The west end’s best new breweries
A new crop of small, hyper-local breweries in the city’s west end have transformed gyms, manufacturing plants and auto body shops into community gathering spots with great beer. Here are eight that have opened in the past year alone.
Blood Brothers Brewing
165 Geary Ave., no phone, bloodbrothersbrewing.com
Since opening their brewery last fall, brothers Dustin and Brayden Jones have already expanded their brewing capacity and moved across the street to a shared space with Indie Ale House. It’s only a bottle shop at the moment, but the taproom will be up and serving by July 9. The Joneses experiment with seasonal fruits under their Paradise Lost label, which includes White Lies, a hoppy sour made with Sauvignon Blanc grapes.
Drink this: Shumei IPA, a juicy, boozy brew flavoured with grapefruit, orange zest and fragrant pine.
Eat this: There’s no menu yet, but you can bring your own snacks.
Rainhard Brewing Co.
100 Symes Rd., no phone, rainhardbrewing.com
Rainhard Brewing is tucked behind the Stockyards in a former manufacturing plant. The open-concept brewery is also a taproom, events space and bottle shop. The small but lively staff of three (including owner and brewer Jordan Rainhard) pumps out a stellar list of beer, including a rich and malty milk stout and a toasty and fruity black IPA.
Drink this: Lazy Bones (a gold medal winner at the 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards), an American-style IPA with lots of pine, citrus, tropical fruits and a nicely balanced bitterness.
Eat this: Charcuterie boards from Stasis Local Foods during special events. The rest of the time, it’s BYO-food.
1184 Bloor St. W., 416-546-4033, burdockto.com
Bloordale’s Burdock wears many hats: it’s a microbrewery, music hall and cozy, candlelit restaurant all in one. Family-style dishes by chef Jeremy Dennis (Woodlot, Chantecler) pair perfectly with the rotating selection of farmhouse and American pale ales designed by veteran brewer Siobhan McPherson (Mill Street, Amsterdam).
Drink this: West Coast Pils, an easy-drinking lager with hints of lemon, floral hops and a solid malt backbone.
Eat this: The menu changes often, but currently includes seasonal dishes like caramelized zucchini with ramp dressing, and charred asparagus.
2125 Dundas St. W., 647-348-1002, banditbrewery.ca
The buzziest of the new bunch, the adorably branded Bandit opened this May in a former auto body shop, transforming the adjacent parking lot into a sprawling street-side patio. With a roster of 15 beers and a menu of salty snacks, ordering flights and bites here is a great way to spend an afternoon.
Drink this: Smoke on the Porter, a deeply smoky porter flavoured with peaty malts, coffee and a touch of black pepper.
Eat this: Soft pretzels, beer-battered cheese curds and crispy chicken tails served with spicy white barbecue sauce.
303 Lansdowne Ave., 416-588-1641, lansdownebrewery.com
Launching today new from Lansdowne Brewery is this American Wheat Ale dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops, called Kon-Tiki. This South Pacific inspired ale is a wheat beer though it does not have the fruity, spicy or banana like qualities of its German and Belgian wheat beer sisters. It is light bodied thirst quneching with a pleasant hoppy aroma of melon, lychee, and soft grassiness though it is not bitter. Rather it finishes with light cereal malt note. #freshlytapped #newbeer #hoppymakesitallbetter #hoppytillidie
Lansdowne Brewery opened its doors last May at the corner of Dundas and College—where a good beer bar was desperately needed. Though they’re not brewing onsite yet (they’re almost through the licensing red tape) they get by with a little help from their friends, like Rainhard, who let them use vats when there’s a vacancy. In the meantime, the taps at Lansdowne showcase the best of local breweries.
Drink this: A rotating Lansdowne brew, like their hoppy and malty Buck 10 imperial amber ale, a collaboration with the east-end’s Muddy York Brewing Co.
Eat this: Deep-fried pickles, house-made kettle chips and pickled eggs.
247 Wallace Ave., 416-606-7778, halobrewery.com
Opened by two former techies, the two-month-old Halo is already a favourite among craft beer nerds. Brewers Eric Portelance and Callum Hay take traditional beers and add spins with ingredients like coriander, ginger, rose hips and kiwi. And if you like what you drink, all of their recipes can be found on Halo’s website.
Drink this: Ion Cannon, a sessionable salty and sweet strawberry and kiwi gose.
Eat this: Small bites like cured pork cacciatore meat sticks from PEC’s WooHoo Farm, fleur de sel foccacia and cheddar scones.
Henderson Brewing Co.
128A Sterling Rd., 416-863-8822, hendersonbrewing.com
Quenching your thirst for tasty beer and feeding the neighbourhood with food truck cuisine. Feed the six food truck will be in our parking lot tomorrow and on Saturday for the grand opening of the Henderson brewery taproom! @feedthesix @hendersonbrewing #torontobeer #torontofoodtrucks #findafoodtruck #thebest #torontocraftbeer #torontocraftbeerweek
Henderson is part of the controversial gentrification of the artsy, post-industrial Sterling Avenue (soon to be home of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art), but families, cyclists and dog walkers on the West Toronto Railpath are happy to use the new brewery as a rest and refresh stop. A tribute to Toronto’s first brewer, Robert Henderson, it opened in May and releases a monthly brew inspired by the city, like the grapefruit radler collab with Sweet Pete’s bike shop
Drink this: Henderson’s Best, an amber-hued English-style bitter with toffee malt flavours and a wisp of floral hops.
Eat this: Cheese and charcuterie from the Drake are available for purchase, and food trucks occasionally stop by.
928 College St., 416-533-7272, follybrewing.com
The Bechdel Brett, our International Women's Collaborative Brew Day beer, brewed with the assistance of over 20 women will be released Saturday, April 16! Will be available at the pub and bottle shop. Limit of four bottles per person. Proceeds from pub and bottle sales will be going to the Working Women Community Centre. The Bechdel Brett is an American Brett Ale coming in at 6.2%. Hopped with Calypso and Cascade hops. #IWCBD #brett #beer #toronto #beerto
Formerly Habits Gastropub, Folly’s on the cusp of a new trend in brewing: nanobreweries dedicated to making one style of beer—in this case, the funky farmhouse-style ales of Belgium and France. Christina Coady and Chris Conway were brought on to start the tiny brewery which has already been named one of the top five breweries in the province by the Ontario Craft Beer Guide.
Drink this: A tasting paddle of four brews, and a bottle or two of their Old World Saison to go.
Eat this: New chef Anthony Santi (Bestellen, Montreal’s Toqué) will roll out his menu on July 12.