That got your attention, didn’t it? Since Groundhog Willie didn’t see his shadow this year, and we can expect an early spring (even if the weather today indicates otherwise), I figured it would be a good time to call out some of the best places in the city to get beer – especially when patio season rolls around.
Toronto (and the surrounding area) is actually great for microbrews – Steamwhistle, Flying Monkeys, Spearhead, Creemore, Amsterdam, Great Lakes…there’s a ton to choose from at local restaurants and the LCBO. If you haven’t, I recommend giving any of these a try. Not only are you getting a refreshing beverage, but you’re supporting local businesses that are truly creating great products.
Some local goodies: Steamwhistle, Flying Monkeys, and Spearhead
With that, I have my top 5 spots to get tasty and unique microbrews:
1) C’est What
Definitely love this bar. It’s in a great area (St. Lawrence Market), with lots to see and do. This place has a ton of great beers on tap and they create their own in-house brews to boot. They have ales (like the hilariously-coined “Big Butt Smoked Dark Ale”), wheat beers (“Mother Pucker’s Ginger Wheat”), and other unique concoctions like a Caraway beer and a Cask ale. A good place to go on rainy days (they don’t have a patio), or if you’re looking for pre/post-dinner drinks when you’re in that area.
2) Bar Volo
Table 7 at Bar Volo has a drawer. People can leave things/notes in it. It’s fun.
Bar Volo is hands down my go-to for a no-frills pint of beer. They have an ever-changing and amazing selection of beers you’ve likely never heard of, their servers really know their beer (i.e. they can give me beers that match my description of “something a little hoppy, but not too hoppy and that tastes good but isn’t fruity, and I don’t like Hoegaarden”) and they have awesome charcuterie and cheese platters to go along with your brews. Their patio is open during the spring and summer, and offers a nice little oasis in the heart of the city.
3) Bellwoods Brewery
I already sung its praises here, but it warrants repeating – great location, good beer and a fun front-facing patio!
4) Granite Brewery
Patio: check. In-house brew selection: check. Good location: check (for now). The Granite Brewery is one of my favourite places in midtown to grab a drink (along with the Rose and Crown, which has shockingly good pad thai!). The patio is awesome in the summer, and their beer selection has something for everyone. As a bonus, you’re getting beer you can’t get anywhere else so it really has that “Cheers” feel to it.
5) Millstreet Brewpub
Mill Street is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Goes down smooth, it’s kind of like the quintessential Toronto drink. The Mill Street Brewpub is located in the Distillery District – a fantastic place with exposed brick walls, quirky little stores, and some great restaurants. It’s a wonderful spot to spend a Saturday during the summer, topping it off with a drink on the Mill Street patio at dusk.