beer Canada Toronto

Beer Academy Toronto Memories

Tegestology is a new word I learned during my visit to the Beer Academy Toronto.

Turns out I have been a practicing tegestologist for over 30 years with a significant collection documenting my travel history and beer consumption. I can trace many memories significant to my life through beer.

Tegestology is the hobby of collecting beer coasters.


My years building a tegestology collection is a reminder of many significant events in my life like when my wife and I moved in together in 1984 in Davis, California, our 1989 honeymoon in London and Edinburgh, our moves from California to Massachusetts and Maine and back to California again with thousands of miles of road trips visiting microbreweries around the USA in the 1990s.

My tegestology collection has spent the past decade on a cabinet top ledge over our kitchen. Last year I discovered that when my six year old cat Pim was a kitten, he occupied his time alone chewing the edges of about 100 pieces of my historical beer and brewery artifacts.


Six year old Pim is somewhat domesticated, somewhat feral. He has always been a chewer of hands, faces, legs and his three house siblings. Pim was rescued from the streets of Gilroy, California when he was about three weeks old. He spent the first month of his life with us in 2007 sitting beside me and my computer while I developed Loyalty Traveler blog. He chewed through my computer AC cord that month.

I still have hundreds of beer coasters, many now showing the wear and tear of family life.


Tegestology is the hobby of collecting beer coasters.


The Beer Academy is more than just a microbrewery and pub. This downtown Toronto facility in the St. Lawrence Market District taught me some new things about beer and brewing history through its educational displays around the facility.


I have always expanded my interests and activity beyond what was expected for the position I held at the time. In graduate school as a labor studies fellow, I should have been fully focused on current labor and employment issues, yet I managed to spend a significant amount of time studying the temperance anti-alcohol movement in the United States that ultimately led to the passage of the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The National Prohibition Act prohibited the production, transport and sale of intoxicating liquors across the United States in 1920, although many states had already banned the sale of beer years earlier. The 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution ratified in December 1933 repealed the 18th amendment.

Beer microbreweries were set back more than sixty years from 1920 until the first U.S. brew pub opened in 1982 with Bert Grant’s Yakima Brewing and Malting Co., Yakima, Washington in a facility selling its own independently brewed beer and food on premises.

August 1983 Mendocino Brewing Company opened in Hopland, California as the first brewpub in California and the second in the U.S. to open since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933. Mendocino Brewing Company is a place I frequently visited while road tripping on Highway 101 between Humboldt County and University of California Davis where I earned a B.S. degree in Fermentation Science in 1987. I had attended Humboldt State University for a year in 1982-83 where I developed an interest in studying laboratory microbiology and four months working at Pebble Beach Corporation in the restaurant wine cellar led to my focus on fermentation science.

Many college graduates joke they earned a degree in drinking beer during their years in school.

I officially earned that B.S. degree.

Unfortunately both the original Hopland, California brewery and the Yakima brewery closed during the past decade. Mendocino Brewing Co. still exists in the city of Ukiah, California.

Fortunately, there are around 2,000 microbreweries in the United States today and Canada also has a thriving microbrewery and brewpub industry.

While I followed the microbrewery industry for years in the USA, the history of Canadian brewing is an education I received from the wall displays at The Beer Academy in Toronto.

Quebec has never banned beer and wine.

While Quebec may have archaic laws regarding hotel loyalty promotions and giveaways, this Canadian province never banned beer and wine during a time the temperance movement also spread across Canada in the early 20th century.


Canada’s Brewing History displayed at The Beer Academy.


John Molson founded Canada’s first brewery in a square log facility off the St. Lawrence River outside Montreal in 1786.

Alexander Keith began brewing beer in 1817 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Is it any surprise to learn both of these brewers started their beer careers as 22 year old men?

The wall display continues on with the stories of Thomas Carling (1843), John Kinder Labatt (1847), John Sleeman (1851), Eugene O’Keefe (1862), and Susannah Oland (1867).

In addition to brewery tours, the Beer Academy facility has displays of historic beverage containers.


Beer containers display at Beer Academy Toronto.


Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. and Granville Island taps with cabinets of specialty beer glasses in background.

The price of a glass of beer was about $6.50 after tax.

Take-away beer in quarts ($6.50) and growlers ($18.00) reduces the price significantly.


Beer Academy take-away beer.

Besides a great India Pale Ale and a respite from the Toronto streets while listening to classic rock sounds like Yes and Rod Stewart (the old 60s stuff when Rod really rocked, not the late 70s and MTV era), I added Toronto to my tegestology collective memories.


Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. – Beer Academy Toronto.

Formed in 2011, the Six Pints Specialty Beer Company is a group of beer enthusiasts on a mission to promote the love of beer across Canada. Created through the national partnership of Granville Island Brewing and Creemore Springs Brewery, the Company champions the greater appreciation and availability of craft beer across the country. In support of the Company’s mission, The Beer Academy was launched in Toronto in 2012 as an epicentre for all things beer; facilities include a small-batch craft brewery, a tasting room and beer shop, and an experiential beer event space. The Company will also be opening a world-class import division in 2012 to promote and distribute unique and exciting beers traditionally unavailable in Canada. Through their dynamic portfolio of quality brands, Six Pints Specialty Beer Company will continue to celebrate, share and declare their undying love of beer with all like-minded Canadians.

Beer Academy Toronto – About Us


Ric Garrido, writer and content owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.

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  • Karung99 June 7, 2013

    Ric, I love micro brewery and there is a good one at Morgan Hill El Toro Brewery, have you try that one yet?
    Next time I visit Toronto this is a good place to visit.

  • Charles Clarke June 7, 2013

    What a life…travel, drink beer, write about it and write it off.


  • Ric, I didn’t get to go to the Beer Academy, but I will say that one of the highlights of TBEX for me was meeting you.

  • Ric Garrido June 7, 2013

    @Charles Clarke – I worked as tax preparer too in a past job. That is when I realized there was a better way to make a living than just being a wage employee.

    I keep trying to get Kelley to help me write a California food blog so I could get out of the kitchen more at home.

    @Karung99 – I have been to El Toro Brewery Morgan Hill. Not recently though. Time to get back there again.

  • Ric Garrido June 7, 2013

    @Kathy K – Likewise.

    I don’t recall if you were drinking beer, but I know I met you for the first time while drinking a good Toronto Mill St. Brewery Tank House Ale.

    You are now one of my life’s beer association memories.


  • I was enjoying sampling all of the Ontario wines at the event. I like craft beers, but usually opt for wine. Have you ever been to the Magic Hat Brewery tour in Burlington, VT? I loved that place.

  • james June 7, 2013

    …Thought you would’ve applied for the visiting prof. gig – better yet, just open up a Monterey campus!

  • Denise June 8, 2013

    My parents joke that I learned to drink beer at the Bier Academie in downtown Kaiserslautern, Germany while I was in high school. So, what did I think of when I saw your post?! I could hardly drink beer in college because I had been so used to the good German bier! My husband and I have been Tegestologists for years!

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