04 Jun

Craft Beer Passport 2015

In a couple of hours a very exciting event is going down at the Revival Bar: the Craft Beer Passport Launch Party! With a delicious beer list curated by the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies and including beer from six Ontario breweries (Underdogs, Junction, Kensington, Black Oak, Hogtown & GLB) it is sure to be an evening of great beer and good tunes. But even if you can’t make it out tonight, don’t despair because this party is just the beginning.

What is the Craft Beer Passport?

Last year the Craft Beer Passport brought hundreds of craft beer drinkers from around the city out into strange and exciting bars to try a variety of delicious new brews. This year, they return with another fantastic line-up including some returnees and several new establishments.

Simply put, the passport is a package deal that entitles you to extremely cheap ($2) 12 oz beers at 20 bars all around the city. The passport itself costs $20 making each drink only $3, a solid deal. And it gives you a great excuse to get out and see more of this fantastic city we live in (or near). I admit I am pretty bad at leaving my cozy, beer-friendly corner of the city to explore other areas so this passport is just what I need!

Below you will find a map of the 20 bars and restaurants participating in this year’s passport.

craft beer passport_map3

Map of the 20 bars participating in this year’s Craft Beer Passport

Brooklyn Tavern

Brooklyn Tavern 🍺

1097 Queen St. E

416-901-1177

@BklynTavernTO

3030 dundaswest

3030 🍺

3030 Dundas St. W

416-769-5736

@3030DundasWest

Duggans

Duggan’s Brewery 🍺

1346 Queen St. W

416-588-1086

@duggansbrewer

Handlebar

Handlebar 🍺

159 Augusta Ave.

647-748-7433

@Handlebar_TO

Rainhard Brewing

Rainhard Brewing Co.

108-100 Symes Rd.

416-526-7755

@RainhardBrewing

Tequila Bookworm

Tequila Bookworm 🍺

512 Queen St. W

416-504-2334

@tequilabookworm

wise bar

Wise Bar 🍺

1007 Bloor St. W

416-519-3139

@WiseBarToronto

Monarch Tavern

Monarch Tavern 🍺

12 Clinton St.

416-531-5833

@MonarchTavern

Castros Lounge

Castro’s Lounge 🍺

2116 Queen St. E

416-699-8272

@CastrosLounge

The Four Seven

The Four Seven 🍺

1211 Bloor St. W

647-348-4500

@the47TO

The Dock Ellis

The Dock Ellis 🍺

1280 Dundas St. W

416-792-8472

@TheDockEllis

Morgans

Morgan’s On The Danforth 🍺

1282 Danforth Ave.

416-461-3020

@MorgansOnTheDan

Sarahs Cafe Bar

Sarah’s Cafe 🍺

1426 Danforth Ave.

416-406-3121

@SarahsCafeBeer

Junction Craft Brewing

Junction Brewery 🍺

101-90 Cawrtha Ave.

416-766-1616

@JUNCTION_CRAFT

The Gaslight

The Gaslight

1426 Bloor St. W

647-402-9728

@TheGaslightTO

Snakes & Lattes

Snakes & Lagers*

488 College St.

647-342-9229

@SnakesandLattes

The Borough

The Borough 🍺

1352 Danforth Ave.

416-901-1429

@TheBoroughEY

The Craft Brasserie & Grill

The Craft Brasserie & Grille

107 Atlantic Ave.

416-535-2337

@TheCraftLiberty

Odd Thomas

Odd Thomas🍺

31 Mercer St.

416-979-0131

@OddThomasBar

The Grover

The Grover Pub 🍺

676 Kingston Rd.

416-691-9200

@TheGroverPub

07 Sep

Craft Beer Passport: Danforth

Canuck Pale Ale in a magnificent chalice at Sauce

Canuck Pale Ale in a magnificent chalice at Sauce

After several weekends of intending to head over to the Danforth to visit The Wren and neighbouring Sauce, we finally made plans with our Twitter buddy and fellow beer blogger, Eric of Doodle Brews, and headed out for some lunch and a nice afternoon drink, or five.

The food was great and the beer selection varied and delicious but the highlight of the day for me was the fantastic décor and atmosphere at Sauce. Inviting, warm, and funky it was full of visual appeal and eye candy from the bejewelled lampshades to the bright red and orange glassware, the space was full of rich colours and a mixture of textures.

The Wren had a cozy rusticness that I also quite liked and I do not mean to overshadow its charm but Sauce had a wholly unique character that very much appealed to me and I am sure I will find myself back there soon after completing the rest of my passport.

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31 Aug

Review of Bevy 0008 | SOBDL

SOBDL_RewardCard_7WhatBevy 0008
Where: Food & Liquor
When: Friday, August 29, 2014

On the last Friday of every month the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies hosts a Bevy. These women-only beer tasting events are located at a new venue each time and always feature exciting craft beer from Ontario breweries as well as delicious food from local food trucks. Bevies have become a regular part of my schedule and I always look forward to them as the month comes to a close.

This month, however, I had a plan to get fit. As my husband had taken a couple of extra days off for the long weekend, we decided to bike down to the ferry and spend a few hours biking around Ward Island before returning home. We both recently bought new bikes and were eager to get plenty of use out of them before it gets too cold. I was a little apprehensive about the length of the bike ride to and from the ferry – a nice but long trek down through High Park to a bike path along the Lakeshore that totalled about 10-km each way – as I have not done more than about an hour’s worth of biking at any one time so far this summer.

The bike ride down was rather easier than expected, my new bike being vastly superior to the extremely cheap one we bought a couple of years ago for me to learn on. The almost-too-large 29″ wheels mean I could coast for a good long while on flat terrain, an extremely helpful feature on the long ride home.  Unfortunately it timed out so we just missed the ferry we wanted over to Ward’s Island – the Centre Island ferry was packed full of families, strollers, and tourists – but we didn’t have too long of a wait and by the time we got to the island the grey sky had blossomed into a beautifully sunny day. After lunch at the surprisingly charming Island Cafe, we found a nice place to read for awhile before catching the ferry home. The return bike ride was rather more of a challenge but I did, eventually, make it home in time to get ready for my night out which was mercifully close by compared to some previous events. I was tired but determined to enjoy some good beer and company before it caught up with me.

Heading down with my usual Bevy buddy, my like-minded neighbour who introduced me to the group back in February, we arrived shortly after the event had started and the place was already surprisingly busy. A bit narrow and cramped, the venue at least had a cute back patio that allowed some ladies to get a breathe of fresh air and kept the place from growing too warm. We got our Rewards Cards stamped, snagged our free drink tickets, and entered the raffle for a homebrewing kit. The raffle is a recent addition to these events and a nice touch as I, among others I am sure, would dearly love to try my hand at brewing so, despite not winning, thanks to Toronto Brewing for donating the kit!

Once we had entered, we set about the very serious task of acquiring ourselves some beer.

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27 Aug

Craft Beer Passport: Junction Craft Brewing

Junction-Extra Special BitterAfter a lovely late lunch on a beautiful Friday afternoon my husband, my best friend, and I decided it was the perfect day to wander over to the Junction Craft Brewing bar/retail store. With my husband leading the way through the largely unmarked industrial back streets just north of Keele and Dundas, my friend and I were not entirely sure that he knew where we were going but he was insistent and so we followed. It seemed a strange place for a bar.

And it was. It was also quite charming in a rustic and thoroughly unpretentious way. It is clear from the moment you enter that all these people care about is making and selling excellent beer. The retail store/bar room is located right in the brewery with only a sandwich board outside to point the way and, while the space is small, it is full of history and the rich smells of malts and brewing beer.

A large map covers one wall, showing the businesses that used to live in the industrial complex right outside the door and an elaborate bridge made of Lego dominates one, large table. A chalkboard filled with information about their current beers takes up the rest of the long wall while the other side of the room is dedicated to actual brewing. Bags of hops, grains, and malts are stacked up in the corners and a bar with several taps and a fridge full of bottles and growlers of delicious beer awaits you when you enter. The choices are plentiful, varied, and tasty.

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12 Jul

Craft Beer Passport: Kensington Market

craft beer passport_5 Having so thoroughly enjoyed my first three stops on the Craft Beer Passport, I was really looking forward to crossing another couple of bars off of my list Tuesday night. We had made plans with my dad after buying him a passport of his own for Father’s Day and we were finally getting out to make good on our promise to visit some of the establishments together.

But on Tuesday morning I was worried: the weather network was promising rain all day and all evening with high risk of thunderstorms and powerful winds. As the rain poured down hard enough that I could barely see out the window, our plan of knocking off two bars with a stop for dinner in between seemed ill-suited to the day.

By late afternoon, however, the powers that be had decided to smile on our plan and the weather turned to our favour as the skies cleared for a lovely sunny couple of hours before dinner. Relieved, I set out to meet the others at our first stop: Thirsty & Miserable. The rain did make another short appearance as we strolled over to Margarita’s for dinner but it was a lovely summer evening and we didn’t mind it all that much. I, for one, was quite mollified by the unexpected treat of finding one of my favourite beers at our first stop.

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10 Jul

Craft Beer Passport: The Bar With No Name

craft beer passport_3rdWith the cast off and summer in Toronto heating up quickly, I have been picking up steam on my passport. Last Monday, taking advantage of the holiday to have an extra long weekend, we decided it was long past time to check out the nearby, geek-friendly Bar With No Name that we had walked past many times but never entered.  

Greeted with a unique atmosphere and friendly staff, we were happy to see the beer selection was not only quite good but also incredibly affordable: Mondays at the Bar With No Name means $10 pitchers of anything on tap! And with their selection, that is a pretty impressive deal. 

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21 Jun

Craft Beer Passport: Second Stop

second stop-3030Having gotten started on my beer tour of the city last week, I was determined to keep going cast or no. Luckily we live very close to 3030 so my (amazing) husband was able to drive me there and then drop the car back at home.

As only my second trip to this bourbon and craft beer bar in the Junction, I was impressed once again not only by the beer selection but also by the delicious small share plates, most of which are only $5. Among my favourites: Blue cheese mac n’cheese & popcorn chicken. (The doubles also look fantastic for the vegetarians/vegans out there!)

To read about the delicious beer I tried on this stop, keep reading!

Have you tried any interesting brews yet on your craft beer passport? Tell me all about them in the comments – I’d love to add some interesting new beers to my wishlist!  

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14 Jun

Craft Beer Passport: First Pint

craft beer passport - snakes and lagers

Despite working from home  – and being somewhat of a shut-in because of it – having a broken ankle right as the weather is finally getting nice in Toronto is making me very stir-crazy. And having a so-far unused Craft Beer Passport taunting me from my wallet is not helping matters one bit.

And so, with cane in hand, we headed out last Saturday evening for a cold pint or two and some board games at Toronto’s newest – and most fun – beer patio located behind board game bar Snakes & Lagers. Featuring custom picnic tables and a more limited game selection, the patio offers Torontonians the opportunity to drink some fantastic beer while playing a board game without worrying about losing pieces. 

As only my second trip to the bar I was unsure whether we would be able to get in – our group had suddenly grown to 9 people and I had heard tales of extensive lines waiting for space to open up. Luckily the patio was mostly empty when we arrived and we managed to pull a couple of tables together for a few great games of Jenga while we talked and enjoyed the summer evening. The service was quite good this time without the slow decline we experienced the first time we were there. All of our drinks were brought out pretty quickly and I don’t think my glass stayed empty for more than a few minutes before I had another beverage to enjoy!

For those not familiar with the passport, the concept is pretty straightforward: For $20 you can buy a passport online or at select bars. With the passport in hand, you go to each of the 20 bars listed inside and ask what they are serving for passport holders – this may differ from place to place but Snakes & Lagers was offering anything on the menu. When they bring you your beer, you give them $2 and they will stamp or sign your passport. Simple, cheap, delicious! You have until the end of November to hit up each bar and the fantastic price of $3/beer total makes this a great way to introduce people to the fabulous craft beer scene in Toronto.

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