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Toronto’s Society of Beer Drinking Ladies (SOBDL) throws Canada’s first ladies craft beer festival and it kicks ass.

Campfire by _cousinlarry_

Photo by _cousinlarry_

Last night I volunbeered at my fifth SOBDL bevy, though it was the 25th bevy for the organizers; five awesome women working in the beer industry who saw a need for creating a space where ladies could drink beer together. They’ve been throwing sold out mini beer fests in different locations around the city on the last Friday of the month for over two years now. With that much experience rocking beer events, it should come as no surprise that last night’s Bevy Brewfest, Canada’s first female beerfest drawing 800 women to the Evergreen Brick Works, was one of the best fests I’ve ever attended.

The event ran smoothly, featuring a variety of well priced brews from 15 local breweries and 2 cideries, delicious food, various vendors, fire pits, ping pong, great music… the list goes on. It was busy but not crowded, Magenta gave her usual inspirational speech (more on that later), Zack from Toronto Brewing (who usually donates a homebrewing kit for the raffle) gave out brewing tips, we ate cinnamon sugar covered Nutella filled “chimneys“, and all ladies went home with an extra special hangover gift bag.

Strong hoppy IPAs and sweet roasty porters were featured throughout (see the Untappd check-ins), with almost every style of beer in between (except for wheat beers. It ain’t summer yet). This month’s Bevy Brew, which is a special one-off brew in collaboration with a local brewery, was a Coconut Vanilla Porter from Junction Brewing. Here’s Tina, their brewer:

Tina by evelynrockon

Photo by evelynrockon

Despite Metro failing hard in the promotion department by stating that “ladies like crafts a lot,” there was no crafting or knitting at this fest (though there were men selling crafts like beer candles and delicious jam), just the drinking of delicious craft beer in a relaxed setting with a bunch of awesome ladies.

I love that moment when you’re walking around a beerfest and run into awesome beer friends you haven’t seen in a while and are greeted with smiles and hugs. This usually happens to me regardless of the beerfest’s demographic, but the truth is, there’s a lot of ladies that come out to the SOBDL’s bevies that I would never see otherwise, because it’s a safe positive space and has become a monthly tradition. It’s a no-brainer for an awesome beer event. There are friends I’ve made from attending SOBDL events that I hope will be lifelong.

Like Magenta said in her epic speech, fuck that “frenemy” shit The Media formulates to try and pit women against each other. The SOBDL bevies are chill events where women celebrate real friendships and drink real beer. “We’ll probably be friends with you, unless you’re an asshole. Or unless one of us is an asshole,” she preached. Cheers to that.

The SOBDL’s Evergreen Brick Works Bevy Brewfest was the first of many big BevyFests. The next one is at Session TO at Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday June 11 from 11 am – 3 pm, and will be Canada’s largest female brewfest with 1,200 women in attendance. Get your tickets now.