Thursday December 6 and Friday December 7, 2018

RBG`s Fest-of-Ales returns to help kick off the holiday season in the best way possible - expanding to two nights!

two women posing with santa and beer

Now 2 Nights! December 6 and 7

6 p.m. to 10 p.m.; RBG Centre

Let the holidays begin! The celebration of Ontario`s independent craft breweries continues with the 4th annual Fest-of-Ales! Now spanning 2 nights, guests are welcomed into the stunning surroundings of RBG Centre to peruse the best beer our region has to offer. Entrance to the event gets you your own mug, 6 drink tokens (5oz samples) and access to vendors and experts through a speaker series focused around storytelling and education! A unique vibe crafted by eclectic DJ`s helps set the tone, with trains and greenhouse tours to boot.

Food sold separately, along with a cash bar and specialty DD mocktails made to thank you for being you. Create winter tales at the 2018 Fest-of-Ales!

This is a 19+ event

Please do not drink and drive. Bring a designated driver ("DD" tickets are available), utilize public transit, or call a cab. Click here for directions.

overhead view of a woman handing a man a beer sample in a glass

Event Tickets

Pre-registration is required for this ticketed event. Food sold separately, along with a cash bar.

Ticket Type Price
Event Ticket
This includes Fest-Of-Ales tasting glass and 6 craft beer tokens (5oz pours).
"DD" Ticket
This includes entrance into the event, a Fest-of-Ales tasting glass, and unlimited specialty mocktails.
Note: no alcohol can be consumed with this ticket.
Purchase Tickets
  • All prices include HST
  • Tickets are non-refundable and final sale
  • This is a 19+ event.


RBG loves local brews! Check back to see the breweries that will be joining us for this year's Fest-of-Ales. BREWERY LIST COMING SOON!

Are you a brewery interested in attending as a vendor? Contact the Event Coordinator at jhudecki@rbg.ca before November 21.

A Botanical Perspective on Beer

By Jon Peter, Curator & Plant Records Manager, Royal Botanical Gardens

Plants are the basis for beer. Crafting a beer recipe is much like gardening. There are always more plants and combinations of plants to grow in our beautiful gardens, similar to how there are always more plants and combinations of plants to produce delicious beers.

A diversity of plants are used in the beer making process including wheat (Triticum aestivum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), hops (Humulus lupulus) and an array of fruits and spices.

The plant that receives the most publicity and earns the most respect in the beer world is hops (Humulus lupulus). This is a vigorous growing climbing vine (more precisely known as a bine) that can grow at a rate of up to one foot (30cm) per day. This species was first documented in cultivation in 736, in present day Germany but the first documentation of brewing with hops wasn’t until 1079.

The part of the hops plant that is used in brewing beer is the pine-cone like flowers, or strobiles, of the female plants. The lupulin in the female flowers will add flavour, aroma and bitterness that act to counterbalance the sweetness of the malt. They also have antiseptic properties that centuries ago kept the unrefrigerated yeast culture from going sour.

Hops are dioecious, meaning there are separate male and female plants and the female flowers far exceed the males in production of lupulin, a waxy substance which appear as golden yellow glands on the strig (the stalk of the flower). The glands contain hard and soft resins and oils. The soft resins include acids that contribute to bitterness while the oils add flavour and aroma. The flowers are harvested near the end of summer and are taken to the oast house for drying and lupulin extraction.

Often times, craft brews will get their uniqueness from the range of other fruits and spices that are included during various stages of the brewing process. The ingredients are derived from vines, trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials from around the world. Popular spicy or fruity additions to beer includes vanilla (Vanilla planifolia – an orchid!), cinnamon (Cinnamomum vernum), pine (Pinus spp.), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), almonds (Prunus dulcis), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa), passion fruit (Passiflora edulis) as well as a growing number of other plant species.

So whether you enjoy stouts, India pale ales, wheats, lagers or pilsners and if you prefer your beer flavourings to be “grassy”, “spicy”, “piney”, “citrus” or “floral” – you can thank the plant world for the important role they play in the beer brewing processes.