, October 30th, 2011(Serving until 2:00am). Festival oganizers, volunteers, staff and brewers will be present for a special cask tapping of Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel! Peche Mortel (Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Coffee Stout). No Admission Required!

There will be a Halloween costume contest during Session 2 of Cask Days main event at Hart House ! Best costume will win a case of Dieu Du Ciel! Peche Mortel! (Mortel Sin)

Cask Days Session 2: DJ Set Times @ HART HOUSE

irGo (House Addict,TO) 9:30pm - 12:00am
DJ Hawk (Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel!,MTL) 8:30pm - 9:30pm
DJ Ochame (Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel!, MTL) 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Carlo Cruz (Gettin Privy Wit It, TO) 6:00 - 7:30pm

Cask Days After Party: at BARVOLO (587 Yonge St)

skIP (House Ales / Keep6) 1:00am - 3:00am
AVLISAD (House Ales / Keep6) 12:00am - 1:00am

Cask Days 2011: Seminars

Presented By: Cask Days X CASK! Toronto
Saturday, October 29th, 2011 @ barVolo (587 Yonge St.)

Admission costs are $10 per session, or $25 for all.
This includes one glass of cask-ale per session plus seminar discussion.



Hosted by Charles Maclean (Owner/Brewer of Maclean’s Brewing)

Cask: Maclean’s IPA (Charles Maclean)

10:30AM – 11:30AM         Time Duration: 1 Hour       Cost: $10.00 

An in-depth discussion of how to properly make and rack cask-conditioned ale. The seminar will educate brewers and beer enthusiasts the essential steps involved when brewing cask-ale. Charles Maclean has been a fore-frontier of cask-ale in Ontario since the beginning and will elaborate on the advantages and disadvantages of brewing cask-ale at a brewery level.


Hosted by Ralph Morana (barVolo) & George Milbrandt (C’est What)

Cask: Mildly Bitter (House Ales X barVolo X C’est What Collaboration)

12:00PM – 1:00PM        Time Duration: 1 Hour       Cost: $10.00 

Cellarmanship in the broadest sense covers the gamut of drinks sold by retail outlets and requires a detailed technical manual. The purpose of seminar is to set out the general principles for the successful management of cask-conditioned ales at the restaurant/bar level. Ralph Morana and George Milbrandt have established themselves within the beer community as bar owners that advocate cask-condition ales on a daily basis.


Hosted by Nick Pashley & Robert Hughey

Cask: “There’s Gold In That There Cask” (House Ales X Nick Pashley Collaboration)

1:30 PM – 2:30PM     Time Duration:  1 Hour       Cost: $10.00

Learn about the history of Cask-Ale in Ontario and find out how it has matured to where it is today. Nick Pashley and Robert Hughey are both highly dedicated to the raising awareness of local cask-ale and offer a wide range of brewing knowledge and experience from which to draw. Nick Pashley is the author of “Notes on a Beermat: Drinking and Why It’s Necessary” and “Cheers: An Intemperate History of Beer in Canada”; and Robert Hughey regularly contributes to “The New Brewer” and “Great Lakes Brewing News” beer publications.


Hosted by CASK! Toronto, barVolo & House Ales

3:00PM – 7:00PM       Cost: Free Admission

barVolo will host CASK! Toronto’s monthly cask social – the event is open to the public with no admission fee. This will be an exclusive House Ales feature of Traditional English Styles– all beers are subject to availability.

·      Fuller’s Left Over

·      House Ales X Harry & Paul OFA

·      House Ales Run ESB

·      House Ales Matt’s Marathon Mild 2011 – Batch 1

·      House Ales X C’est What? Mildly Bitter

·      House Ales X Notes On A Beermat There’s Gold In That There Cask

For more information please contact:

Cask Days 2011: Confirmed Casks

All Beers Are Subject To Change

British Columbia
•    Central City Red Racer Amarillo IPA
•    Central City Red Racer Simcoe IPA
•    Central City Red Racer Citra Pale Ale
•    Central City Red Racer  Centennial ESB
•    Howe Sound Cinnamon Fireball Pumpkineater
•    Storm TBA
•    Tree Hop Head IPA
•    Tree TBA

•    Half Pints Five-A-L  IPA

•    Amsterdam CJM Imp. Brown Ale
•    Amsterdam Maple Porter *
•    Amsterdam Wee Heavy w/ Heather Tips*
•    Barley Days Wind n’ Sail Dark Ale
•    Beaus TBA
•    Black Oak TBA
•    Cameron’s Rock Me Amarillo DBL IPA
•    Cameron’s There Is No Dana, Only Zuur   Sour Ale*
•    Cheshire Valley Pale Ale
•    Church Key Grains of Wrath DIPA
•    Clock Tower The Pumpkin Ale
•    Duggan’s #88 – Liquorice Porter
•    Durham Red Dragon  Irish Red Ale
•    Flying Monkey Mind Funk
•    F & M Scarry Carrie  Belgian Dubbel
•    Grand River Russion Gun Imperial Stout
•    Granite Darkside  Cascadian Dark Ale
•    Great Lakes TBA
•    Hockley Valley TBA
•    House Ales @ Amsterdam Matt’s Marathon Mild 2011 Batch 2
•    House Ales @ Amsterdam Run ESB
•    House Ales X Biergotters @ Amsterdam Black Tongue Imp. Porter
•    House Ales X Bartle / R @ Amsterdam Gold Dust* Porter
•    Indie Ale House TBA
•    JBC Conductor’s Craft Ale  Amber Ale
•    Kensington Augusta Ale  Pale Ale
•    King Unfiltered Vienna Lager
•    Lake Of Bays Black & Tan   Hybrid Blend
•    MacLean’s Scotch Ale
•    Niagara College TBA
•    Mill St Anniversary Ale
•    Muskoka TBA
•    Magnotta  Fog On The Tyne Revisited*
•    Magnotta Nine  Mint Chocolate Stout
•    Nickel Brook Bourbon Barrel Aged Imp. Stout
•    Publican House Square Nail Pale Ale
•    Railway City Double Dead Elephant IPA
•    Saint Andre Tribute To Jobs – Black Ordinary Bitter
•    Sawdust  City I Swear Sugarpants; It was Your Idea  Brown Ale
•    Wellington TBA

•    A L’abri Du La Tempete TerreFerma  East Coast IPA
•    Benelux Sabotage IPA
•    Benelux Strato Black IPA
•    Brasseurs Du Monde L’interite 90 MIN IPA
•    Charlevoix  Vache Folle Imp. Stout Bourbon Barrel Aged
•    Cheval Blanc India Noire Harvest
•    Cheval Blanc Saison Pourpre
•    Dieu Du Ciel! Sieben Hugel  Rauchbier
•    Dieu Du Ciel! Corne Du Diable  IPA
•    Dieu Du Ciel! Solstice d’Hiver  Barley Wine
•    Dieu Du Ciel! Libre Exchange  Foreign Export Stout
•    Dunham TBA
•    Hopfenstark TBA
•    Hopfenstark TBA
•    LTM Barrel Aged Baltic Porter
•    Trou Du Diable La Buteuse Abbey Tripel

New Brunswick
•    Picaroons TBA
•    Pumphouse TBA
•    Pumphouse TBA
•    Pumphouse TBA

Nova Scotia
•    Granite Old Peculiar Strong Ale
•    Garrison Martello Oatmeal Stout

•    Fullers Bengal Lancer ESB
•    Fullers Chiswick Bitter
•    Fullers ESB
•    Fullers Front Row Bitter
•    Fullers London Porter
•    Fullers Red Fox Irish Ale