Across Toronto, craft breweries and taprooms are experimenting with bold flavours and perfecting old favourites. And more are cropping up every season. Looking to discover a little-known brewery? Here are some of the best beer hotspots you may not have heard of.
Based out of a former mechanic shop, this micro-brewery and pub in the heart of Roncesvalles is getting rave reviews. Run by three friends, the brewery only makes styles that they love, and that they hope you’ll love too. Which means that they won’t be making anything too sweet or too bitter – or any type of brown ale.
Must-Try: Hoppelganger dry-hopped pilsner
Dry hopping involves adding hops (the bitter and herby ingredient of beer) later in the brewing process. The result is a less bitter, but much more floral brew. By dry-hopping a traditional pilsner, Bandit’s brewers have made a surprisingly complex, but still refreshing brew.
This family-owned craft brewery opened in 2015, but has quickly become a west-end staple. Blood Brothers’ beers mix experimental techniques with unique flavours like cherry, cocoa, cinnamon, and bourbon. Expect on-trend and funky sour ales, flavoured stouts, and hoppy pale ales in this small but charming taproom.
Must-Try: Balam imperial stout
Their largest brew to date, Balam, is a wide-ranging and eclectic mix of flavours: coffee, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, and smokiness are all present. But we wouldn’t recommend more than one; not only is this brew slightly thicker and sweeter than most stouts, but its intense flavours also hide its hefty alcohol content.
Northern Maverick Brewing Co. may have just opened at the tail end of 2017, but it’s already looking to shake up the King west strip. Its massive, 2-floor facility on Bathurst features a large bar and taproom, an upstairs area for private events and tastings, and regular brewery tours. They also cure and smoke their own charcuterie in-house.
Must-Try: The Disaster Artist California common
The Disaster Artist – titled as a tribute to the cult movie of the same name – is a craft beer for people who don’t like craft beer. A California common beer is almost like half-ale half-lager mix. It’s refreshing and light, and features hints of complex bitterness.
This new Junction brewery is dedicated to experimentation and innovation. Using unique ingredients and new techniques, they’re constantly iterating on their existing line up. The most interesting part? They’re Toronto’s first open-source brewery. This means they post their recipes online, inviting the beer-lover community to make and test them at home, The only catch? Contributors have to share the modifications they’ve made online too.
Must-Try: Tokyo Rose saison with rosehips
Saisons are a style that people either love or hate. To their fans, they’re tart, refreshing, complex, and herby. To their detractors, saisons earn their less-flattering nickname ͞Farmhouse ales͟. Tokyo Rose is one of the best we’ve tried, with a light and grassy flavour that perfectly balances the surprising, floral rosehips.
A mystery to those outside of the beer community, Godspeed is the brainchild of famous Quebec brewer Luc Lafontaine of Dieu du Ciel! fame. Located in a former dollar store in Little India, this warehouse-style space mixes Japanese comfort food and top-notch craft beer. While this gem may be a little out of the way to some, it’s a great addition to Toronto’s east-end craft scene.
Must-Try: India Pale Lager
India Pale Ales are known for being heavily-hopped bitter beers, but Godspeed takes the technique and adds it to a cold-brewed lager style. The result is a beer that’s best served ultra-cold; refreshing, light, flavourful, and bitter enough to please die-hard IPA fans.
These are just a few of the little-known spots where you can find great craft beer in Toronto. Want to discover some of our other favourites? Check out more of our best-of-the-city blogs or our neighbourhood guides for more local gems.