Brews Brothers

Where other Canadian cities — notably Montreal — enjoy robust and vibrant brewpub scenes, we had to relax our definition (i.e. a bar that brews and serves its own beer on the premises) in order to come up with this scant and, unfortunately, exhaustive list of Toronto brewpubs. The recent closure of Duggan’s Brewery only serves as a painful reminder that Hogtown is a world-class city with the beer culture of a one-stoplight village. (That said, the Duggan’s signature No. 9 IPA will continue production out of Cool Brewery — a small consolation.) Here’s your cheers, and here’s hoping there are more to come.

C’est What
Located in the cozy cellar of a historic building in St. Lawrence Market, C’est What certainly has the Old Town Montreal brewpub vibe (extra points for the bilingual pun in the name), but its six titular brews are, in fact, brewed in Pickering and only fermented in-house — a small caveat, but a crucial one. Regardless, the “ethno-clectic” comfort-food menu, rustic décor, live music and impressive indie tap (35 in total, including their “house” brews) are well worth your bucks. 67 Front Street East, 416-867-9499.

Granite Brewery
Another oft-cited contender for best Toronto brewpub, the Granite Brewery almost qualifies hands-down, save for its classification of “tied house microbrewery.” That means that while the brewery and restaurant are connected, they’re technically autonomous from one another. Still, put that out of your head and enjoy the nine top-notch British-style ales, bitters and stouts Granite brews and the above-average bar food for what they are — you’ll barely be able to tell the difference. 245 Eglinton Avenue East, 416-322-0723.

Steam Whistle Roundhouse
More “brew” than “pub,” the Steam Whistle brewery nonetheless has a bar where you can sit and order fresh beer, though it’s more a precursor to a tour than an end in itself. That said, at $10, a tour at the Skydome-adjacent brewery is one of the cheapest under-the-radar ways to get pleasantly chill in Toronto, and an optimal way to pre-drink for a Jays, Raptors or Leafs game.

Mill Street Brew Pub
One would think Mill Street would fit the order of the day — “Brew Pub” is right in the name, after all — but despite the big tanks on display in the boisterous, high-ceilinged Distillery District resto-bar, much of the beer on tap is made in Scarborough. Nonetheless, an excellent place to pick up everything from Tankhouse Ale to Coffee Porter, though the pre-theatre crowd can turn it into a bit of a zoo. 55 Mill Street, Building 63, 416-681-0338.

The 3 Brewers
One of the more authentic brewpubs on our list, The 3 Brewers is — surprise, surprise — the first Toronto location in a chain. Though it started in France, the mammoth establishment (originally called Les 3 Brasseurs) operates five very popular locations in Montreal. Here in TO, its Yonge and Dundas location gives it a bit of a touristy feel, but its big glassed-off brewing vessels, wooden barrels and crates testify to its authenticity. 275 Yonge Street, (647) 347-6286.

Image courtesy of brianwestcott.

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