On March 9th, 24 teams of breweries, beer bars and event organizers brought their sparkly sweaters and sliders to compete in the 4th Annual Experience Beer Hopspiel, raising $5800 for the Native Women’s Resource Centre, a vital part of Ontario’s Indigenous community. Over the four years of its history, the Hopspiel has raised over $17,000 for the charity. Check out all the pics from the day (courtesy of Ken Woods) on our facebook page.

This was the year of the underdog. The victorious team only EVER curls once a year, beginning with the first Hopspiel, and never practices. In their first year of the ‘spiel, they made history by not just placing last, but failing to score a single point. This year, SAUCE on the Danforth beat out defending champs Big Rock Brewery, and newcomers (with some serious on-ice skills) Molson, to take the trophy in a serious upset.

“Well, the way I look at it, we’ve been working towards this for three years,” said SAUCE publican Mitzy Belisle after the victory. This year’s champions will keep the Hopspiel Barrel trophy (designed by talented woodworker, David Luxmore) in their bar for the year.

All funds raised go directly to supporting Native women and their children who come to Toronto from around Ontario. A vital source of support, the Centre provides women with a hot lunch daily, a food and clothing bank, resources to find affordable housing, navigate the justice system, and continue to practice their culture in the city.

Executive Director Sarah Midanik said, “We are so incredibly grateful to once again be the beneficiary of Hopspiel. The support from  its participants truly means so much to us. NWRCT relies on community support and events such as Hospiel to be able to support the work we do to help Indigenous women and their children in the GTA that are in crisis, or in need. Meegwetch!”

This year’s Team Spirit awards went to the BSG-sponsored team made up of four breweries – Royal City Brewing, Wellington Brewery, Elora Brewing Company and Brothers Brewing Company. And to Muskoka Brewery sporting their Lumberjack look and bringing their very own duck mascot which doubled as a drinking vessel.

The day was fuelled by coffee from generous sponsor Balzac’s, eye-opening “Baesar’s” (or Beer Caesar’s) courtesy of Walter’s Craft Caesar Mix, Sawdust City, Muskoka Brewery, Great Lakes Brewing Company and Amsterdam Brewing Co.

A huge thank you to our generous lunch sponsors, Beerlicious and Craft Brand Co., who brought us a beautiful meal from a tasty social enterprise, The Afghan Women’s Collective. The day wouldn’t be complete without a bar stocked with brewski’s from last year’s top three brewery teams — McAulsan, Big Rock and Indie Alehouse—and with the energetic guidance of the Royal Canadian Curling Club volunteers.

Kick-ass raffle prizes came in from more generous donors: Labatt Breweries, Molson Coors Brewing, Black Oak Brewing Company and The Sandler Wealth Management Group at RBC Dominion Securities.

Special thanks to our two awesome volunteers, Lindsay from Pommies Cider and Shelley from BSG, and to Ken Woods from Black Oak for capturing the day with his photography.

Ever since the ‘Spiel started I’ve had help from my husband, “the voice,” Conor McCreery and my sister, Tara Luxmore, who single-handedly pulled together the 2016 event. This year I’m excited to announce she’s joined me in more than the Hopspiel — having just earned her Prud’homme Beer Sommelier certification — she’s now a big part of the Experience Beer team, leading social media, tastings and helping me to tell great beer stories.

Thanks again to everyone for your time and generosity. See you next year!

Remember, check out all the pics from the day on our facebook page.