Outside the Indie Alehouse, a new 4,000-square-foot brewpub in the Junction, there’s a banner from the local BIA that crows about the area’s past as a booze-free zone. It’s sort of fitting—it took Jason Fisher two years of mucking his way through red tape before he was ready to open the doors of this west-end temple of beer geekdom, which includes a craft brewery, a 110-seat pub and, soon, a retail shop. Fisher began brewing at 16, under the guise of a science experiment (“Hey, I got an A,” he laughs), and it’s clear that the beer bug runs deep.
“The good thing about being held up forever,” Fisher tells us, “was that I got to make sure everything was perfect.” He sourced most of the furnishings for the former Sears catalogue store from local shops, with plenty of salvaged bits and pieces. The unit that holds the beer taps, for example, was originally a 1920s Argentine ice chest that Fisher got from Smash and repurposed with the help of a local wood worker. For the food, Fisher turned to his friends Todd Clarmo and Albino Silva of Chiado for help. Clarmo designed the kitchen and Silva found him a chef de cuisine, Patrick Fraser (previously of Salt), who devised an upscale pub menu. Bar snacks include Parmesan and sage popcorn drizzled with whipped bacon-fat butter ($3) and deep-fried fresh mozzarella balls in marinara sauce ($6). More substantial plates include six wood-fired pizzas ($13-$15) with clever names like the Toadstool (cream sauce and portobello, cremini, oyster and honey mushrooms) and the Three Little Pigs (pork, wild boar sausage, Berkshire pork belly, mozzarella and tomato sauce). The menu also includes dressed-up bar staples like a house-ground burger ($12) and a cherry wood-smoked pulled pork sandwich ($13).
Of the 10 available taps, four will be reserved for permanent residents (the Breakfast Porter, the Instigator IPA, the Broken Hipster Belgian Wit and the Barnyard Belgian IPA) and four more will rotate to showcase the repertoire of 18 beers, while the final two are earmarked for collaborations with other breweries. Pints ranges from $5.50 to $6.50 a glass, and for commitment-phobes, a flight of five beers ($10 or so, depending on the selection) provides a chance to hazard a taste of more exotic ales, like the Spadina Monkey (a Belgian raspberry sour named after the rancid odour emitted by the sour mash). As well, 1.9-litre growlers ($18-$22) are currently available for take-home consumption, with 750-ml and 500-ml bottles coming soon. Fisher says that you aren’t likely to stumble across a can of Spadina Monkey at the LCBO or The Beer Store anytime soon. “It’s time for consumers to have more choice,” he says. “I just don’t have time to pick that fight right now.” Is it any wonder his Instigator IPA is named after himself?
9 thoughts on “Introducing: Indie Alehouse, the Junction’s long-awaited new brewpub”
That price range is not for pints, as your photo of the chalkboard shows.
This might actually put them at a higher price point than Bellwoods Brewery.
Also, I am assuming those growler prices are with deposit?
(I sound like a serious price shopper, I know).
I can’t wait to hit up the place – sour beer? finally i might have something like a Panil that i don’t have to pay fifteen bucks for….
great news for west-enders : )
Already gone twice in one week. This is definitely going to be my 2nd local haunt!
Great beer, great food, and very friendly and helpful staff. What’s not to like?
Great beer, terrible service, horrible food…too bad. I think I was there the day it opened in the Junction. What a disappointment and I was treating my friend so was doubly disheartened. With such a small menu, I thought the food would be great or at least, good. We sent stuff back that was still frozen in the middle, awful hamburger, there was no thought or creativity put into the food…it really could be simple but good, you know.
I agree with Lucia. I mean, the food wasn’t horrible but the pricepoint was a bit high considering what we got. Also, I have an egg allergy. So I ordered a Farmhouse burger (cheddar, back bacon, egg) instead of the one dollar less vegetables-only burger and asked for no egg and some vegetables if they could. The waitress explained they’re picky about that the back – I was like, okay, hipster sensibility. Then she came back and told me they could put mushrooms on it if I paid an extra $1.50. Please note the $1 cheaper burger comes with mushrooms, onions, etc. I was confused and just shrugged it off.
Popcorn is just popcorn in a bag, which is a little strange.
Beer was excellent though and great pricepoint for what you’re getting.
Atmosphere is great.
Music is wonderful.
But the service is mostly terrible.
Nope…there is also a $4 deposit on top of that. Not really any cheaper than sitting down and ordering pints, although it’s great beer.
Best beer in the city. Wide variety, incredible flavours. A tonne of time going into those flavour profiles! The burger was awesome, honest flavours, no filler. I had wicked service, middle of the afternoon on a Thursday was nice and chilled out for staff though. As with any startup business doing things honestly and so dedicated to the product, I give a lot of leeway in terms of “proper staffing” on a busy night. Breaking even while filling a restaurant, paying staff and putting the time into craft beer that amazing takes a lot of work. This city can be so hard on honest, hard work sometimes, and the underdogs. Personally, as a member of the service industry in Toronto, I loved it, the flavours are there and I’m super excited for the future of their retailing!
As I was reading through some of the reviews, post first time visit there yesterday aftetnoon, I have to fully disagree with the negative reviews. Both the food and service were great. So too was the beer. We went with a flight of five beers. Great stuff.
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