The Reveal – Goose Island Toronto Brewhouse

goose island brewhouse toronto stephanie dickison.JPG

The Gist

What happens when you take Chicago’s renowned craft beer and brewery Goose Island and join it with Bier Markt that has been around since 1999? Canada’s first Goose Island Brewhouse on The Esplanade.

Great beer, fab food and good times are practically guaranteed.


John Hall opened the first Goose Island brewpub on Clybourn Street in Chicago in 1988. Not only is it still in business, it’s still cranking out over 50 varieties of beer a year.

Lucky for us, we can now enjoy Goose Island brews right here in the 6ix. Bonus: two-thirds of the original beer recipe is brewed right on site.

The state-of-the-art BrauKon brewing system was designed and built by Goose Island’s brewing team, and includes seven stainless steel fermentation tanks, enabling them to brew up to seven varieties simultaneously.

In addition to four to five classic brews, there are 12 draught taps with room for Toronto original variants, and one guest tap for local breweries. Rare brews straight outta Chicago will be on hand for special occasions.

Assistant Brewer Marc Mammoliti says, “Expect something new, fresh and exciting to drink every week.”

A great way to discover new flavours? Get a flight (4/$12) – choose any four in-house original Goose Island classics and guest taps, 7 oz. each.


Goose Island brew is used throughout the seasonal menu, alongside fresh and local ingredients. Everything is made from scratch – even the buns and bread – and designed to pair well with every beer on the menu. In fact, you’ll find suggested pairings alongside each dish.

From small plates to “handhelds” (sandwiches, burgers, sausages), mains, sides and one iconic dessert, there’s a ton to choose from. Grab an all-day breakfast with the Brewhouse Benny ($16). Go healthy with a T-Dot Tuna Burger ($18) and BMT Salad ($15), or enjoy ballpark type fare including a Chicago Sausage Dog ($15).

Fixtures and Fittings

The heritage building dates back to 1882, but the interior is decidedly modern from floor to ceiling.

Spanning across over 18,000 square feet, the impressive space boasts a mix of rustic and industrial touches.

Cool fact: The main bar area was made to look just like the main bar in Goose Island’s Fulton Street Tap Room in Chicago, complete with black and white subway tiles and wooden bar top. The barrel stave wall was also inspired by the Chicago room, featuring barrels used to age Goose Island brews.

But it’s the shiny stainless steel brewing equipment right on site that makes it is remarkable – the on-site brewery surrounds the dining room and allows you to not only see the process, but interact with staff, ask questions.

That, and all that outdoor seating out front and in the Biergarten, will keep the summer feels going through early autumn.

Off the Menu

Beer Flight (4/$12) – choose any four in-house original Goose Island Classics and guest taps, 7 oz. each. The first thing to know about beer here: you don’t have to know anything about it to get the full experience. The gentleman at the taps asked me a lot of questions about what beers I like, even cocktails I tend towards, so he could curate an exciting lineup that would suit my palate. Here’s what he chose:

Allora – Raspberry Table Beer (ABV: 3.7% | IBU: 8)
The light Belgian-inspired ale boasts rich raspberry flavour without being sweet.

Kaiser Geyser  Dry-Hopped Kellerbier  (ABV: 4.6% | IBU: 15)
From light citrus and fruit notes (melon, dragonfruit) to a creamy malt base, this beer is in keeping with Goose Island’s philosophy: creating beers that are “complex, but approachable,” says Mammoliti.

Mantis  Double India Pale Ale (ABV: 8.0% | IBU: 65)
If you love hoppy beer, this is the one for you.

Midnight Oil  Coffee Porter (ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 37)
Java lovers will be excited by the bean forward flavour (real coffee is used in each batch – 400 litres in every 1500-litres of beer, in fact). There are also deep, dark chocolate notes, blackberry, dark cherry and hazelnut. Like black forest cake without the sweetness. Oomph.

Bern “The Brewer’s” Sharing Board ($28) 
You’ve seen one board, you’ve seen ’em all, right? Wrong. At first glance, the usual suspects appear: aged 18-month prosciutto di parma, paci c rock cheese, pickle jar, and house-made mustard. But bier-cured pastrami salmon (yes that’s right – pastrami salmon), crispy Brussels sprout leaves, and Bavarian pretzels make it next-level.

Low & Slow Reuben Sandwich ($16) served with frites or house salad
First, there’s the thick cut brisket. Cured in-house for six days then smoked for six hours, the rich unctuousness is deeply compelling. Served with just the right ratio of sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and house-made mustard, and stuffed in between soft light rye, you’ll be hooked from the first bite.

Chicago Sausage Dog ($15) served with frites or house salad
You simply can’t take in a game in Chicago without a sausage or hot dog in hand. You’ll want to do the same here, thanks to the juicy, beer-infused sausage, with classic toppings of house mustard, vine-ripened tomatoes, diced onion and hot peppers. Game on.

Farmhouse Chicken Salad ($17) 
Keep it healthy with this robust salad of romaine, baby kale and spinach, heirloom grape tomato, soft boiled egg, Stilton blue cheese, candied pecans, citrus vinaigrette and Green Goddess yogurt dressed house smoked chicken. Thanks to the sizeable portion and plenty of protein, you’ll be satisfied for hours.

All Day Brewhouse Benny ($16) 
Breakfast is good anytime of day, especially this one with grilled bread topped with fior di latte, aged 18-month prosciutto di parma, roasted heirloom grape tomatoes, finished with two poached eggs, and lightly dressed greens on the side. You’ll want the Allora brew with this one.


The brewhouse accommodates 82 guests, with room for 56 on the front patio, and 42 in the Biergarten.

Head Honchos/Brewers: Head Brewer Bernard Priest and Assistant Brewer Marc Mammoliti

At the Stove: Executive Chef Kevin Maniaci and Chef de Cuisine Shawn Jackson

Map it: 70 The Esplanade (at the base of Chuch St.)

Visiting Hours:

Sunday to Wednesday – 11 am to 1 am
Thursday to Saturday – 11 am to 2 am

Sunday – 12 to 7 pm
Monday to Thursday – 12 to 10 pm
Friday and Saturday – 12 to 11 pm

Phone it in: 416-862-7575

How Cool is This?! Grab four varieties of Goose Island 64 oz growlers ($15 + deposit ea.), clothing and merch in the onsite retail store. And yes, that’s a real Banksy piece in the Biergarten.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos.