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15 Great Places To Drink Craft Beer, May 2014

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As craft beer has moved from novelty to ubiquity, the list of good places to find it has grown from a handful of destinations to the point where every neighbourhood has its own local joint. Those who are new to craft beer can understandably find themselves overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of selection so it definitely helps to have an experienced guide. Also, because good beer has more to it than fizz, booze, and a weak corny sweetness, it needs to be treated and served with some degree of expert care. Here, in no particular order, are the fifteen places in Toronto that have a noteworthy selection, can help you find your way through it, and will pour your selected brew in a way that shows it at its best. — David Ort


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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

barVolo

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The long list at this Yonge and Wellesley institution usually features a few well-made standbys, complemented by more than twenty niche one-offs and cask options. Their IPA challenge, Zwanze Day participation, and the off-site Cask Days festival are all world-class events. Add a well-situated (if small) patio with a great view of Yonge Street and you have a top-notch aficianados' bar.

Bar Hop

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Evidence runs deep that Rob Pingitore and his team pay very careful attention to selecting the world's finest. Both special releases from Ontario breweries and international cult favourites, clearly, are chosen for quality and consistency rather novelty. A paddle of their small-size samples is one of the best ways in Toronto to expand your familiarity with different beer styles.
There is nothing small or niche about WVRST, but that makes their attention to detail, consistency, and staff education all the more impressive. The no-nonsense food menu, built around an impressive list of sausages lets their varied list of Ontario and European gems shine in one of King West's most convivial spaces.

Indie Alehouse

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With a bottle shop to sell their brews and special menu nights (BBQ on Wednesday) they have built a steady relationship with local customers. Some of Toronto's best examples of niche styles like sour ales and barrel-conditioned releases along with their excellent beer dinners draw devotees from across town.

Bellwoods Brewery

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When you set up your beer operation so that all of the components – brewery, pub, and bottle shop – are under your control you never have a reason to compromise on quality. Such high standards are the anthem at Bellwoods and their awards, packed patio, and sold-out-in-hours special releases show that we're all part of the fan club.

C'est What

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The subterranean digs, low ceilings, and fireplaces give this downtown establishment an exceptionally cozy atmosphere. The beer list leans to Ontario gems and is even more noteworthy during their seasonal festivals of small breweries.

Stout Irish Pub

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With a name like that you'd expect them to sell more Guinness than anything else, but this Cabbagetown watering-hole devotes the majority of their beer menu to Ontario craft and pours one of the best pints of cask ale in the city.

The Rhino

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Before craft beer and Parkdale were cool, The Rhino was there introducing one to the other. Especially when the weather finally allows the use of their spacious Queen West patio with a view, it's worth the streetcar ride.

Granite Brewery

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There aren't many options in North Toronto for good beer, but the Granite is not on this list to fill a geographic quota. They do British styles – like a Best Bitter and a Peculiar – better than anyone else in the city and also serve top-notch fish & chips and curries to match.

The Wren

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As Danforth East continues as one of the preferred neighbourhoods for young families, The Wren will continue to be their go-to for brunch, an inventive Tex-Mex menu, and most of a good selection of craft beer.


Sin and Redemption

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When a bar brings craft beer to a neighbourhood and offers a view like S&R has, they also give drinkers a view on a part of Toronto they might not normally see: all the better when enjoyed with a top-notch pint.

The Only Cafe

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The selection is so varied and comprehensive at The Only that tap handles seem to grow out of each other. The tree-screened back patio is a cool and shady spot for a cold brew on Toronto's inevitable sweltering, humid days.

Loose Moose Tap & Grill

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With a prime location and an established slot as the default pre-game bar, the largest draft beer selection downtown might seem like gilding the lily. Except that the beer program is serious, carefully selected, and well served. Like a couple other spots on this list, they also do taster portions to help you pick your pint or taste a range of styles.

Bryden's Pub

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There are more than a few places to grab a pint in Bloor West Village, but Bryden’s has one of the best selections. They tend to get limited releases from local breweries like Great Lakes and pick up their game even more during Ontario Craft Beer week in June.

Tallboys Craft Beer House

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The eponymous cans are favoured by home drinkers because they offer the ability to cover a few different bases. Likewise, Tallboys claims the title for the largest selection of Ontario craft in the city. Add their home run of a kimchi burger and Jays-related events and it becomes clear that Tallboys is the utility player of this lineup.

barVolo

The long list at this Yonge and Wellesley institution usually features a few well-made standbys, complemented by more than twenty niche one-offs and cask options. Their IPA challenge, Zwanze Day participation, and the off-site Cask Days festival are all world-class events. Add a well-situated (if small) patio with a great view of Yonge Street and you have a top-notch aficianados' bar.

Bar Hop

Evidence runs deep that Rob Pingitore and his team pay very careful attention to selecting the world's finest. Both special releases from Ontario breweries and international cult favourites, clearly, are chosen for quality and consistency rather novelty. A paddle of their small-size samples is one of the best ways in Toronto to expand your familiarity with different beer styles.

WVRST

There is nothing small or niche about WVRST, but that makes their attention to detail, consistency, and staff education all the more impressive. The no-nonsense food menu, built around an impressive list of sausages lets their varied list of Ontario and European gems shine in one of King West's most convivial spaces.

Indie Alehouse

With a bottle shop to sell their brews and special menu nights (BBQ on Wednesday) they have built a steady relationship with local customers. Some of Toronto's best examples of niche styles like sour ales and barrel-conditioned releases along with their excellent beer dinners draw devotees from across town.

Bellwoods Brewery

When you set up your beer operation so that all of the components – brewery, pub, and bottle shop – are under your control you never have a reason to compromise on quality. Such high standards are the anthem at Bellwoods and their awards, packed patio, and sold-out-in-hours special releases show that we're all part of the fan club.

C'est What

The subterranean digs, low ceilings, and fireplaces give this downtown establishment an exceptionally cozy atmosphere. The beer list leans to Ontario gems and is even more noteworthy during their seasonal festivals of small breweries.

Stout Irish Pub

With a name like that you'd expect them to sell more Guinness than anything else, but this Cabbagetown watering-hole devotes the majority of their beer menu to Ontario craft and pours one of the best pints of cask ale in the city.

The Rhino

Before craft beer and Parkdale were cool, The Rhino was there introducing one to the other. Especially when the weather finally allows the use of their spacious Queen West patio with a view, it's worth the streetcar ride.

Granite Brewery

There aren't many options in North Toronto for good beer, but the Granite is not on this list to fill a geographic quota. They do British styles – like a Best Bitter and a Peculiar – better than anyone else in the city and also serve top-notch fish & chips and curries to match.

The Wren

As Danforth East continues as one of the preferred neighbourhoods for young families, The Wren will continue to be their go-to for brunch, an inventive Tex-Mex menu, and most of a good selection of craft beer.


Sin and Redemption

When a bar brings craft beer to a neighbourhood and offers a view like S&R has, they also give drinkers a view on a part of Toronto they might not normally see: all the better when enjoyed with a top-notch pint.

The Only Cafe

The selection is so varied and comprehensive at The Only that tap handles seem to grow out of each other. The tree-screened back patio is a cool and shady spot for a cold brew on Toronto's inevitable sweltering, humid days.

Loose Moose Tap & Grill

With a prime location and an established slot as the default pre-game bar, the largest draft beer selection downtown might seem like gilding the lily. Except that the beer program is serious, carefully selected, and well served. Like a couple other spots on this list, they also do taster portions to help you pick your pint or taste a range of styles.

Bryden's Pub

There are more than a few places to grab a pint in Bloor West Village, but Bryden’s has one of the best selections. They tend to get limited releases from local breweries like Great Lakes and pick up their game even more during Ontario Craft Beer week in June.

Tallboys Craft Beer House

The eponymous cans are favoured by home drinkers because they offer the ability to cover a few different bases. Likewise, Tallboys claims the title for the largest selection of Ontario craft in the city. Add their home run of a kimchi burger and Jays-related events and it becomes clear that Tallboys is the utility player of this lineup.