What is Good Beer?

In 2010 when Toronto Beer Week started we struggled with the idea of what represented good beer. Whatever it was, we knew we were for it, but putting it into words was extremely hard.

Our definitions of craft were based in volume, which always seemed a little off. Sure, big breweries seem to cut corners more than the little guys, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t produce a great tasting beer, or that the smaller brewers are guaranteed to make something that blows your mind. The issue of what defines craft beer and good beer is still a decisive one for us, but a few salient points can be agreed upon.

Good beer is made with passion. Brewers can be a passionate lot. It’s a career that doesn’t pay riches, but it promises living a permanent hobby – a job that doesn’t feel like a job (except for the backache). the passion shows in the end of the product. It’s born of dedication, imagination and perspiration. It’s an ethereal thing, but good beer tastes like someone cares about it, not like a line in an accounting ledger.

Good beer uses the best quality ingredients. That corny taste you sometimes taste in a macro lager? That’s corn. A good beer calls for good ingredients, and it’s not about substitutions that reduce cost and taste.

When you raise a good beer to your lips, you know its taste. Ultimately good beer is what you enjoy. Not everyone is built to savour Belgian quads or bracing IPAs, and that’s okay. Beer is about so much more than the sum of its parts – it’s friendship, family and times to remember. Memories and places – moments in time that enrich our lives. Good beer is all of this, which is why we hope you’ll find some at the bars in this guide.

Rob Symes