Saturday, as I’m sure the handful of beer nerds who might read this are already aware, Montreal brewer Dieu Du Ciel took over the taps at WVRST. It was set to be an epic evening replete with 16 great beers from arguably one of the country’s best brewers.
And I didn’t go.
I had every intention of going, I really did. Not only are DDC’s beers phenomenal, but I happen to big fan of WVRST’s selection of sausage too. And yet, I didn’t make it.
Instead, what began as a casual walk around the city killing time before a craft beer event turned into an impromptu craft beer event in and of itself. It started with a few Mill Street Lemon Tea’s on a patio with my wife, then we worked our way over to Bellwoods Brewery, where they were having the first of a handful of scheduled retail pop-ups where they’ll offer some of their amazing beer in bottles. Saturday they were selling select styles of their beer in 650ml bottles and growlers.
I picked up some of their Farmhouse IPA and my personal favourite Witchshark IPA and also managed to leave with a spiffy new Witchshark t-shirt. (Thanks, Mike!).
Despite my best intentions to save the bottles for a “special occasion,” it dawned on me that drinking great local beer in the sunshine is a special occasion and, with the help of a friend, managed to polish off both bottles in Trinity-Bellwoods park immediately after purchasing them.
As it was almost 7pm by then, we made our way over to WVRST only to find an absolutely massive line. If you attempted to get in to enjoy DDC beers and sausage on Saturday, you’re already aware that there were lengthy wait times around half an hour long. Waiting for the doors to open at about 6:50, there were probably already a hundred people waiting to get in.
(My wife flatteringly suggested that the line might be my fault thanks to the fact that I previewed the event for blogTO. I thanked her for the ego boost, but I was pretty sure Dieu du Ciel probably didn’t need my help to draw a crowd).
We opted to kill some more time in a vain attempt to let the line die down and headed to Bar Wellington for a few Mad Toms and some nachos (with much resistance–I was really holding out for WVRST sausage but I was getting, as the French say, superfuckinghungry).
Still, by the time we returned the line up was considerable. And I wasn’t having it. If there’s one thing you ought to know about me it’s that I’m ridiculously impatient, notably when there is waiting for beer involved. I recognize that this was a rare opportunity to sample an epic beer list, but on principle I refuse to stand in line for half an hour to drink beer when the city is literally full of great craft beer bars–which are typically not lined up and often within walking distance of most parts of the city.
So, as much I like DDC, I bailed. And I’m happy I did.
Because I used the occasion to try out the newly opened Bar Hop, just down the street at the corner of King West and Charlotte and I think I may have a new watering hole. The place is sleek without being pretentious, there’s a little sidewalk patio, the staff was all super friendly (even met two owners), the food and service–despite the place having only officially been open two days–was also very good, and, most importantly, the beer list was top notch.
If memory serves (see above re: Lemon Teas, Farmhouse IPA, Witchshark, Mad Tom, and a full day of drinking), the draught on hand at Bar Hop Saturday night didn’t differ much from what’s currently listed on Barhop’s website. I definitely recall tipping a few 10 Bitter Years…Maybe a bourbon porter? Regardless, it’s a notable selection, I think you’ll agree:
|Augusta Pale Ale
Beau’s Farm Table
Black Oak 10 Bitter Years
Durham Black Katt
Dieu du Ciel Derniere VolonteDieu du Ciel Hibiscus
Great Lakes Bourbon Aged Porter
|Flying Monkey Smashbomb IPA
Muskoka Mad Tom IPA
Muskoka Spring Oddity
Nickel Brook Saison
La Trappe Tripel
Unibroue Blanche de Chambly
Urthel Hop it
Wellington Russian Imperial Stout
Obviously I was there without a camera, so I can’t show you what the place looks like, but it’s definitely worth a visit. I’m sure, like most of us
alcoholics beer enthusiasts you plan on being out and about for Ontario Craft Beer Week this week, so why work a pop in at Bar Hop into your pub crawling and support some new guys on the craft beer bar scene? You’ll be glad you did.