Queen of Craft Top Ten in Ten 2023

April 4, 2023

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Queen of Craft has put on some pretty rad events over the past decade, and though it's difficult to nominate our top ten choices (because there are so many more), we took a walk down memory lane and came up with this list.  Do you remember any or all of these events?



Our very first event happened in 2013; Beer 101 in the Welly Tap Room.  There were 45 women in attendance, and Wilma was one of them.  This event is what gave QoC its legs, and we've been running ever since.  We don't even remember the details of the event, but hold it dear to our hearts as the beginning of a beautiful love story. 



In 2014 we hosted the "Ladies of the Roundtable" event at the eBar,  bringing together some of the most incredible women in the Ontario craft beer scene to share their knowledge and experiences.  We had Robin LeBlanc, Crystal Luxmore, Erica Campbell and Hollisha Francis- just to name (drop) a few!  


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Canada's first (be it tiny) all-women's beer festival happened at the Albion in 2015.  This was a cask fest, and a room of about 60 women learned how to properly tap a cask and appreciate real ale.  We also hosted a beer festival in 2017 at the ANAF, whereupon we managed to do over 10 collab brews with fellow Ontario craft breweries for the event, followed by a somewhat blurry karaoke party. Do you remember?  We do not. 



In 2016 we got creative with food and beer.  Not just pairing them, but integrating beer into recipes, and modeling the event after the famous reality cooking show, The Iron Chef. Secret Ingredient….BEER!  We had Chef Becky Hood and Chef Heather Mitchell go head-to-head using different styles of beer in their dishes, and had the good fortune of watching them cook these delicious recipes, and then got to eat and judge our faves. TASTE OVERLOAD. 



Games and fun have always been an important component of our programming, and we've received loads of positive feedback on the scavenger hunt/activity station/beer olympics events held at Wellington.  Many of you will remember trying to hand-label a can without wrinkles, and for some of you it was your first time playing beer pong.  Others will recall rolling a keg or tossing a boot.  The last event we held in this style integrated educational talks at some stations, with male allyship in hospitality and the Black History of Beer being crowd favourites.  



We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the events focused on sustainability and activism in craft beer and the incredible folks and breweries we passed the mic to. Learning about wastewater management, farmstead practices and food loops with experts from Goodlot, Cowbell and MacKinnon Brothers was something we'll never forget. Information like this helps inform our decisions on who to pick when choosing our next pint! We hope it helped you make more informed decisions, too.


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NERD ALERT! That epic night in 2018 when Wilma became known as the "Professor of Hops" was something, wasn't it? We have always made sure our patrons are learning, which means sometimes we need to dig deep and study hard! We poured over books and the web,  developing our very own hop flavour wheel for this event. We brewed small batches of the same beer using different single varieties of hops, we talked to hop farmers, we researched pelletization and lupulin powders, we studied hop varietals from around the world, we even set up an experiment each person did at their table to get to know hops better.  We should open up a hop school after that event- we truly pulled out all the hops and Wilma will never be the same!



Have we influenced the Ontario Craft beer scene? Hmmm, we don't know….but we certainly  found it important to speak out against sexist marketing in beer media.  We hope that we had something to do with pushing people and businesses to do better and be better. Speaking of, this was our first event with guest speaker, Ren Navarro.  Ren has provided hard-hitting, eye-opening and thought provoking talks at Queen of Craft since this event in 2017, and we've witnessed Ren's career in beer soar to new heights.  That night, participants were asked to rate labels from different Ontario craft breweries on an offensiveness scale.  We discussed the use of women's bodies in beer imagery, the history of this use, and what we think needs to be changed.  We returned the feedback to each brewery and most of them ended up changing their label design.  We're not sure if this was because of our insights, but we certainly think it helped!



Every year when QoC tickets drop, the Beer & Cheese pairing event sells out in a flash.  We are giving this our number two because it's a guaranteed night of  joy and decadence for all participants.  We are so grateful to have cheese expert, Jen Whyte as part of our crew. Jen can pair anything and create harmony in your mouth and has been since 2014.  That's nine years of pairings, and not ONE has been repeated!  Our pairing events have included special guests like brewery, cidery and farmstead owners, we've roamed from floor to floor at 10C and had a traveling experience, and we've even had the goats from River's Edge on site!  

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If you attended this ridiculously fun event, you know exactly why it's number one. We don't need a drum roll, we need hands thumping down on a wrestling ring, we need sweat and legos bouncing off the surface of the mat, we need costumes and make-up and BEER!  Working with the women wrestlers of the PWA, we paired each wrestler and Queen of Craft crew member with an adventurous Ontario brewery and they brewed a collaboration beer (in themed costume, of course), and that's only half of it! We then hosted a "wrestling 101" workshop and Queen of Craft participants learned how to bounce off the ropes, somersault with a powerful thump, and execute a semi-believable headlock.  After that, we got ready for the big event!


Ten pro wrestlers, ten pro beers, five exciting matches, and an absurd amount of noise!  The night came to a climax in the final match when, in perfect wrestling style, the only male wrestler grabbed the mic from Truth and proceeded to trash talk the women wrestlers, being sexist AF!  Wilma sprung into action, utilizing the skills she'd learned at the workshop- she used her flying elbow, she body slammed, she showed him who's BOSS!  Then Addy Starr of team Welly dumped a box of legos on the mat and made sure he left with a lego-branded back after pinning him for the ten count. Every time we talk about this event, we are overcome with excitement all over again.  We pulled off a unique, incredible event that brought together so many people, having the best night of their lives. 


Well there ya have it.  Our top ten in ten. What makes all of these events even sweeter, is the fact that we donate 100% of our profits back to Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis organization, raising over $70,000 to date.  We'd like to thank all of the Ontario Craft Breweries who have been in-kind sponsors over the years, as well as 10C who have been donating their spaces to us for years. 

Thanks to Wellington Brewery for supporting this project.  We'd love to hear your feedback on past events and ideas for future events, so shoot us a line at karyn@wellingtonbrewery.ca with your thoughts.  Thank you for a decade of great times, great community and great beer! 


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