HUNTSVILLE Who says you have to wait until May 2-4 to crack open Muskoka-time?

After a sold-out bus tour to local craft brewers last fall, Deerhurst is bringing even more local and Ontario beer makers to the resort March 7.

Some of Ontario’s finest craft breweries are coming north for the first BEERHURST-at-DEERHURST, a new craft beer festival hosted at Deerhurst Resort.

Of course, several of the breweries are also located in Muskoka and area, adding to the cottage country vibe of the event, which will be headlined by Dwayne Gretzky, Toronto’s popular live music collective.

Evening, overnight and two-day packages are available.

“Craft beer and live music know no boundaries when it comes to seasons, “says Deerhurst Resort GM Jesse Hamilton.

“After putting together the Deerhurst Beer Bus package last fall where guests were shuttled to local breweries — which sold out in a heartbeat — we wanted to expand the fun with a full blown craft beer festival and bring all the breweries together here in one place.”

BEERHURST-at-DEERHURST takes place the Saturday night from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Festival-goers will get to sample craft brews and spirits from about 20 producers.

Classic festival fare will also be served at food stations.

All food and beverages will be available by purchasing “Brews & Food” tickets.

The Dwayne Gretzky band will then take the stage at 9 p.m. to kick the party into high gear.

“Who better to make this festival a massive party in Muskoka than Dwayne Gretzky?” said Hamilton. “They brought the house down here last holiday season, so we knew they’d be perfect for this event.”

Participating breweries so far include: Muskoka Brewery, Canvas Brewing Co., Highlander Brew Co., Lake of Bays Brewing Co., Sawdust City Brewing Co., Whitewater Brewing Co., Georgian Bay Spirit Co., Lost Craft Brewing Co., Flying Monkeys Craft Breweries, Collective Arts Brewing, Boshkung Brewing Co., Barnstormer Brewing & Distilling Co., Rainhard Brewing Co., Gateway City Brewery, Katalyst Brewing Company, Blackfly Spirit Beverages, Black Lab Brewing, The County Cider Company, The Craft Brand Co. and Redline Brewhouse.

For the local Muskoka market, tickets for the Saturday night event cost $65 plus tax and include event admission, Beerhurst beer glass, two ‘Brews & Food” tickets and the Dwayne Gretzky concert party. Advance tickets are required and can be booked online.

Deerhurst Resort is also offering a two-night weekend package which includes accommodation, a Friday night VIP Pre-Party hosted by Muskoka Brewery, guided snowshoe hike and yoga class, Beerhurst beer glass, two ‘Brews & Food’ tickets and admission to the Saturday night festival and Dwayne Gretzky concert party, all from just $239 per person, based on double occupancy. Tax and a nightly resort fee, which provides access to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating and other benefits, are extra. A one-night package option is also available.

So, if you love beer and you love beer in Muskoka, plan to make tracks to BEERHURST-at-DEERHURST. Age of majority required.

For more information or to book online go to call 1-800-461-4393. festival #beerhurst #FindMeAtDeerhurst @deerhurstresort

Cheers to Beerhurst-at-Deerhurst! Resort management toast the new craft beer festival being hosted at Deerhurst this March. Left, Steve Flagler, director of hospitality operations; Jesse Hamilton, general manager; Laura Kennedy, director of marketing; Adam Hart, banquet & restaurants manager and Rory Golden, director of food & beverage/executive chef