One of the best parts about the growth of craft beer in Toronto is the experience of craft beer. You know, visiting the brewery, seeing how it’s all made, downing some samples, chatting with the brewmasters (if you’re lucky!), taking a tour, and, perhaps most importantly, getting the super-Instagram-worthy shots.
It’s gotten to a point where it’s about more than the beer. Sure, the beer is the best part, but making the pilgrimage to the brewery and enjoying the beer in the tap room has become an important part of life for craft beer enthusiasts. Luckily, several of Toronto’s craft breweries have stepped up to the plate in terms of their tap room experience.
On that baseball note, we have our first of Toronto’s top tap rooms!
Left Field Brewery is our favourite little not-so-secret anymore secret brewery. This east end space only opened last year, and it’s already known as one of the best tap rooms in Toronto. The brewery is superbly baseball themed (without being over-the-top), including a scoreboard above the bar. They host awesome events like beer and cheese pairings, Saturday sessions with neighbouring Pilot Coffee, and pop-up food vendors.
Their mascot is a dog, aptly named Wrigley (!!!), he has his own Instagram account (@leftfieldwrigley, in case you’re wondering), and the brewery makes baseball shaped dog biscuits (called Wrigley’s Oats) out of spent grains.
But back to the brewery… Naturally, dogs are welcome, as is bringing your own food in. It’s an open, social, chatty, and super welcoming space, and we really can’t get enough of it! And, unsurprisingly, it’s one of our fave places to watch the Jays game (aside from SkyDome, of course!).
One of the top tourist attractions in the city, Steam Whistle Brewery, is the stuff of legends. Housed in part of the old roundhouse, the brewery’s exposed brick and beams make it effortlessly cool to begin with. Add in their fun, interesting, and engaging brewery tours, free samples, monthly rotation of kickass local art, milk jugs of beer, and tasty treats and you’ve got a great tap room on your hands.
Bonus points for their events, which range from Oktoberfest and St. Patrick’s Day to monthly summer Saturday Jays Days, the best pre-game in the city.
Tucked up in Leaside, Amsterdam Brewery‘s main brewery is a little off-the-beaten tap for most visitors, but their free tours and tastings on Saturday afternoons may be enough to lure you up there.
We also love the smaller tap room on the waterfront, located inside the massive (and super popular) Amsterdam BrewHouse. The restaurant and bar dominate the space here (as does their mammoth, impossible-to-get-a-seat-on patio), but there is a small retail space and tasting bar with its own separate entrance.
Both retail store locations stock all your regular Amsterdam faves, as well as some seasonals and exclusives, making it well worth the visit.
Great Lakes Brewery is rather far west, but it’s another one of those spots that’s well worth the trek. The tap room is super chill, with a solid rotating tap and fridge selection, the latter often featuring special brews you can’t find anywhere else. In summertime, a different food truck shows up every Friday, making it an ideal destination at which to end the week.
Pro tip #1: it’s not that far off the Martin Goodman and Humber Bay Park Trails, so it’s totally bike-able. At just over 12km away from Queens Quay and Bathurst, it’s a cheeky 25km round trip. Not too shabby for an afternoon of beer, eh?!
Pro tip #2: if you do bike, make sure you bring a pannier so you can lug home some beer!
One of the west end / Junction’s handful of neighbourhood breweries, we love how hidden away Henderson Brewing Co. is. It definitely feels like a neighbourhood spot: off-the-beaten path, modest, and welcoming. They host several community events (like beer runs), are on the West End Craft Beer Passport, and do brewery tours on select Tuesday nights at 7pm.
Finding a great chill place to grab a good beer without a lot of fuss can be a bit tricky in the neighbourhood where Mascot Brewery cropped up last year, which is why we consider it one of the top tap rooms in Toronto. It’s simple and no fuss, with a knockout rooftop patio that has quickly become another of the city’s terribly kept secrets (we might need to stop making things so damn Instagrammable…). Go for the beer, stay for the people-watching.
We would go on, but this list has got us majorly hankering for a tap room visit, sooooo peace out, friends! See ya at the bar!
Check out Ontario Craft Brewers’ website for the low-down.