I’m going to be in Toronto next week (17th-23rd) and looking for some advice and wondering if anyone wants to grab a beer. I’m there for work so not loads of free time, am staying in Church and Wellesley so anywhere good near there or easy to get to from there would be great for weeknights. I’ve got the Friday afternoon and evening free, so will probably do the majority of ticking then. With efficiency in mind, is there a particular area with a number of good breweries that I should head to?
If you are looking for beer ticks the best beer bars (IMHO) are Bar Volo (close to where you are staying) and the two Bar Hop locations downtown. An IMO under rated option is C’est What - less impressive than BV or BH but a good selection of Ontario craft. (I haven’t been in two years though. I assume it’s still solid.)
Closest brewery that I would specifically recommend downtown is the very new Great Lakes brewpub location and it is close to C’est What. There’s several others downtown but I’d recommend Volo or Bar Hop over most of them to someone with limited time. Eataly is close to where you are staying and has beers from Indie Alehouse.
I think i just sent you a link to my Ontario custom google map via forum beer mail. Let me know if you don’t get it or have questions.
Most of the actual breweries are farther away from downtown. Rainhard, Great Lakes, Indie Alehouse are amongst the best IMHO but you will get varying opinions as to which ones are worth while. Granite is under rated / great if you are into UK styles but a bit of a detour from where you will be.
Craft Beer Market is a big loud bar that I typically avoid but has a large tap list on Yonge St. so it’s relatively close to where you will be.
On my opinion, Bellwods is a real hotspot. My favourite in Toronto.
As jercraigs mentioned, the Bar Hops are cool and I also spend a nice time at Cést What (got a real nice local cream ale there…).
I would say Bellwoods brewery is a must - very high quality hoppy stuff, which is my kinda beer. Steam Whistle brewery tour was fun too but the beer is fairly average in my opinion.
I’ll be there this weekend too, primarily for the TFOB on Sunday. Great suggestions to look up for Saturday though!
If you make it to Bellwoods I’m curious to hear what you think. For me their hoppy stuff went from consistently good to a bit a of a gamble - I am personally very sensitive to hazy IPAs with prominent green hop veg character and find many breweries can have more of that than I prefer, especially when using some of the new cryo or experiment hop options. Their fruited and barrel aged beers were consistently very good albeit pricey, but the number of them that have lactose or vanilla in them seems to have increased, which again, is a detriment for me personally that is a benefit for some other people.