Make Your Thursday Nights Better Than Average: A Review of TO’s Best Craft Beer Houses
I think it’s safe to say that after your first few years of undergrad, you end up looking for something slightly more relaxing to do after classes and after work to catch up with friends. After spending a summer on the Explore program, and the majority of my “outside-of-Toronto-time” in Northern Ontario, I’ve developed a keen liking for a solid brew with even better company. I think it’s important, though, to choose your spot wisely as every brew house has its specialties. Of course, we all know that in Toronto, a vibe can make or break your evening, so here are some of my favourite spots to grab a cold one with the boys.
39 Prince Arthur Avenue
As the name might suggest, this place is a super fun, hole-in-the-wall find.They have an extensive selection of Ontario Craft bottles and cans as well as a pretty varied draught lineup.Their cans consist of mostly ale and their draughts are all lager. They have an awesome playlist to compliment your evening and boast an eclectic food menu; spiced edamame to share and cilantro burgers if you need some snacks. They also have a new beer sample special each week.
My Recommendation: 8th Sin Black Lager
Belsize Public House
535 Mt Pleasant Road
A great uptown location means it’s perfect for our Glendon friends! This spot has a wicked classic and indie rock playlist, as well as a real “Northern Canadian” type of vibe with canoe route maps and lake photography décor. They keep the same menu for on tap, but rotate a seasonal selection. Their October seasonal consisted of a pumpkin ale as well as a lavender and rosemary amber ale.Their unique selections make this place a great go-to if variety is what you’re looking for. They also have an absolutely awesome brunch if a boozy 11am is part of your agenda.
My Recommendation: Great Lake’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale
124 Ossington Avenue OR 20 Hafis Road
Already trendy just because it’s located in Trinity Bellwoods, this joint is extremely popular in summer because of its massive patio. They do all of their brewing in house, and they also have rotating taps. Their food menu is slightly lacking, but their “smoothie” beers make up for everything. Brewed with lactose, they’re creamy and fruity and perfect for your non-beer drinking girlfriend who’s still complaining that you aren’t bringing her to Warehouse for sour keys. Bellwoods also has a bottle shop in two separate locations if you’re looking to take anything home. The Ossington location is fantastic if you’re looking to bar hop as well.
My Recommendation: Fruit Helmet Pale Ale (with lactose!)
75 Victoria Street
Batch is a sweet place if you’re looking for a little more entertainment since they have some billiards, table tennis, and foosball tables. A really nice touch is that they feature Ontario producer products such as teas, honey, jams, and oils to take home after you’ve readily sampled them with one of their charcuterie boards. Batch is based in Creemore, so all of their beers are brewed there in small batches for ultimate flavour. All of their brews are incredibly unique, which makes for a fun drinking experience. They also have a bottle shop, as well as a decent selection available at certain LCBO locations.
My Recommendation: Smoked Maple Marzan