Here in Canada we celebrate International Beer Day on the first Friday in August. But that’s so far away - it’s practically forever from now.
So since we share our spelling with the UK and a border with our U.S. friends who began the April tradition of National Beer Day on April 7th and New Beer’s Eve on the 6th, I say we start the commemorating now too.
Here are my picks for top 5 spots in the city to raise a glass:
(Note: items and prices are subject to change.)
124 Ossington Ave.
The Ossington spot is well known for it’s brews on tap (right now you can enjoy) Donkey Venom Brett Barrel-Aged Porter and 3 Minutes to Midnight Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout with Cherries. What you might not know is that they sometimes hold back a few cases of the "good stuff" that then goes on their reserve bottles list. These treasures are available for just a limited time.
Then there’s the beauty of being able to bring some home with you from their Bottle Shop.
That combined with a food menu that includes Panko Crusted Head Cheese Sandwich ($8) with sauerkraut, pickles, chili mayo, and mustard; Duck Meatballs ($12) with marinara sauce, San Marzano tomatoes, and Toscano cheese; and Salt Spring Island Mussels ($14) with chorizo, potatoes, fish broth, lemon, herbs, and toast - and you’ve got yourself one helluva winning combination.
609 King St W
Sausages and beer are a natural fit, but what makes WURST stand out from the crowd is that they take beer so seriously, all of their floor staff are Cicerone-certified.
And there’s the vast variety to choose from – over 600 bottled and canned beers and ciders, with 24 rotating taps – and a cellaring program.
And don't forget the sausages - they make 25 gluten-free options with vegetarian and vegan selections as well.
75 Victoria St.
The new gastrobrewery by Creemore offers bottled brews as well as Creemore Springs on Tap.
There are even a few beer cocktails to sip on: Hopfashioned ($12) made with Bulleit bourbon, and BATCH IPA syrup; and Michelada ($11) created with BATCH Witbier, Walter’s Caesar Mix, Worcestershire, fresh lime, and house hot sauce.
With that and a soft House Made Rye Pretzel ($4) beer mustard in hand, your night is made.
587 Yonge St
The family-owned Bar Volo has been around since 1985 and continues to slay with their craft beers, 26 rotating regional beers, wines and ciders on tap, in addition to six traditional cask-conditioned ales and a rare bottle beer selection.
To go with your libations, select from a wide array of bar snacks and table plates from Rabbit Terrine ($6) served with toast and preserves to a Muffaleta Sandwich ($10) with shishito peppers, fresh mozzarella & trap sauce.
2116 Queen St E
Set in The Beach neighbourhood for over ten years, Castro’s Lounge has an impressive lineup of beer from around the globe as well as four cask ale hand pumps.
Their lengthy bottled/can list includes lagers, pilsners, Belgian-style Ales, Trappist Ales, Saison/Biere de Garde, Pale Ales, Wheat beers, as well as fruit, vegetable and sour brews.
Food is made in house and is 100% vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free options. The menu features a Tamale ($9); the spicy Indian street food snack Jhal Muri ($12.50) made with roasted cashews, peanuts, chick peas, popped rice, pico de gallo, garam masala and fresh lime; and an Adobo Jackfruit ($12.50) Burrito or Quesadilla.