How to make the most of fall in a city that keeps getting more and more craft beer crazy.
Fall is a great time of year for beer fans. With the cooling temperatures, appetites change from just craving something wet and cold to hankering for something with a little warmth, spice, and personality. Luckily, there are all sorts of tasty beers and beer happenings to check out after a long day of raking leaves and not watching professional hockey. Here are a few that have caught our attention.
New Breweries In the Junction
Notorious for years for being a dry neighbourhood in a city that was at least starting to warm up to the idea of getting wet, the Junction has certainly come a long way. As the wave of craft brewery openings flows west, two new spots will be opening up soon in the Junction, just a few blocks from each other. Junction Craft Brewing has been making its Conductor’s Craft Ale at Wellington Brewery for the past few months, while holding down a small base by the train tracks just north of Dundas Street. But the brewery will be moving into a new, proper headquarters sometime in early November. According to brewery founder Tom Paterson, the new digs will include a retail store, tasting room, and facilities for other breweries to concoct their creations.
A few blocks away on Dundas Street, the Indie Alehouse is waiting on the final paperwork it needs from the City to open its doors to eager imbibers who have been tasting the brewpub’s creations at special events for the past year. Once it opens, it will have its own retail store, a menu of beer-friendly foods, and plenty of small batches of experimental brews—small enough they can be dumped down the sink if owner Jason Fisher thinks an experiment hasn’t worked. In the meantime, you can check out beer from the Indie Alehouse this Sunday, September 23 at a Brewer’s Backyard event at the Evergreen Brickworks, while the Conductor’s Craft Ale is on tap at the Roy Public House.
Pumpkin Beer for Halloween…or Anytime, Really
At one marvelous point in human history, someone decided that drinking beer while eating pumpkin pie was delicious, but just a bit too much work. Thus, the pumpkin ale was born. And while that snippet of history might not be true, strictly speaking, local brewers are getting on board with seasonal brews infused with the flavours of everyone’s favourite Thanksgiving dessert. Offerings at the LCBO include Black Creek Historic Brewery‘s Pumpkin Ale, Grand River Brewing‘s Highballer Pumpkin Ale and Mill St. Brewer‘s Nightmare on Mill Street (available as part of their fall sampler pack). If you’re in more of an American mood (or just looking for an excuse to keep the pumpkin beer going into November), consider Southern Tier Brewing Company of New York’s big, bold, and boozy Pumking.
Drink Local at Toronto Beer Week
The number of breweries that have cropped up in the city in recent years is truly wonderful, enough to warm the heart of even the most jaded old boozehound. While some people will wonder if yet another craft beer festival is really necessary, our advice is to just sit back and drink it in. Some things you might want to check out: a tasting of Creemore Springs’ 25th anniversary altbier (plus a vinyl record party) at the Monarch Tavern tonight; live opera with craft beer accompaniments at Habits Gastropub on Wednesday night (the event is called, of course, Hopera); and a Beau’s and Great Lakes Brewery tap takeover on Thursday night at Bar Hop. Toronto Beer Week is on through this weekend.
The LCBO Imported These Beers into Ontario, but You Can Import Them into Your Stomach
Toronto brewers have come a long way in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean they can’t learn a thing or two from, say, a brewery that has been making beer since almost 100 years before this country even existed. Two brews from Belgium’s Brouwerij Bosteels—Pauwel Kwak and Tripel Karmeliet— make their way here later this fall. If you’re in more of an Oktoberfest mood, pick up a bottle or two of Bavaria’s famed Brauerei Ayinger‘s Celebrator Doppelbock, or Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan’s Hefeweissbier. Consume outside, in a pair of lederhosen, with a bunch of loud American tourists nearby for the full Munich Oktoberfest experience. And speaking of America, the Shipyard Brewing Company is the LCBO’s featured brewery for the season, which means a bunch of the Maine brewery’s beers are also on the shelves.
Why Don’t You Brew it For Yourself?
Telling your guests, “Try this beer, I made it myself!” might still elicit fear and requests for “just a little bit… I’m not really that thirsty,” but more and more people are discovering they can brew beer at home that’s actually worth drinking. Whether you want to set up a speakeasy or you’re just looking to make some batches for yourself and friends, you can get a primer on home brewing at Black Oak Brewery’s Rubber Boot Camp in November. Led by a winner of several Canadian Amateur Brewers Association awards, the four-hour courses promise to show you how to whip up a batch of all-grain beer and then get it into bottles and kegs. And if you realize you’re not the budding brewmaster you thought you were, you can always taste the beer of someone who at least knows what they’re doing.