Hamilton Beer Fest Feature: Junction Craft Brewing


It’s nearing the end of summer and we here at Happening Hamilton are excited to get out and enjoy some amazing celebrations and events—including Hamilton Beer Festival. In our final brewery feature for the festival, we talked with Junction Craft Brewing. Boasting a custom brewing system, tap room, and retail shop in The Junction (Toronto), Junction Craft Brewing creates their unique beers with ingredients and brewing techniques from all over the world. Their signature brew, Conductor’s Craft Ale, is a hybrid created by brewmaster Doug Pengelly and utilizes a specially-designed “hopback” mechanism. For us, it means a simple and enjoyable ale! I chatted with president Tom Paterson about Hamilton and where in the city we can enjoy his favourite brew.

Happening Hamilton: I sampled the Conductor’s Ale at the Because Beer festival last month when Junction was there– really enjoyed it! What do you think of Hamilton? Are you excited to return for another festival?
Junction Craft Brewing: Hamilton is a great place. We hope to get down here more often in the future. We do the international Rock Climbing event every year and this will be our third event in the area this year. People seem really receptive to try something new.

HH: What is your favourite Junction brew?
JCB: Station Master Stout is why we started this company. It’s a dry Irish Stout, low in alcohol, but with some nice roasted malt character and nugget hop bitterness. It gets served on a creamer plate which makes it cascade and creamy. It is most delicious.

HH: Where in Hamilton can we enjoy a pint of the Conductor’s Ale (or Junction’s other brews)?
JCB: The Casbah and its little sister next door. They have been great supporters of ours and as a musician myself, [I] really like the support they give to local and touring musicians and great craft beer to boot. The Winking Judge has also been great for putting on our cask conditioned ales, but we don’t get down to Hamilton on a regular basis.

 If you’re looking for Junction brews at the LCBO, they recently released their Brakeman’s Session Ale and also carry the Conductor’s Signature Ale. If you enjoy a brew tasted at the festival not found at the LCBO, the brewery’s tap room hours and offerings can be found here. While you’re visiting the site, it is pretty interesting to delve into the history of The Junction as a community and industrial centre of Toronto as well (if you’re a history junky like me!)

That’s it, everyone! Enjoy festival and these last few weeks of summer. Cheers!


Hamilton Beer Festivalbeerfest
Friday, August 22 – 2:00 – 8:00
Saturday, August 23 – 12:30 – 7:00
2 King St. W., Hamilton, Ontario
Jackson Square, second floor, outdoor courtyard

Tickets: $30 for Friday, $32.50 for Saturday, $45 for 2 day pass
Tickets include entrance to the festival,
commemorative sampling glass and 3 drink tokens

*Note: The Hamilton Beer Festival is only open to those legal drinking age in Ontario (19+).

Hamilton Beer Fest Feature: McAuslan Brewing

With the Hamilton Beer Festival fast approaching, we’ve decided to share with you a few of the breweries we are excited to visit at the festival.

McAuslan Brewing is the second feature in this McAuslan logoseries (see our article on Toronto/Hamilton brewery Collective Arts here), which we’ve chosen because of its connection to Hamilton and unique brews that include tasty summer fruit flavoured beers, an exceptional cream ale, and even beers for coffee lovers.

McAuslan Brewing is located in Quebec, but offers many of their beers in Hamilton hotspots: The Winking Judge, Café-Domestique, The Tavern on George, and McMaster University’s campus pub, The Phoenix.

“Hamilton has always been near and dear to our hearts,” said Barry Pletch, Regional Sales Manager for McAuslan Brewery. “The Winking Judge on Augusta is likely one of, if not our first, licensee accounts in Ontario.”

When founders Peter McAuslan and Ellen Bounsall decided to open the brewery over 25 years ago, the field was dominated by lagers, and they knew they had to do something different. Here are the 5 beers that are being offered to sample at the festival:

1. St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale: A refreshing fruit-flavoured beer with a citrus zing and apricot flavour.

2. St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout: Coffee lovers will claim they can taste espresso and cappuccino, but there is no coffee in this brew – it is roasted in a way that will trick you though! The oatmeal style has more body and a decadent texture.

3. St. Ambroise Cream Ale: Better try this one, because it’s only available on draught. Can be described as ‘an angel dancing on your tongue!’

4. St. Ambroise Raspberry Ale: The perfect summer beer, very refreshing! Only available in draught, so get it while you can!

5. Cheval Blanc: A Belgian Style Witbeir ale, a blend of citrus and coriander. Silver medal winner at the 2014 World Beer Cup in Denver!

McAuslan will be offering the above five choices for sampling, but they also brew eight other kinds of beers, including India Pale Ales, Maple Ale and Pumpkin Ale. View them all on their website.

“Andrew Taylor, [founder of the Hamilton Beer Festival] approached us with a different strategy towards beer festivals. Too many beer festivals are being done nowadays where the organizers figure they can make a quick buck off this new craft beer trend,” said Pletch. “[Andrew’s] long term strategy is truly partner-based… especially since he adds an element of community and charity aspects to the festival.”

Hamilton Beer Festivalbeerfest
Friday, August 22 – 2:00 – 8:00
Saturday, August 23 – 12:30 – 7:00
2 King St. W., Hamilton, Ontario
Jackson Square, second floor, outdoor courtyard
Tickets: $30 for Friday, $32.50 for Saturday, $45 for 2 day pass
Tickets include entrance to the festival,
commemorative sampling glass and 3 drink tokens

*Note: The Hamilton Beer Festival is only open to those legal drinking age in Ontario (19+).

7 Events Happening This Weekend (Aug.15, 16 & 17)


1.YEP 4th Annual Boat Cruise
YEP = Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals
Friday, August 15
8:30 – 11:45 pm @ Bayfront Park
Cost: $30

2. Midsummers Dream Festival
A multicoloured festival withmusic and entertainment
Saturday, August 16
12 – 9 pm @ Gage Park
Cost: Free

3. Dundas Cactus Festival
Entertainment, activities, music!
Friday, August 15 – Sunday, August 17
Cost: Free!

4. Hamilton Greek Festival
August 15 – 17
Cost: Free entry

5. Ancaster Wedding Show
Sunday August 17
1 – 6 @ Ancaster Fairgrounds
Cost: $15

6. Seven Sundays in Gage Park
Bidiniband (indie rock) and Twin Voices (indie electro-folk)
At 9pm, special premiere of Mistaken for Strangers, an award winning documentary about American indie-rock band The National
Sunday, August 17
6-10 pm @ Gage Park
Cost: Free

7. Music at Fieldcote
FullSet, an energetic folk band
Sunday, August 17
7 – 8:30 @ 64 Sulphur Springs Road
Cost: Free


Hamilton Beer Fest Feature: Collective Arts Brewing

With over 100 beers to try at the Hamilton Beer Festival, it can be difficult to choose which one is right for you! We’ve chosen to feature a few companies that will be at the festival to help you make a decision, starting with Collective Arts Brewing.

Here’s why we think you should get a sample from Collective Arts Brewing, a grassroots craft beer company that celebrates beer, music and art in a unique way.

1. Collective Arts helps emerging artists

When two creative minds — one a design professional and the other a beer industry veteran — come together, something amazing happens.

Collective Arts Brewing is the product of a partnership between Matt Johnston and Bob Russell. They feature artists from all over the world on their beer bottle labels, with a new artwork series released 4 times a year. Each series is curated by a panel of experts from the art and brewing communities.

July Talk, Said the Whale, The Zolas, PUP, Royal Wood and Indie 88 are just some of the big names that have been featured on the labels.

But Collective Arts has a mission to support emerging artists who may not be as well known. We’ve seen artists and musicians from Hamilton such as Thought Beneath Film, Hands & Teeth, and Steven Twigg featured on Collective Arts labels, as well as artists from the United States, Australia, the UK, and Spain!

Collective Arts not only brews great beers, but also supports creative minds in the community. Submit your artwork here!

2. Award Winning Beer

Rhyme & Reason: A beer with the same character as an American Indian Pale Ale (IPA) but with slightly less alcohol content and a less bitter taste.
- GOLD winner in the North American Style Pale Ale category at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards
- Rated 96 overall and 99 for style on ratebeer.com

Saint of Circumstance: A blonde ale that blends the bright flavours of Pacific Northwest hops with the zest of lemons and blood oranges. Can be described as ‘amazingly refreshing.’
- Not award winning… yet!

3. Collective Arts is Building a New Home in Hamilton

An old vacant brewery on Burlington Street in Hamilton will be brought back to life through a partnership between Collective Arts and Nickel Brook Brewing named ‘Arts & Science Brewing Ltd.’

Originally built in 1947, this building will once again become a place for great beer, but it will also act as a cultural hub for Hamilton artists. The brewery will occupy 40,000 square feet, and the other 10,000 will be dedicated to the retail store as well as a new art gallery and live music space.

“We recognize the current cultural renaissance happening in the city – much of it concentrated in the James Street North area,” said co-founder Matt Johnston. “We are confident Hamiltonians will embrace our commitment to excellence and creativity in our beer making and in our support of the arts.”

We will see you and Collective Arts Brewing at the Hamilton Beer Festival on August 23 and 24!

Hamilton Beer Festivalbeerfest
Friday, August 22 – 2:00 – 8:00
Saturday, August 23 – 12:30 – 7:00
2 King St. W., Hamilton, Ontario
Jackson Square, second floor, outdoor courtyard
Tickets: $30 for Friday, $32.50 for Saturday, $45 for 2 day pass
Tickets include entrance to the festival,
commemorative sampling glass and 3 drink tokens

*Note: The Hamilton Beer Festival is only open to those legal drinking age in Ontario (19+).

8 Great Hamilton Festivals Happening in August

1. 39th Annual TD Festival of FriendsFestfriends
Finger Eleven, Down with Webster, Pam Tillis,
August 8, 2 – 12,  August 9 & 10, 11:30 am – 12
Ancaster Fairgrounds
Cost: Free!

2. The Pearl Company Summer Theatrepearlcompany
Three weekends with three talented performers
August 8 – 23 (weekends)
Cost: $15/show

3. Dundas Cactus Festival 2014cactusfest
Parade, family fun, art in the alley, street vendors
August 15, – 17, 2014
Parade, 6:45 on Thursday
Cost: Free!

4. Hamilton Greek Festivalhamgreekfest
Authentic food, kids zone, entertainment, dancing, vendors!
August 15 & 16, 12 – 11 pm
August 17, 12 – 9 pm
Inch Park (Corner of Brucedale and E15th St.)

5. Hamilton Beer Festivalbeerfest
Over 100 types of beer!
Music TBA and food vendors!
August 23, 2 – 8 pm
August 24, 12:30 – 7:30
Cost: $30 /ticket

6. Winona Peach Festivalwinonapeach
Entertainment, food, car show
August 22 – 24
Winona Park at 1328 Barton Street East
Cost: Free

7. Greenbelt Harvest Picnicharvestpicnic
Elliot Brood, Ray Lamontagne, Sara Harmer & more
August 23
12 pm @ Christie Lake
Cost: $99.50/adults, $19.50/ages 11-15

8. Hamilton Multicultural Festival multifest
Food, music, cultural performers, kids area
August 23
10:30 am – 8:30 pm @ Hamilton Waterfront Trust
Cost: Free!

A Farewell to Fringe

Hamilton Fringe 2014 is almost over and it had been incredible to see the work of so many talented artists. As an enthusiast myself, I am so happy that each year the audiences seem to be a little bit bigger and awareness seems to reach a little bit farther. It has certainly been a whirlwind two weeks trying to attend as many performances as we could– we are a modest-sized staff here at Happening Hamilton :)

Though the festival has reached its conclusion, we still wanted to provide critique for the shows we attended.

A final congratulations to all artists, organizers, sponsors, volunteers, and everyone involved for making this festival such a memorable and rewarding experience for so many people. Until next year!

*Be sure to check out our reviews on Life Through Fire and Bootlegger’s Wife.  

Romeo & Juliet: An Escapist Comedy

If you are aiming to understand all of the humour crammed into this performance, ensure you are a university graduate with: general to specific knowledge of (or interest in) philosophy, literature, and drama; a knack for Shakespeare; and a deep-seated love for Woody Allen. Of course, that is what is perfect about this quirky adaptation of Romeo & Juliet—everyone will not “get” all of it, but will laugh their butts off regardless. Jokes are well-timed and whip-smart. The Fourth Wall is appropriately broken as Romeo questions life, death, and escapist notions. Normative theatrical functions are challenged and upheaved. This young company should be proud of a piece that is well-acted and unique. Theatre like this reminds me why I love the art.


The Yellow Wallpaper

Though The Yellow Wallpaper is one of the longer shows in the festival, I was enthralled for the entire performance. That being said, condensing minor scenes and interactions would have improved pacing. In this way the piece was not necessarily gripping or thrilling, but still beautiful and interesting. Mise-en-scene elements worked well together to pull the audience down with Charlotte (Hanah Itner) as she slowly loses her mind. For example, the gobo choice signifying night was perfect and the repetitive use of it mimicked the character’s inner turmoil. Every day is truly the same in Charlotte’s isolated room and the only sources of inspiration are the lovely creatures in the wallpaper. Sarah Granger is a mesmerizing force as Wallpaper Woman and makes us wish we could go to her yellow realm. I was constantly craning to spy movement in the patterns of the wallpaper.

Some big themes were aptly presented by the company: gender relations, scepticism versus faith, and ethical medical practice. Director/Writer Kristi Boulton did a great job adapting the original short story (a series of diary entries told in a singular voice) into a captivating plot with well-developed characters.


Prince Charming: Missing Person

Most of my enjoyment of the humour in Prince Charming: Missing Person came from the medieval puns that were snuck into the dialogue. The company made a commendable effort in bridging the gap between fairly-tale conventions and topical issues. It reminded me of an adult version of the Shrek films. The aptly-named Princess (Laura Kyswaty) is a typical fairy-tale princess, looking for true love with her boyfriend Prince Charming of Ikea (Matthew Krist). When she is suddenly dumped by her beloved, the quest begins to either get him back, scorn true love, or become a “slut” like her handmaiden Maid Mary of Whatnot (Jennifer Wren). The Princess makes a fairly moral decision at the show’s conclusion and there is a feel-good message in respecting yourself and your choices. However, the “correct” way to respect yourself seems to be dictated by the cast’s treatment of Maid Mary and her attitude towards relationships. Though proud of her own open relationship and sexual prowess, it seems Maid Mary is only truly redeemed when she finally gets married (in an presumably monogamous union). This is a tough theme to tackle in a 60-minute comedy, but kudos to Prince Charming: Missing Person for taking some risks in a difficult genre (comedy).

 XOXO: The Relationship Show

Meghan Chalmers and Franny McCabe-Bennett have certainly had their share of heartbreak and hilarity on their way to finding love. XOXO: The Relationship Show is a series of eccentric and brutally-honest vignettes that highlight the Millennial dating experience. What is endearing about the show is that a normative depiction of men, women, and dating is replaced with stories and advice that are more inclusive. In her “first kiss story”, McCabe-Bennett tells us of her confusing, passionate, feminist, drunken, and awesome kiss with a girl she liked in university. The laundry list of things women do to get ready for a “first date” are not for men—they are for an individual we respect and admire regardless of sex or gender. Ultimately, though the show highlights the female experience in dating, it was refreshing that these artists are sincere in their depictions of themselves and of their desires.

A Language for Dogs

A Language for Dogs
Reviewed by Krista Schwab

A Language for Dogs is about the power of staying true to your roots. It begins as a quirky walk through James Street North with one of four tour guides. I was accompanied by Bessie Cheng, an insecure real estate agent who is belittled by the other more confident real estate agents.  The show quickly takes a dark turn when we arrived at the true venue – an abandoned storefront on James Street North. Although elements of comedy were present, the show is bleak and the real estate agents spend the majority of the performance literally battling over the space. Suddenly, it became a battle over which city is better – Hamilton or Toronto. As someone with no theatre background, I was a bit lost trying to find the meaning at this point. This was partly because my group was late arriving at the venue and I missed the first appearance of the Hamilton character (Hayley Pace), who is apparently shoved down the stairs into the basement and locked away.

Meaning became apparent when the character representing Hamilton emerged – a clumsy and unlucky girl dressed in rough clothing. Pace gives an amazing and convincing performance. We are captivated by her struggles and interesting story, and our hearts are warmed by the ability for her to stay true to her roots. The first half of the show is entertaining but the meaning is overshadowed by dramatic fighting. Most importantly, the second half of the show make us Hamiltonians proud of our strength and perseverance.


Love with Leila

My absolute best friend is from Tehran, Iran. I remember her telling me stories of what it was like to grow up there: she wore her hijab outside of the house; she had to be careful not to be seen out with any of her male friends; and she knew a lot of girls who had received plastic surgery. Now that she is in Canada, she has found a good balance between embracing new customs and hanging on to some from home. I have always admired her gumption and sincerity.

Through the entirety of Love with Leila, I kept thinking how alike this character was to my best friend. A spunky girl from Tehran, Leila (played by creator Izad Etemadi) is looking to make her parents proud by finding love with an ideal man. She is confident in her choices but every so often needs help from the audience. In fact, I was surprised how involved we actually were. From passing out candy to calling audience members on-stage to hosting an impromptu dance party, Leila had us hooked. Etemadi is bang-on in his stylized rendition of a young Persian woman. However, Leila’s painfully earnest moments of clarity are what make the show. Ultimately, it is the coming-of-age story of a girl who learns to love herself. Warning: This show did contain nuts ^-^

For details on the shows and where to find out more information about the companies, a good place to start is the Fringe website.