Witchstock is on Saturday, events leading up to it are going on all this week, and we’d love to arm you with all the pertinent info. Festivals are fun and exciting -- be it beer, music, or bloomin’ onions -- but let’s be honest, they require some strategy. I endorse layers no matter the season, I encourage you to consume calories that aren’t beer (in addition to beer), and I implore you to stay hydrated with water (we’ll be offering up lots of toronto tap, and our very own Sparkly Toronto Tap with Key Lime juice). 

This email/blogpost can act as a festival reference guide -- it’s got good reminders, info about hours, a link to the full draft spreadsheet, and helpful transportation options. Print it off, or laminate it if you so choose, and if someone makes fun of you for doing so, remind them that petty criticism comes from the dark pit of despair within them. 

Let’s go over some specifics:

FESTIVAL LAYOUT/TIMELINE: Similar to last year, the first hour of each session is devoted exclusively to Ontario beer, in a style akin to a bottle share. Breweries from all over the province will bring their finest selection of fermented barley pops. 

There will be two outdoor areas that are semi-open to the elements. (Need I remind you about layers?) In the event of serious rain in the forecast, we’ve got a more robust backup plan, and we’ll make the call 24 hours in advance to give everyone ample notice.

A coat and beer check will be provided free of cost. Any beer purchased in retail that day, or any superfluous layers can get offloaded, and then picked up from the loading dock prior to leaving (and after exiting the building). Please make sure to hold onto your numbered ticket!

There are no ATMs on site, but the majority of the food vendors accept all cards. 

FOOD: The food trucks will be in the outdoor Ontario area, and will cover such earthly delights as: oysters, coffee any way you like it, tater tot creations, doughnuts, tacos, and arepas (with vegetarian options too!).

TRANSPORTATION: We recommend one of two modes of transport for getting to and from the festival: our official rideshare partner Lyft (using our exclusive promo code), or our shuttle bus service that runs from Lawrence West subway station. We’ve partnered with Lyft to offer 25% off (capped at $6 each way) two rides, to Witchstock ticket holders. Be sure to use the code: WITCHSTOCK2019, which is applicable from September 28th at 10am – midnight, and keep in mind that there are a limited quantity (1500 total) of codes, up for grabs. Here’s a handy link to the discount code that you can keep in your back pocket. 

[And now a word from our partner: Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, and is available to approximately 95 percent of the United States population as well as select cities in Canada. Lyft is committed to effecting positive change for our cities by offsetting carbon emissions from all rides, and by promoting transportation equity through shared rides, bikeshare systems, electric scooters, and public transit partnerships.]

If the shuttle bus (providing service between Lawrence West subway station and the brewery) suits you best, let it be known that the first one departs from the subway station at 10:30am, and the last bus departs from Hafis at 9:30pm. 

While this part should go without saying, we’re going to reiterate it because it’s tremendously important: do not drink and drive. No festival is worth putting your safety or the safety of others at risk. Have fun, use the shuttle and/or Lyft service, and if you’re in a bind, please let one of our staff members know.

There is no parking on site.

EXCLUSIVE BOTTLES: We’ll be releasing 4 collaborative beers at the festival that ticket holders will get first access to. They are, in no particular order: Nice Nice Very Nice (A Wild Ale Refermented on Vidal Blanc Ice Wine Skins, collab w/ The Referend Bier Blendery), Druid Fluid (Beer with Grapes, collab w/ Pen Druid), Saison Pizazz (Can Conditioned Saison, collab w/ Oxbow Brewing Co.), and Winner (Saison w/ Hibiscus, Lemongrass, and Japones Pepper, collab w/ Homebrew Competition 2019 winner Sarah Mukhtiyar). Any leftovers will be available at Hafis only on Sunday (29th), and extending to Ossington on Monday (September 30th), with some stock remaining at Hafis

Word on the street is, the Witchshark may bury his social anxiety long enough to make a brief appearance. You can expect him to be moody, but generous – he likes to walk around popping reserve bottles like he owns the place.

FESTIVAL BEER LIST: For the studious types, here is a link to the extensive beer list, in handy spreadsheet format. Study it, devise a game plan, get it printed on a custom t-shirt. The world is your oyster. 

That should just about cover it for all the requisite, formal rules of the game. All we ask is that you read this over and log it in your brain somewhere. After that, your only requirement is to show up and enjoy the shit out of yourself.

We’d also like to extend a big thank you to everyone participating – our friends travelling from afar, the breweries that rarely do festivals but decided to give this one a go, the incredible volunteers, and every single Bellwoods customer who purchased a ticket.

We can’t wait to see you and share beers with people who love them as much as we do. And now, to endure the days between today and Saturday…