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Toronto’s Best Breweries

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Photo by Carlo Mendoza.

Over the past few years, the city has seen an explosion of new microbreweries, each with their own speciality techniques. Here are some of the city’s best craft brewpubs, where you’ll find everything from classic ales and lagers to experimental sours and goses.

Indie Ale House

With creative brews, a cozy atmosphere and a fantastic menu this Junction alehouse has it all. The frequently rotating selection focuses on rare ales like Belgian sours, double IPAs and English porters, plus beers made using ancient brewing techniques. Once a month, Indie Ale House collaborates with a guest brewer to create experimental one-time-only beers. Grab a tasting flight to sample the range of ales and pair with a juicy short rib burger or the crispy southern fried chicken. 2876 Dundas St. W. 

Signature brews: Barnyard Instigator, Broken Hipster, Breakfast Porter

Henderson Brewing Co.

Henderson’s unassuming building, tucked into an industrial area south of Bloor Street near Lansdowne subway station, is easy to miss if you don’t know where to look. This award-winning brewery houses some of the best suds in town, created using brewing techniques inspired by those used in Toronto at the beginning of the 19th century. Each beer has a Toronto theme, drawing inspiration from the city’s past and present. The featured July beer, for example, showcases work on its label by Kaley Flowers, an award-winning artist from last years’ Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. Stay for a pint and get a close-up view of the brewing process, or take home some bottles or growler. 128A Sterling Rd.

Signature brews: Food Truck Blonde, Henderson’s Best,
Union Pearson Ale

Bandit Brewery

This microbrewery on Dundas Street West used to be an auto body shop. The former garage now houses brew tanks and its parking lot is a bustling patio filled with communal tables. Bandit has the atmosphere of a friendly German beer garden, with a uniquely Toronto twist: it features a mural and glasswear bearing the image of our unofficial municipal animal, the “trash panda,” or raccoon. Beers range from sour goses to hoppy IPAs to smooth lagers, and the menu includes delicious bar snacks like ale-battered cheese curds. 2125 Dundas St. W. 

Signature brews: Cone Ranger, Hoppleganger, Dundas West Coast IPA

Left Field Brewery

Both sports and beer fans will enjoy this baseball-themed brewery in Leslieville. In just a few years, husband and wife team Mark and Mandie have gone from sharing tank time with other breweries to opening their own space and widely distributing their brews to restaurants across the city. Left Field’s dog and kid-friendly location is decorated with baseball paraphernalia, like a salvaged scoreboard from Ohio that displays the business’s hours. There’s also a bottle shop where you can pick up favourites like Day Game session IPA, Cannonball Helles lager and Maris pale ale. 36 Wagstaff Dr.

Signature brews: Eephus, Sunlight Park, Wrigley

Burdock

Burdock, a combination bottle shop, restaurant and music hall, is one of the most innovative breweries in the city, trying out diverse styles of beer on a regular basis. Its brewers cite the wine world as a source of inspiration, and draw ingredients from a variety of producers, such as Niagara farmers and foragers and Ontario hop growers and wineries. The brewer began a barrel program in 2016, and it’s now starting to release some of its aged creations. The kitchen’s claim to fame is its sourdough bread, although there’s a lot more range to the menu, including a delicious selection of Ontario cheese. 1184 Bloor St. W.

Signature brews: The selection is constantly rotating, but the West Coast Pilsner is often on tap

Bellwoods Brewery

Bellwoods Brewery, a landmark brewery and bottle shop on the hip Ossington strip, is extremely popular, especially on sunny days when the patio comes alive. The rotating selection of pours range from aromatic pale ales to double IPAs to imperial stouts to farmhouse ales, and the special-edition bottled brews (including barrel-aged releases) means that there’s always something new to try. The small-but-tasty menu includes beer-friendly pairings like duck meatballs and smoked bratwurst. 124 Ossington Ave.

Signature brews: Jelly King, Roman Candle, Jutsu

Amsterdam BrewHouse

This waterfront drinking destination features 800 seats– 300 are located on one of four patios perfect for catching the lakeside breeze. The on-site craft brewery produces Amsterdam classics, as well as seasonal and small-batch releases from the Amsterdam Adventure Brews series, some of which have been barrel aged for more complex flavours. The comprehensive menu, which also suggests beer parings, features pub fare like the 3 Speed lager-battered fish and chips. 245 Queens Quay W.

Signature brews: 416 Local, Big Wheel, Boneshaker

Mill Street Brew Pub, Beer Hall and Brewery

The original Mill Street pub offers cold pints of the brewery’s most popular drafts, as well as small batch and seasonal offerings, like the refreshing ginger beer. Kick back with a pint and a bite to eat, or catch a guided tour to learn about the brewing process. Just around the corner, the newly renovated Mill Street Beer Hall features additional space and menu items for hungry and thirsty Distillery District visitors. A new on-site nano-brewery produces innovative and experimental, super-small-batch brews (some just a few barrels’ worth). 21 Tank House Ln. 

Signature brews: Original Organic Lager, Tankhouse Ale, 100th Meridian

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