Showing posts with label craft beer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craft beer. Show all posts

CRAFT Beer Market (Toronto)

CRAFT Beer Market Toronto

Since Craft Beer Market’s opening event, I’ve been back twice – for lunch and dinner. The lunch visit was a much easier endeavor as the reservation was easy to come by and even walk-ins sat easily. Dinner reservations, on the other hand, are restricted to 40% of the restaurant and securing a walk-in table after 5pm is difficult.

Having had my fair share of tacos and ribs at the opening event, my meals focused on other offerings. The Brewmaster’s chicken sandwich ($17.50) takes a moist chicken breast and tops it with crispy bacon, melted aged cheddar, guacamole, and other fixings – a typical but tasty combination. The ciabatta bun was warm and chewy, with the fries it makes a filling meal.

Since the chicken wasn’t overdone with the sandwich, the Beau's beer can chicken ($19.50 for a quarter or $24.50 for a half) seemed like a safe choice. Again, it was tender and moist, but since the thicker breast was just on the cusp of being cooked, the texture can seem underdone. If you’re squeamish about chicken that’s not thoroughly done, ask the kitchen to cook it longer.

With a Cajun spice rub on the chicken, it was already sufficiently flavoured, but even better once the beer gravy was poured on top. Served with smashed potatoes, they were crispy but fried too long resulting in oily and dry spuds.  Thankfully, the simply roasted Brussel sprouts were done well, combined with the sizeable piece of chicken, I didn’t need the potatoes.

Of course, their significant drink menu is still what keeps people coming back to Craft Beer Market. I decided to try the world tour 6-pack sampler ($15), where all but one of the options impressed. Unfortunately, there was no introduction to what beers were being featured, verbally or written, so makes it difficult to ever re-order a specific brew. Regardless, the eats were good and the drink options endless, this is what makes Craft Beer Market a great option for lunch and after work drinks.

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1 Adelaide Street East

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Is That It? I Want More!

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CRAFT Beer Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Get ready, Craft Beer Market opens on December 6! #GrandOpening

It’s not often the most photographed item from a craft beer restaurant are the pipes. Yet, one look on Instagram’s geotagging of Craft Beer Market and you’ll see more than your fair share of these gleaming silver contraptions. There’s a Willy Wonka factory feel to the place, except instead of transporting melted chocolate these metal pipes move cold brew from the keg room to bars on both levels.

I can understand the need for the high tech setting: with over 150 beers on tap, who would want to be responsible for lugging the heavy brew to the bars? There wouldn’t even be enough real estate at the bars to hold all the kegs. This is what it takes to offer the largest selection of craft beers in Ontario.

Making my way through a few brews, Old Tomorrow’s Light’er Up lager ($6.75) helped quench my thirst and prepare my taste buds for more beer.

There was plenty of drinks to be had at Craft Beer Market’s opening event. Collective Arts Brewing brought in ten beautifully designed cans, perfect for those who want something beautiful to behold other than a frothy cap. Their Lunch Money brew also reminded me of the lovely summer months. Meanwhile, Barrie’s Flying Monkeys served up a delicious crisp Antigravity concoction that really helped cut the saucy food.

If you’re into something different, choose from their “anomalies” section, the tangy Bandit Wizard of Gose ($6.75) had a lovely sour taste that finishes savoury that paired oh so well with the freshly shucked oysters. While these mollusks aren’t served on their normal menu, they can be ordered for larger functions - make sure to ask for the tasty jalapeño mignonette.

In fact, it’s all these crisp light beers that pairs well with the Ocean Wise seafood dishes on their menu: the Baja fish tacos ($14.50 for three) are grilled to alleviate any fried-food guilt (to allow for another beer, of course) and packed with tons of cabbage slaw. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian Ahi poke ($16) incorporated tons of tuna, but could use more garlic and sesame soya vinaigrette.

I can tell already the BBQ beer can chicken sliders ($14.50) will be a popular pick for a small bite amongst the after work drinks crowd. While it’s a typical slider, the house made BBQ sauce isn’t too sweet and the meat isn’t too oversaturated so you can actually eat the sandwich cleanly. 

The gaucho chicken flatbread ($17) has a light heat from the jalapeños and chipotle aioli. Unlike some of the other beer market type restaurants that tend to over season their foods (possibly to encourage more drinking), Craft Beer Market’s dishes are less salty with flavours stemming from the spices and ingredients incorporated into the food.

Thankfully, there seemed to be an endless supply of the Maui ribs ($14); I had more than my fair share. Glazed in a black garlic miso BBQ sauce, it’s an interesting savoury flavour, the coating in between a sticky glaze and dry rub. Paired with a stout beer, the ribs would make for a great hearty meal.

Craft Beer Market will be opened soon – December 6, right in time for all the holiday parties. For beer lovers, this restaurant is one you don’t want to miss. You can also join their CRAFT Club, where aside from getting exclusive access to special events you can also rate and share beers with their likeminded community. After downing 100 different ones, they’ll emblazon your name on a keg on their Alumni Wall. As if you need another reason to drink.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1 Adelaide Street East

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CRAFT Beer Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Craft beer lovers, Northern Maverick Brewing Co. is Now Opened!

In Ontario’s carefully controlled liquor industry, it’s hard to imagine how one can actually be a maverick and fully become a free-spirited company. One way to inch free of the chains is to open a brewery, where there are still rules and taxes, but creations can be freely shared without the threat of being hidden in the back or requiring expensive listing fees, since the Beer Store is actually owned by three large global beer manufacturers (and not our government).

Hence, it’s no surprise that with the rise in popularity of craft beer, there has also been an increase in craft breweries. The newest entrant is Northern Maverick Brewing Co. a sprawling 11,000 sq. ft. establishment that includes a restaurant (complete with huge patio), beer store, beer school, and of course brewery.

Their menu focuses on Canadian sourced casual eats. With the gleaming red slicer, their house made charcuterie arrives paper thin, making you want just one more slice. Everything is cured perfectly so it’s not too dry nor overly salty. Although truth be told, the savoury spices didn’t go well with the Vienna lager as it brought out so much of the beer’s bitterness. Sticking with one of their wines may be a better choice.

You could really create a nibbling feast for your party by adding a cheeseboard as well. With seven different cheeses available (sourced across Quebec and Ontario), there everything from a gooey brie to a harder cheddar, these go much better with the bubbly beers.

In a heartbeat I’d return for another Jamaican oxtail patty ($6), the flaky pastry is filled with tender braised oxtail incorporating habanero heat to have you reaching for a cold drink after finishing it.

Five seasonal beers are offered on tap; during the opening there was a dry hopped sour, Vienna lager, American pale ale, Indian pale ale, and a hefeweizen. What Northern Maverick strives for is to create aromatic brews that focus on flavour and smell, but is still balanced and delicious.

Having sampled a few of the craft beers, my favourite was the Heart of Tartness ($8.50) that contains strong refreshing notes of citrus and fruit – after something heavy, it’s a great way to cleanse the palette. The Gosezilla ($8.50) is also interesting having a lighter tartness but ending with a savoury element thanks to the hint of coriander.

Northern Maverick makes a mean cocktail as well – taking a traditional concoction and giving it a twist. The Travellers Mojito starts with the typical rum, mint, and lime juice, but then adds rose water, cardamom, and honeydew to give it an exotic tropical spin. Meanwhile, the Dry Hopped Daiquiri contains plenty of Mount Gay Black Barrel rum, but is mellowed with orange blossom water and a slightly bitter hops syrup.

Reading the blog write-up posted by Northern Maverick’s founder Jason Kaptyn, you can feel the passion and the blood, sweat, and tears it took to get them to the opening. I can’t wait until their beer school opens and I can learn more about beer and food pairings – for those who are especially gung ho they’ll even teach you how to create something at home. In the end, Jason just wants to share his love of craft beers with everyone else. As he sums up, “In short, we will do our best to provide the learning experience that, once upon a time, captured our hearts and led to our brewery in the first place.”

Disclaimer: The above drinks and food were sampled on a complimentary basis at their grand opening event. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 115 Bathurst Street

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Society of Beer Drinking Ladies Bevy 009 Event

Location: The Jam Factory Co.
Address: 2 Matilda Street

Over the last year I’ve been trying to acquire the taste for beer. Indeed, a trip to London helped spur the desire where pubs are plentiful and ordering wine when everyone is enjoying a pint seems wrong. So, when I heard about the Society of Beer Drinking Ladies (“SOBDL”) and their craft beer events (held the last Friday of every month), I rounded up a group of like-minded girlfriends to try it.

Tickets are sold online for $20 and includes one drink and a “hangover” kit upon leaving (essentially a mishmash of food items but no painkillers). Additional beers can be purchased for $6 (cash only) on location.

Attending their Bevy 0009 event, I was intrigued by the diverse group of women who were in attendance. You can visit their site to see more pictures, but there were individuals from different age groups, dressed in whatever made them comfortable and generally just enjoying music, conversation and of course beer.

At each event, SOBDL offers a selection craft beers and at Bevy 0009 also had a special “Bevy Brew”. The Sawdust City Brewing Company made an exclusive brew for the event, a vanilla rooibos stout that was delicious. It smelled great and tasted even better – the vanilla and tea flavours shone through. It’s a heavier beer, so you likely wouldn’t want pints of it, but a small cup as a dessert drink would be amazing.

I also tried the Mill Street Brewery’s Frambozen, which is a great summery drink served ice cold and had a light raspberry flavour, without being overly sweet like Fruli. The Great Lakes Brewery’s pumpkin ale would be ideal for Thanksgiving with the pumpkin aroma coming through more than the taste. Only the Long Slice Brewery’s Hopsta La Vista was the miss for me given the excessive bitterness of it.

Overall, the event did open my eyes to the different flavours available with Canadian beers. If only the event was more professionally run, I would consider returning in the future. Unfortunately, the haphazard logistics made the Type A personality in me cringe – taps that refused to work leading to excessively long line-ups. Also, I didn’t like the fact that not all brews were offered at once – the second batches only start once the first ones are depleted.  Unfortunately, with the slow service this meant after two hours we still couldn’t try the other flavours and decided to leave.

But, I guess the SOBDL events do draw a certain personality, despite the diverse women in attendance. You’ll need to be patient, laid-back and flexible with only drinking what’s working. So, if you meet these criteria, you may consider attending a future Bevy and expanding your beer sipping taste buds.

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