Tag Archives: craft beer

LE BURGER WEEK: I’m soooo hot for Priestley, bro!!!

Back when Toronto had its very own Burger Week, from 2012 to 2014, it was pretty awesome. You had all these funky joints all over the city dishing out one-off burgers for charity, and then they all got together on the last day for a Burger Day where they were serving up sliders in an outdoor space — one year it was even AYCE!

But that died in 2015, along with the short-lived alt-weekly that sponsored it, just as Le Poutine Week/Le Burger Week was first picking up steam…in Montreal, anyways. While it has supposedly expanded to every province across Canada, Le Burger Week has never really caught on in Toronto. The last time I tried writing about it, there were so few places participating that I ended up eating at two different Hero Burgers. And not much has changed in the 5 years since.

But last week I got an email from DoorDash offering 6 bucks off 15-dollar orders at participating Le Burger Week restaurants. So I went into the app, only to find there were only five places within delivery distance — plus, one was vegan  and another one only does dessert (cheesecake is NOT a burger, bro!) But hey, six bucks off is six bucks off… so I guess I might as well try the other three burgers, eh?

rudy_hot_for_priestley (12)

We’re starting off with Rudy, this funky little joint on Duncan that’s got some of the best poutine in the city. This Le Burger Week Special is a tribute to the second-biggest Beverly Hills hottie (RIP Luke Perry!) — they’re calling it Hot For Priestley. You’ve got a griddled double cheeseburger topped with pickles and deep-fried jalapenos, plus I paid $2.49 to add bacon — you KNOW the first rule of Flavourtown is always add bacon, bro!!!

Now this burger will already set you back $13.95, so after adding the bacon I saved about 36%. And that would be even less if I ordered a poutine, a milkshake, or any other side dish. So instead I busted out a bag of Hickory Sticks, and reached into the fridge for some Low Hanging Fruit:

whitewater_low_hanging_fruit (8)

Since this sour beer is brewed with pomegranate and black currants, I was expecting it to be purple or lavender or something. But while it actually looks like a regular beer, you definitely get the tart pucker of pomegranate — I think I remember what pomegranate tastes like? — and there’s probably some black currant in there too; just don’t ask me the last time I had black currant. In any case, it was a highly crushable summer beer that helped cool off the spice of the jalapenos, bro!

 

This crème brûlée is an appetizer, NOT a dessert. Whoa…

Now, when it comes to French food, crème brûlée is one of the things I judge a restaurant on. I mean, if you can’t get that right, do you even know français, bro? But of course, it always comes at the end of the meal…until now. We’re hanging out at Peter Pan Bistro, this funky joint on Queen Street West, where they are serving up this truffle crème brûlée — as an appetizer. Fermez toutes les portes!!!!

truffle_creme_brulee (11)

While this is a (mostly) savoury dish, I swear the first thing you taste is that caramelized sugar on top. You do get some of the truffle aftertaste, though, along with a hit of pickled mushrooms — and it goes great on the toast that comes on the side. The crème-to-toast ratio is almost 2-to-1 though, so it looks like I’m gonna hafta lick the knife…

peter_pan_mussels&fries (5)

But like the title says, that was just an appetizer — now it’s time for the main course. These mussels are NOT from Brussels, but rather the Salt Spring Islands, in B.C. They’re served in a bouillabaisse broth with potatoes and chunks of corn on the cob. Oh, and a side of fries, with both ketchup and mayo. Nothing wrong with that at all — except that 5-6 of my mussels didn’t even open, bro. 😦

burdock_vermont_blonde (8)

Now, when a funky joint is serving up crème brûlée as a starter, I dunno how they can even do dessert, bro. It turns out their dessert menu is only two things, so I decided to have a couple beers instead — starting with this Burdock Vermont Blonde, which they actually had on tap. Easily crushable at 4.5% and not too hoppy, it sure beats having Molson Canadian on tap, bro!!!

bellwoods_jutsu_ipa (12)

And now we’re bringing on another NEIPA, with this Jutsu from Bellwoods. It’s definitely heavier and hazier, but still not too, too hoppy. I could probably crush another 10 of these… and still have room for dessert?

PATIO LIT EATS: Labour Day burgers & beers @ C’est What Beer Garden

Labour Day means the end of summer is coming soon, and we’ve probably got just another week or two of patio weather left. So we’re celebrating the long weekend at C’est What Beer Garden, this outdoor drinking space down a back alley from the C’est What brewpub. Last time we were at C’est What, we pretty much had the place to ourselves (this was right after indoor dining had just reopened after First Lockdown), and the beer garden was also pretty private on a Saturday evening. But you know what I say — Saturday night’s alright for drinking, Bro-ton John!!!!!

haberdasher_hefeweizen (2)

We’re getting this party started with a Haberdasher Hefeweizen from the renegades of funk at Muddy York. Now, I do enjoy a good German wheat beer, and this one’s got the flavour down in Flavourtown. Basically, this beer tastes like bananas — and bananas are good, bro!!!!!

c'est_what_ginger_wheat (6)

Speaking of renegades of wheat, this next one is another funky wheat beer coming direct from the C’est What brewery. C’est What Ginger Wheat is sorta like drinking an Arizona ice tea — if Arizona ice tea had 4.5% alcohol…

fairweather_high_grade_IPA (3)

This High Grade IPA is coming straight outta Hamilton with just enough hops that you know you’re getting the good stuff!

al's_cask_ale (1)

Up next, we’re got Al’s Cask Ale, a nitro-brewed pale ale that tastes a bit like an English bitter, or even a stout. Nothing wrong with that at all!

jam_up_the_mash (7)

As you can see, it’s getting pretty dark out, but we’ve still got time to kick out the j… erm, jam up the mash, muthafucka!!!! (Last call at the beer garden is 10 pm.)

c'est_what_lamburger (7)

Of course, we can’t slam all those beers on an empty stomach, so I ordered a Lamburger with a side of poutine. This playful, mysterious little dish is served on a naan flatbread with Emmental cheese, lettuce, cucumber and a side of tzatziki — I put that shit on everything, son!

c'est_what_poutine (2)

Poutine was a bit of a bummer, though. Sure, it had the GFC — gravy, fries and curds — but the fries were too thin and the gravy was too lumpy for this ever to set foot in the Poutine Hall of Fame.

c'est_what_tostidos (4)

Oh, and I still had room for some late-night tostidos. These Mexican-style spring rolls are stuffed with black beans and cheddar, and served with a spicy chipotle donkey sauce. ¡Cierra la puerta trasera!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND OPENING: Beertown is my kinda town, bro!!!

Now, I didn’t get out very much during Second Lockdown, but when I happened to be downtown, I saw they were building this new joint called Beertown, and I knew I had to go there right when it opened. OK, so we weren’t there on opening day, but we hit it up a couple weeks later…and lemme tell ya, their craft beer selection is off the hook, son!!!

couch_full_of_dads (6)

We’re starting off with a Couch Full of Dads, a hazy IPA from Town Brewery in Whitby, where there are couches and couches full of dads. This was not too hoppy and not too heavy, at 6.3%, but you know that’s only Chapter One in Beertown, son!!!!

tropical_apocalypse_farmhouse_ale (3)

This Tropical Apocalypse farmhouse ale is pretty fruity — I mean, it tastes like eating fresh pineapples, and I’m surprised I even remember what pineapple tastes like, cuz I only eat it when it’s on a pizza

bianca_mango_lassi_gose (5)

Don’t look now, but we just funked it up another notch with this Bianca Mango Lassi Gose from those slippery Scandinavians at Omnipollo. Now, I don’t really remember what mango tastes like, but this wasn’t quite as fruity as I thought it would be.

soleil_sorbet_kettle_sour (6)

And we’re keeping it sour with a Soleil Sorbet Kettle Sour from Storm Stayed Brewing Company in London, ON. You might have noticed by now that they have branded glasses AND branded coasters for every beer on tap — cuz that’s how they roll in Beertown, bro!!!!!

duchesse_de_bourgogne_ale (5)

So we’re heading across the pond with a Duchesse de Bourgogne, this Flanders red ale from a Belgian brewery that I can’t even spell or say out loud. It’s almost got the richness or a Belgian dubbel or tripel, but at just 6.2%, it won’t leave you dubbel’ed over…

zap_pink_lemonade_sour (4)

We should probably start slowing down at this point, so it’s time to switch to lemonade… Make that a ZAP! Pink Lemonade sour IPA from Nickel Brook, son! Look at THIS photograph, Chad Bro-ger!!!!!

lone_pine_west_coast_ipa (4)

We started off with an East Coast IPA, so now we’re ending this magical mystery tour of Beertown with a Lone Pine West Coast IPA from Sawdust City Brewing. Man, everything about this beer sounds so country, you’d be surprised to learn it’s brewed in the Muskokas!!!

beertown_public_house_nachos (4)

Of course, you KNOW we’re not drinking seven beers without eating anything, bro! These are the Public House Nachos, topped with beef brisket, diced tomatoes, peppers, cheddar, mozzarella, pickled jalapeños and handfuls of cilantro. Man, I dunno that I’ve ever seen so much cilantro on top of nachos, bro…

beertown_guac+chips (4)

Luckily, there’s only a little bit of cilantro with their guac + chips, along with some pico de gallo and a small container of salsa. I even double-dipped the chip, cuz these chips are all mine, George Bro-stanza!!!!

beertown_soft_baked_pretzel (2)

Now, it turns out that for $1.99 you can get two soft-baked pretzel sticks, which are warm, salty ‘n delicious, with a side of some spicy mustard. I think next time I would probably pay the $10.99 for a full-sized pretzel though, especially since it comes with cheese + beer dip, which covers at least three of the five food groups in Flavourtown!!!!!

Happy hour is here with The Tragically Hip’s new beer!

Now, Big Rock has gotta be one of my favourite craft breweries. Dude, this is body by Big Rock, bro! So when I heard they were putting out the official beer of the Tragically Hip, Lake Fever Lager, I was all over that like a 50 mission cap!!!

lake_fever_lager (7)

Now, I gotta say, this beer is pretty basic. I mean, it’s got a little more character than Molson Canadian… actually, it kinda reminds me of Labatt 50, which isn’t actually a lager, but has a similar mouthfeel. Let’s just say it’s not one of those beers that you buy one or two to pair with some fancy cheese plate — more like something you’d shotgun a 24 by a bonfire at the cottage (and there’s nothing wrong with that at all). Know what it does go good with, though? Buffalo wings, bro!!!

lake_fever_lager+buffalo_wings (14)

Turns out these Pinty’s frozen Buffalo wings were like 7 bucks off at Metro, which makes for the perfect at-home Happy Hour special in Flavourtown! They came with two packets of Buffalo sauce, which was more than plenty — as you can see, these bad boys were super-saucy! And the sauce was on point, too. It’s been hard for me to find a really great Buffalo wing in town since they turned my former favourite wing joint into a Wild Wing’s, but I feel like Pinty’s really nailed it. They even came with some blue cheese dressing on the side, son!

lake_fever_little_bones (2)

Baby, eat this chicken slow — it’s full of all them little bones, bro!!!!

PATIO LIT EATS: Clock Lobster @ Clockwork Terrace

Now, Toronto might not be known for lobster, but here on Triple B we’ve had some funky lobster dishes all over this city, from the Typhoon Crispy Lobster Mountain at Dine & Dim to the lobster linguine at Sofia to the entire lobster on a bun at Smoked & Cracked. And it turns out that Toronto Life is actually doing a PEI lobster roll contest right now. So when I heard that Clockwork Terrace, this fancy new patio at the Royal York Hotel, was serving up a lobster roll named after my second-favourite B-52’s song (you KNOW Love Shack is where it’s at, bro!!!!), we had to be there with matching towels — this is the Clock Lobster:

clock_lobster_roll (13)

Now, this sandwich is NOT as big as a whale — you’re only looking at half of it, but it’s definitely still on the smaller side (especially compared to Smoked & Cracked). Flavours are on point though; nice lobster salad topped with chives on a little brioche roll. And the fresh-cut fries were TheBomb.ca. I could probably eat, like, eight of these, though…

clockwork_terrace_whoopie_pie (4)

So it goes without saying, but I still had room for dessert. This Whoopie Pie is like a jacked-up Jos Louis, with red velvet cake, marshmallow cream cheese and white chocolate shavings, plus some chocolate sauce on the bottom to kick it up a notch. Nothing wrong with that at all!!!

pearson_express_ipa (4)

Now, if I’m eating East Coast food like a lobster roll, I’m probably gonna want an IPA with that, too. And they just so happen to have one named after the train across the street — Henderson’s Pearson Express IPA. It’s not hazy like a NEIPA… but on a hot, sunny afternoon, a couple of these will definitely do the trick.

PATIO LIT EATS: Duck… Duck… Booze!!!

Now, there’s a whole lotta funky joints in Yorkville, like Sassafraz, Bar Reyna and the Toronto outpost of STK. But when I heard about Middle8, this hidden, underground bar down a laneway — with a not-so-underground patio — serving up some killer craft beers and a variety of eats, you KNOW I had to check it out, bro! At this place, they don’t just do duck one way, they do it two ways, and stick it on a bun… Shut the quack door, son!!!

middle8_duck_club_roll (8)

This Duck Club Roll takes shredded duck confit, throws in some foie gras, and sticks it on a kaiser, with a side of house-made potato chips. It is a rather satisfying sandwich. But I’m definitely gonna need a beer to wash this down…

saulter_street_project_parallel (5)

Who needs to double down when you can tripel down, son? This Project Parallel 2021 from Saulter Street is a Belgian tripel aged in chardonnay wine barrels, and you definitely can taste the grapes! Also, at 7.5%, I think I’ve had Belgian dubbels that were stronger than this…but that’s maybe not such a bad thing when I’m still kinda hungry after that sandwich.

middle8_tomato_manchego_toast (6)

Instead of dessert though, I went for some tomato & manchego toast, which is sorta like Bruschetta Gone Wild in Flavourtown. Nice, crunchy bread with some tangy tomaters and a lil bit of cheese on top — there’s nothing wrong with that at all!

burdock_brewery_nula (4)

And to go with my appetizer for dessert, I ordered a Nula, a nice, dry-hopped sour pale ale from Burdock Brewery. This had the perfect balance of not too hoppy, not too sour, and tasted just right at the end of the night!

GRAND REOPENING: Baos ‘n beers @ Broadview Hotel

Here on Triple B, we’ve been to more than a few rooftop patios downtown, but there aren’t nearly as many in the East End — the only ones I know are Gusto 501 and the Broadview Hotel. Now, I’ve got some good memories of slamming some AYCE BBQ at the Broadview back in the good old days of 2019, so we figured it’s time to head back to their rooftop. Only this time, there’s no BBQ on the menu…but they are serving up not one, not two, not three but four different kinds of baos, bro!

nashville_hot_chicken_bao (7)

I really wanted to try one of every bao on the menu…but man, this Nashville hot chicken bao was about as Nashville as Lil Nas X. I mean, at this point, I kinda know that anything called “Nashville hot chicken” in Toronto ain’t gonna have the face-melting, extreme heat of Hattie B’s — but I was expecting at least a lil bit of spice here. And there was none. Chicken wasn’t bad on its own, but man, I’ve had mild Thai food that was (a lot) spicier than this!!!

pork_belly_bao (4)

Now we’re going with something more traditional in this braised pork belly bao. While it didn’t blow my mind, up in the air, up in the air, it is pretty much what you’d expect from a Chinese steamed-bun sandwich.

beef_brisket_bao (3)

While I was really looking forward to this beef brisket bao, it turned out to be more brisket pho than Texas BBQ. Still wasn’t bad though — the cashews were an interesting touch.

crispy_tofu_bao (4)

But now we’re gonna funk it up a notch with a crispy tofu bao, bro! I could say that this was one of the top five crispy tofu dishes I’ve ever had…but I don’t think I’ve even had five crispy tofu dishes ever.

rosee_d'hibiscus_beer (3)

When it comes to the beers, I was pleasantly surprised to hear they had Dieu du Ciel’s Rosée D’Hibiscus as their rotating seasonal tap. Probably the pinkest beer I’ve ever had, it packs a lot of fruity flavour with a slightly sour finish.

eastbound_jilly's_blonde (9)

And you KNOW I couldn’t hit the former home of Jilly’s Strip Club without slamming down a Jilly’s Blonde, bro! Hey, it beats licking the sweat off a stripper’s g-string, or so I’m told… 😛

GRAND REOPENING: Four fried chickens and a beer, bro!

Collective Arts is probably one of my favourite craft breweries in Ontario, so when I found out that they had just reopened their Toronto location, for patio and indoor dining, you KNOW we had to check it out! Along with the craft beer, this place is serving up backyard favourites like tacos, empanadas, and these Blues Brothers in Flavourtown, the fried chicken platter:

collective_arts_fried_chicken (15)

This platter is the perfect foursome in Flavourtown — four pieces of hot ‘n crispy chicken, four pieces of plain white bread and four pickles, along with a tangy jalapeno ranch sauce for dipping, which really kicked the white bread up a notch. Chicken itself is so hot, you gotta wait a while to eat it, but it’s well worth the wait, bro!!!

hazy_state_session_ipa (4)

Who needs a Coke with your fried chicken when you can have beer, bro? This Hazy State Session IPA has the citrusy kick you’re looking for, but at 4.1%, you can pound at least four of these…

kiwi_sorbet_sour (3)

But instead, we’re switching it up with a Kiwi Sorbet Sour. You definitely get the taste of kiwi in this beer, along with a nice, sour kick, son!!!

skipping_stones_mexican_lager (2)

This Skipping Stones Mexican Lager tastes slightly better than Corona. I think I ordered it mostly because it came in a 20 oz glass…

roads_travelled_light_lager (4)

Speaking of 20 ounce-glasses, this Roads Travelled Light Lager was a nice way to end the evening. Despite being highly sippable at 3.9%, it still has a good malty finish, so it’s not like you’re drinking Bud Light here or anything…

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND REOPENING: Irish lamb shank in Greektown!!!

Now, whenever we hit the Danforth, we’re usually looking for Greek food — like gyros, seafood, or maybe some Greek poutine. But there’s this other funky joint, right next to the Danforth Music Hall, that’s been serving up craft beer and local fare since 1987 — they’ve got 4 full chalkboards of beers at Allen’s, so you KNOW this is my kinda place, bro!!!

halo_lemon_shapeshifter (6)

We’re starting off with a Lemon Shapeshifter, this strong, citrusy sour from Halo Brewery. You definitely get the puckery taste of lemons here, along with a little sweet hint of vanilla. I’m not sure I would order more than one of these, though…

allen's_lamb_shank (12)

Now, even though we’re not eating Greek, I’m still in the mood for lamb. This Dublin Lamb Shank is braised in Guinness, and served with potatoes and gravy — dude, this is body by potatoes and gravy! It was not the most tender lamb I’ve ever tasted (that would be Estiatorio Volos, which actually is NOT on the Danforth), but I still ate every last bit of it, so, y’know, it was pretty tasty.

fairweather_drip_drip (8)

Of course, I can’t go to a place with 140 beers and only order just one. This Drip Drip sour ale from Fairweather in Hamilton is a lot more fruity, with a strong taste of black currant, and a nice little kick of lime at the end. I liked this beer better than the other one…

chocolate_guinness_cake (18)

But you KNOW we’ve still got room for dessert, and I’ve got three words for ya: Chocolate Guinness Cake, son! This thick ‘n heavy slice is topped with sour cream, and somehow includes Guinness in the recipe…cuz there’s no such thing as too much Guinness!!!!