Mill Street Brewery’s Beer Hall: So how’s the bierschnaps?

Bierschnaps

On Wednesday I had occasion to finally get out to Mill Street’s new Beer Hall location (yes, secret revealed, I wrote a story about The Beer Hall for blogTO without ever having set foot in it. Sue me).

It’s a pretty spectacular place and despite what a handful of reviewers and snarky commenters have to say about the decor, I think most people will be impressed with the place–if only for its size. Pictures don’t really convey how bloody massive the place is and, given that Mill Street is embracing a “soft open” approach, the size of the place seems all the more cavernous given the sparse attendance (but expect that to change once word gets out about this place and once the absolutely massive patio opens later this month). Continue reading “Mill Street Brewery’s Beer Hall: So how’s the bierschnaps?”

No reservations? No thanks. I’m not lining up for shit.

Line Up

There was a review this morning in Toronto Life for the new Parkdale “hotspot” Electric Mud which, surprisingly, rated the bourbon and barbecue joint a mere 1.5 stars. I say surprisingly because, since its inception, Electric Mud has received a series of just-short-of-rave reviews from most Toronto media outlets who pay attention to such things. For example, the Globe and Mail called the food “obscenely, shockingly good,” NOW noted simply that “Electric Mud Rocks,” and even blogTO offered some reluctant praise, admitting the fare was “pretty fucking good.” Everyone, with the exception of Toronto Life I guess, seems fairly enamoured with Electric Mud. And with a bourbon-heavy cocktail list, barbecue on the menu, a classic rock soundtrack, and Bellwoods beer on tap, Electric Mud seems to me to be just about everything I could ask for in a bar/eatery.

I should be itching to go there and see what all the fuss is about.

But I’m not.

The reason is simple: Electric Mud is yet another Toronto establishment that has seen fit to do away with what would seem to be one of the most basic elements of a dining establishment: Reservations. Continue reading “No reservations? No thanks. I’m not lining up for shit.”

Great Lakes Brewery’s Third Annual Beer Dinner at Harbord House


On Monday night, as part of Ontario Craft Beer Week, I attended a collaboration dinner with Harbord House and Great Lakes Brewery. And honestly, it’s taken me until now to write about it because I’m pretty sure I’m still full.

The evening was hosted by Harbord House owner John Oakes and Great Lakes Brewer David Bieman and consisted of four courses, each paired with a unique beer offering from Great Lakes.

In case the details thus far aren’t making it clear: This was a fucking great night.

Shockingly, after having lived in the city for five years, this was my first time at Harbord House and, thanks to the food they presented Monday and their clear appreciation of craft beer,  I’ll certainly be back. As you may guess if you follow me on any form of social media or read my writing at blogTO, this was not my first time drinking Great Lakes beer. And, while I knew to expect great things, I was also really impressed with their beers Monday.

As the seating was designed to be somewhat social, my friend Josh and I were sat with a couple which gave me a valuable chance to get a sort of layperson’s take on the food and beer. Like a lot of things I say, this probably sounds elitist and snotty, but I assure you, it’s quite the opposite. What I mean to say is that, when one only drinks in the company of other beer nerds too much, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the world of caramel backbones, IBUs, lacing, dry hopping techniques etc. and it’s easy to forget that hey, some people just like to drink fucking beer because they like the taste of fucking beer.

And so, in an effort to give you a fair snapshot of the evening, in case my lone blackberry image above doesn’t do it for you, I’ll include a run down of each course and the coinciding beer, as well as the thoughts offered by my table mates, whom I’ll refer to as “Josh,” “Lynne” and “Travis” because those are their actual names. Continue reading “Great Lakes Brewery’s Third Annual Beer Dinner at Harbord House”

Your Roadmap to Craft Beer in Toronto

There’s probably nothing more frustrating than being out in the city, suddenly struck with a powerful thirst and you find yourself surrounded by nothing but franchise bars pouring macro-lagers.

It’s these rage-inducing times–when servers offer up Blue when you ask for something local–that led me to create this, a Roadmap to Craft Beer in Toronto.

It’s just a custom Google map (so you may find it easier to navigate through Google as opposed to in this embedded map), but I endeavoured to include the finest bars offering up craft beer in the city, as well as local breweries, and Toronto-area LCBOs so that you’ll always be able to find the closest craft beer.

May you never be forced to drink a Stella again!

This should probably be an iphone app or something (if it isn’t already) but I don’t have the technical know-how or patience for that (I drink a lot). If you’re an app developer, please feel free to steal this idea so that I may a) use it and then b) sue you.

Got a great beer bar that I missed? Let me know about it in the comments section.

Why are you still drinking shitty beer?

Not so long ago, I started writing about beer on a regular basis.

Initially my involvement with beer was a pretty casual affair, allowing me to pair two things I’ve always loved; drinking and writing.

Though after a few months writing about beer, meeting with local brewers, attending beer events, and drinking great beer, it became clear I was becoming a little obsessed with beer.

These days I spend a considerable amount of my time reading about, talking about, writing about, and of course drinking, beer and it’s my hope this obsession will soon expand into the world of making beer–but more on that later.

So while I currently cover general beer happenings for the Toronto-centric blogTO, I thought it was high time I had my own place to collect my thoughts on all things beer and document the sure-to-be-messy process of learning how to make my own.

And so, given that I have this new forum, I thought I’d use my inaugural post to pose a question to the city’s beer drinkers: Why are you still drinking shitty beer?

Continue reading “Why are you still drinking shitty beer?”