In Toronto for Work: How do I maximize my time?

Discussion in 'Canada' started by chrisjws, May 12, 2017.

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  1. chrisjws

    chrisjws Champion (885) Dec 3, 2014 California

    I'm staying in Downtown Toronto from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening next week. How do I maximize my time? I'm staying two blocks from Dukes Refresher, which I've found to be an outstanding place to get beer. I've been to Bar Hop before. I really want to take trips to Collective Arts or Redline, but I don't know if I'll have time on my weekend bookends, and I'm not sure if the Brewery experience is worth it. Are there any breweries closer in that are making outstanding stuff? I'm free in the evenings as well, but I don't want to venture too far out of downtown.
  2. Quotashun

    Quotashun Initiate (0) Mar 23, 2004 Canada (ON)

    If you're downtown, head over to Bellwoods on Ossington (north of Queen St W). There's also Burdock at Bloor/Dufferin, Rainhard in the Stockyards area, Great Lakes just off the Gardiner by Islington; all much easier for you to get to than Collective Arts (Hamilton) and Redline (up in Barrie). If you do make it over to Collective Arts, you may as well stop by Nickel Brook in Burlington too.

    For a beer bar in Toronto, go to Birreria Volo on College Street (in Little Italy).
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  3. hoser

    hoser Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2003 Canada (AB)

    Birreria Volo and Bellwood's are the highpoints, the other breweries' beers will be on tap at any good tap room around the city. Would plan for a dinner at Bellwood's.
    chrisjws likes this.
  4. yasky

    yasky Disciple (386) Dec 21, 2008 Canada (ON)

    Volo and Bellwoods are definitely worth hitting. Redline is about an hour north of you in Barrie (I'm going up there early next week fwiw) Great Lakes is in Etobicoke and probably worth a visit, should be at least a couple of IPA's on. Burdock, Leftfield and Halo and Folly may be worth stopping into, depending on your tastes.

    If you want a couple under the radar picks, Rouge River's Escape from the Planet of the APA's might be on somewhere and is worth trying at least once. Ditto Bronan from High Road.
    chrisjws likes this.
  5. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (345) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    Really enjoyed WVRST. And of course Bellwoods
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  6. sdhopaddict

    sdhopaddict Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2016 California

    What are the top two breweries in Toronto as far as kettle sours are concerned? And what is the best brewery for hazy IPAs?
  7. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Poo-Bah (1,891) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Society Trader

    Bellwoods on both counts.
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  8. chrisjws

    chrisjws Champion (885) Dec 3, 2014 California

    Completely agree that its bellwoods. I found the Hazey IPAs from Redline to be quite good as well.
  9. sdhopaddict

    sdhopaddict Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2016 California

    I'm hitting up breweries in Toronto starting Thursday night so looking forward to trying lots of breweries. Also spending a few days in Kingston with a friend while I'm out there as well. If anyone wants to meet up with a San Diego based beer blogger while I'm there that would be great too.
  10. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Poo-Bah (1,891) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Society Trader

    Stone City Ales in Kingston should be on your can't miss list.
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  11. sdhopaddict

    sdhopaddict Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2016 California

    Ya it will be, I have a local guide in Kingston who knows the breweries.
  12. sdhopaddict

    sdhopaddict Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2016 California

    Good God.

    County road brewery blew me away yesterday in prince Edward County. Hill Farmstead level Belgian and farmhouse styles.

    Now I'm at stone city and the gose, saison, and English mild are also blowing me away. This is more in the realm of better than the styles where county road seemed very to style.
  13. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Poo-Bah (1,891) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Society Trader

    I've only been to County Road twice. The first time was just before their official opening and the beers were either unremarkable, or flawed. Admittedly, they said they were still learning their system and weren't too happy with a couple of their offerings. The second time was a few months later, and I saw no real changes.

    I figured your remarks to be hyperbole. I assume they have improved, but to the level of Hill Farmstead? C'mon! Then, just yesterday, I was speaking with the beer guy at the Wilson and Dufferin LCBO (they are carrying County Road 3 Saison now) and he was saying how it is the best saison he has ever had!

    I picked some up to try. I'm hoping I agree with both of you!
  14. portwood

    portwood Aspirant (209) Aug 20, 2015 Canada (ON)

    I'm no expert but would guess this person hasn't tried many different saisons ;-)
  15. sdhopaddict

    sdhopaddict Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2016 California

    On tap it was excellent as I tasted it and was close to Hill Farmstead. The first bottle I opened that I brought back was a little sweeter than I remember and not as well-attenuated or properly classic. So I certainly don't suggest picking up the bottles of their saison over HF yet. I don't generally write hyperbole for my blog or on here so if I include a reference to a brewery it is usually genuine. It was certainly one of the better saisons I had when I visited by what was pouring on tap. Then again I have similar experiences with Sante Adarius in that the version on tap and the bottle are usually fairly different because of the bottle conditioning. Most breweries don't give much instruction on how long to age their beers or if they need any additional cellaring.

    I give most breweries my rating primarily by what I had on tap at the source which means Hill Farmstead gets a shorter end of the stick because they didn't have anything on tap except for a few pale ales when I visited and I wasn't interested in drinking a whole bottle on site myself. In that sense until HF opens a proper tasting room I generally don't recommend a visit unless you are able to stock up on bottles and get multiple cases (driving there). For someone flying to get there the experience is quite lacking.
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  16. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,312) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Bellwoods, WVRST are always good spots.
  17. sdhopaddict

    sdhopaddict Initiate (0) Oct 9, 2016 California

    Bellwoods was great but I was also very impressed by Halo's NZ Pale and Apricot Sour. Radical Road Yuzu Pale was also tasty for a drink regularly at home type of beer.
  18. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Best place for take home bottles?
  19. GJKerr

    GJKerr Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2014 Canada (ON)

    That's gonna be Bellwoods again. Depending on what's available, your available time and carrying capacity, you might also consider hitting up Burdock, Blood Brothers, Halo, Folly and Indie Ale House, all of which are in fairly close proximity to one another. Slightly further afield is Great Lakes.
  20. PSU_Mike

    PSU_Mike Initiate (0) Sep 6, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Looking more retail than brewery. Hoping to snag some lambic bottles that I can't get in Pittsburgh currently (Boon, 3F, etc.)
  21. GJKerr

    GJKerr Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2014 Canada (ON)

    You will not find that in Ontario. Outside of breweries, you can only purchase at government liquor stores, which, though getting much better in the past couple of years, are an abysmal atrocity compared to even modest US (and other, less socialist province) bottle shops. You can search their entire inventory at There will be no lambic at all. None. If you're not looking for Canadian stuff, you're likely better of with your local Pittsburgh stores. Toronto area folks are known to travel to Buffalo for their quality craft and import fix.
    Derek, portwood and PSU_Mike like this.
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