In a city known for its coffee, it’s also easy to find a great brew. Whether you’re looking for a taste or a tour, Toronto has enough variety to satisfy the most knowledgeable and discerning tipplers. Sampling some of the city’s best brews is as simple as picking a neighborhood and asking for a local recommendation.
Begun in 1986 with a vision for a unique flavorful craft beer that Begun would be slightly unusual and endlessly satisfying, Amsterdam Brewery remains a force to be reckoned with on the local scene. Today, the brewhouse is known for its unique food, which includes spent grains used in the brewing process and sauces made from beer-making ingredients. The combination has proved to be a popular one and Amsterdam boasts three separate locations — a Brewhouse on the lake, the Brewery and a Barrel House, both in Leaside. Retail sales are also available.
With a variety of primarily hoppy brews to sample, this young micro-brewery now boasts two locations with beer on draft as well as quick bites and a bottle shop. That’s quite an achievement for a company that only began brewing in April 2012. The downtown location, 124 Ossington Ave., is convenient for those who love to grab a quick IPA after work; or enjoy beer with tasty lunch or dinner on the weekend. The second, a bottle shop and tasting room at 20 Hafis Road, is just north of the city core.
If, like scores of other people, you believe that baseball and brew just seem to go naturally together, Left Field Brewery’s founders agree. A husband and wife team with a passion for both started the brewery in 2013. Mandie and Mark Murphy have grown the company into a full-time operation with a staff of 20, along with Wrigley, a dedicated hound that is the “chief of security and customer relations.” Left Field’s family and dog-friendly taproom and bottle shop is located in the Leslieville neighborhood of east Toronto, and tours are offered each Saturday and Sunday.
Opened in the heart of Toronto’s historic Distillery District, Mill Street was the first to open in this part of East Toronto in more than 100 years, and it carries on a rich tradition of of local brewing, where guests can be seated close to the action. Featuring a full round of tours, tastings, special events and food that appeals to a variety of palates, it’s the place to go for a memorable brew experience. There’s always a resident expert on hand at Mill Street Brewery to answer beer-related questions or recommend new brews.
If you’re serious about beer and you have a full day to spare this just might be a “can’t miss” tour. Designed to offer samples of suds, a day-long Saturday tour gives visitors a glimpse of the culture, history and current popularity of a variety of brews that have come to be Toronto favorites, as well as lunch and transportation for an all-inclusive price. Beer Lovers’ Tour Company began operation in Europe in 1998, and has been running beer tours in Toronto since 2000. The day begins with a history lesson at Corktown and Fort York, the city’s distillery district where Toronto’s beer-loving days began, and the tour features tastings at four different craft breweries.
Of course, exploring on your own is easy in Toronto; there are more than 35 brew pubs and micro-breweries for visitors to discover!