What’s on the menu at True History Brewing, a new craft brewery in St. Clair West Village

What’s on the menu at True History Brewing, a new craft brewery in St. Clair West Village

More New Restaurants

Name: True History Brewing
Contact: 1154 St. Clair Ave. W., truehistorybeer.com, @truehistorybrewing
Neighbourhood: St. Clair West Village
Previously: Big Slice
Owners: Matt Tompkins, Adam Shier
Brewer: Adam Shier, Joey Armenio
Chef: Aaron Okada
Accessibility: Fully accessible

The food

This new craft brewery at St. Clair and Dufferin serves up crisp pilsners and pale ales in a cozy taproom. Tompkins and Shier—beer enthusiasts who used to work in film and finance, respectively—wanted True History to be as much about friendly neighbourhood vibes as it is about the pints. And so, the food program is all small plates designed for sharing—with either the friends you came in with or the new friends you’ll make sitting at a communal table.

Tompkins (left) and Shier

Chef Aaron Okada—formerly of the Indonesian snack bar Little Sister and southwest American cantina Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!—borrows heavily from Portuguese tavern-style cuisine for a menu of plates with punchy flavours that complement the brews. Crispy-skinned chicken thighs sit in a vivid house piri-piri sauce; crunchy corn chips come with a long-stewed dip of roasted eggplant and hot smoked paprika; and a classic Bavarian pretzel comes with beer cheese sauce or house-made grainy mustard for dipping.

It wouldn’t be a beer hall without a classic Bavarian pretzel. The chewy, tender twist is topped with flaky salt and served with two dips: a pilsner cheddar sauce and a wildly delicious creamy and grainy house mustard. $8
Corn chips from Toronto’s Maizal Tortilleria come with a delectable eggplant dip. It’s made with a combination of roasted and fire-charred eggplant, tomato, olive oil, hot smoked paprika and aromatics for a smooth, sweet and smoky purée. $8
Sliced cucumbers—quick-pickled in vinegar and lemon—are piled on a piri-piri yogurt sauce and served with rich, intense Ontario black peanuts, red onions, and tiny, crunchy dried anchovies. It makes for a sharp, refreshing bite. $9
A classic Portuguese tavern snack, the tiborna bacalhau is salt cod confited in sweet, fruity Portuguese olive oil and spread on toasted Mattachioni sourdough with black olives, cilantro and flaky Maldon salt. $11
Petite, delicately sweet Cape Breton cold water shrimp are laced with cucumber, lime and lightly spicy lovage, then nested in a kimchi yogurt base. $16
Pieces of tenderloin or ribeye are seared to tender, juicy perfection in a punchy mix of garlic, bay leaf, white wine and butter. Finished with cilantro, these are the perfect beer-adjacent bites. $17.
Boneless chicken thighs are marinated in house-fermented pimenta sauce, cooked sous-vide for maximum tenderness and pan-seared to order for golden, crispy skin. They’re served with a lightly spicy house piri-piri sauce you’ll want to eat with a spoon. $15
Chef Okada
The drinks

Like many up-and-comers, True History started out as a contract brewery, commissioning its recipes out to a partner facility. With the opening of its first stand-alone location, it now has its own set-up for cranking out the clean, golden German- and Czech-style pilsners and pale ales it’s known for. The tight menu—currently, there are four beers on tap—is set to expand over time but promises to play within True History’s tidy, easy-drinking style. A few options for wine and cider are also on offer.

On the left is a standard American-style beer faucet; on the right, a Czech side-pull faucet. It’s not just a stylistic difference: the former is an on-or-off affair, but the latter has a flow control lever that yields a smooth, creamy foam vastly different from the drier foam you get with a typical tap. It’s essential for creating a mlíko, or a pour made up mostly of foam—more on that later.
Left to right, we have the Long Lunch, Whole Menu Twice and Vermont Honk. Long Lunch is a malty, dry-hopped pale ale; Whole Menu Twice is a classic northern German style pilsner; Vermont Honk is a hazy east-coast-style pale ale with subtle hop and fruit-forward notes. The generous head on the pilsner is characteristic of the classic Czech hladinka pour, which keeps the beer fresh under a flavourful seal of dense, creamy foam. $8 for the pale ales, $8.25 for the pilsner.
A mlíko in progress.
Mlíko is the Czech word for milk. In the context of beer, it’s a pour style accomplished with Czech side-pull taps that yields a meringue-like, nearly all-foam beer. That may sound undesirable to the uninitiated, but this foam is nothing like the dry foam of a badly poured pint. It’s dense, smooth, and sweet—sort of like the beer equivalent of a creamsicle. You can opt for a mlíko of any lager for $4.50.
The space

It’s an airy, spacious room with big windows and a few long communal tables intended to facilitate conversations and connections between patrons. If you want to meet your neighbours, this is as good a place as any. A walnut bar, custom wallpaper and wood panelling give the space a warm, lived-in vibe. Peek in the back for a glimpse at the shiny fermentation tanks housing your new favourite beers. Soon, a side patio will offer space for another 48 beer drinkers.

The custom wallpaper was designed by Kate Golding. Look closely and you’ll find THB-engraved beer steins.