New in Brew: Microbrewery and brewpub newcomers in Toronto

If there’s one beverage Torontonians love, it’s craft beer. Thanks to a craft brew boom, Toronto is now a true beer lovers’ market. With local and microbreweries opening up all over the Six in the past year, we’ve rounded up our top picks for restaurants that brew on site, tap rooms, brewpubs and bottle shops. [Image credit: iStock.com/mwphotos]

Batch

1
75 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C 2B1

Part restaurant, part brewery, this heritage building in the heart of downtown has been transformed into a slick space to dine and imbibe. Sip on small-batch brews made in house against a backdrop of exposed brick, comfy banquettes, a wall of windows by day or soft, low light in the evening. Ambience aside, the beers are crafted by hand and the selection runs the full gamut: pale ales, cream ales and porters, lagers brimming with floral notes. To boot, Batch hosts a bottle shop so you can get your craft brews to go – and even pick up a tart homemade pie!

Bandit Brewery

2
2125 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1X1

Pair a flight of small-batch, brewed-in-house deliciousness with some conversation at a long communal table at this Roncey beer hall. Warning: the glasses are embellished with the brand’s signature raccoon bandit logo and trust us, you’ll want to take them home. What you’ll find here are hand-crafted beers, a chill vibe and comfort food favourites like cheese boards, charcuteries and fresh-cut fries (oh, and did we mention the huge street-facing patio?). Sip on a porter, IPA, pale ale or APA in the clean, modern space – there’s loads of natural light and plenty of shiny chrome fixtures and beer kettles to ogle over.

Halo Brewery

3
247 Wallace Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 1V5

This Junction Triangle trifecta (brewery, tap room and bottle shop) pairs quintessential malt, hops and yeast with not-your-average ingredients like rosehip, strawberries, kiwi and lemon, resulting in thirst-quenching creations dreamed up by proprietors Callum Hay and Eric Portelance. Take home a growler, or if you feel like staying awhile, sip on a dry hopped pale ale or Weisse IPA against a cozy backdrop of polished white brick walls, rich wood and bright pops of orange (hint for neighbourhood locals: the tasting flights are a mean option for weekday date-night imbibing).

Blood Brothers Brewing

4
165 Geary Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 2B8

This bottle shop and microbrewery, tucked away on the industrial Geary Avenue stretch near Dupont and Dufferin, has become a destination for fans who have sipped one of Blood Brother’s fine ales at local spots throughout the Six. Literal blood brothers Dustin and Brayden Jones brew up a small but mighty batch of seasonal suds for beer lovers to cart home. The brothers are known for unique combos of flavour so you may taste notes of sour, floral, citrus and bitter.

Henderson Brewing Co.

5
128A Sterling Rd, Toronto, ON M6R 2B7

Once a kids indoor gym, this 9,000-square-foot has been space has been transformed into an adult playground (ahem, tap room) in the heart of the Junction. The tasting room boasts the perfect combo of industrial finishes, natural light and high ceilings and plenty of tables to stand and sip. Highlights include the Food Truck Beer, a lighter option that complements flavours found on a food truck, and the Union Pearson Ale, an 6.5% IPA inspired by the train that passes by the brewery on the Toronto Railpath every 6.5 minutes. Grab a four-pack at the bottle shop on your way out.

Burdock

6
1184 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N2

You don’t need to hit up the Burdock kitchen or check out a gig if you’ve got the thirst for a bottle of one of the spot’s small-batch craft beers. The resto-bar houses a microbrewery and just around the side on Pauline Street, a simple and straight-up bottle shop offers a selection of seasonal ales from the brewery itself. Standouts include the fresh-meets-hoppy West Coast Pilsner and the smooth-sipping American Pale Ale. While fans of this Bloordale hotspot come for the food and tunes, they also know that if you’ve missed the last call at the LCBO, you’re in luck. The shop stays open until 11 pm every day.

Left Field Brewery

7
36 Wagstaff Dr, Toronto, ON M4L 3W9

Put me in coach: this is the tap room where Leslieville locals hang out to watch the Jays and sip on a smattering of baseball-inspired microbrews. Top picks include the Day Game, an IPA designed to drink over the course of nine innings, the Grandstand, a hoppy wheat ale with scents of melon and pineapple, and the Sunlight Park, a thirst quencher brewed with two kilos of grapefruit zest in each batch. Founded by husband and wife Mandy and Mark Murphy, more than 10 beers inspired by their love of baseball are featured. Bottle shop open until 9 pm daily.

Rainhard Brewing Company

8
100 Symes, ON M6N 3T1

If handcrafted small-batch brewskies wet your whistle, look no further than this microbrewery in the west end. The team at Rainhard adds some elbow grease to each delicious sip by hand-mashing and mixing the grains into each batch, as well as hand-packaging their beer into take-home bottles and growlers. Pop into this Stockyards spot for a tour followed by a tap-room tasting session. The vibe here is simple, straight-up and authentic. Brews boast hints of melon, soft pine, spice, pepper and dark chocolate. No time to sit and sip? Bottles and growlers are available for takeaway.

The Mexican version of a Caesar, a michelada (pronounced mee-chay-law-da) uses beer instead vodka with just the right amount of tomato or Clamato juice, lime, spices and a salty rim. In fact, the sky’s the limit when it comes to blends and garnishes on this refreshing Mexican favourite. Here are the top cantinas bringing the michelada north of the border to fans in the Six. Salud! [Image credit: iStock.com/MelMcKay]
Is there any country in the world that does bar food better than Spain? Don’t worry, you don’t need to cross the pond, we’ve hand-picked the city’s top spots for authentic Spanish tapas. These cozy tavernas are serving up some of the most piquant-in-flavour small plates in Toronto – and they each boast their own unique, chilled-out vibe to boot.
Whether you’re a Jeopardy couch champ or have a bank of random references you’re dying to blurt out, a weekly trivia night is a great way to one-up your pub night and go home with plenty of bragging rights. From general knowledge, theme nights and prizes up for grabs, check out these top bars to use your memory muscles. [Image credit: iStock.com/mihailomilovanovic]
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