Introducing: Indie Alehouse, the Junction’s long-awaited new brewpub
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?