|My love affair with this city is never ending.|
The very word evokes dreams from my past. Growing up less than an hour away from the country's largest city always had me itching to take a road trip to explore all the amazing things that seemed to occur there, day and night. Of course, as I grew up, Toronto became the place of concerts, theatre and sporting events. My beloved Leafs, the 12 times we saw Evil Dead the Musical or when Guns and Roses rocked my world with the best concert I've ever been to; these are but a smattering of why I always turn to the Big Smoke for some of my fondest memories.
Fast forward to the 2016 and I will honestly admit that I went to Toronto more times in that year than in my entire life. In pursuit of Craft beer in this province, it is the Mecca for all things hops and barley. A day seems hardly enough to explore and try all that this city has to offer, but for Polkapolooza, that is all I have. Far too many of my favourites will have to be left for another day and that just means I get to come back sooner and say hello all over again.
When we awake on Friday, March 17th, it will be but a short ride and the adventure will begin. We will head to the east of the city to kick the tour off with Common Good Beer, one of the latest brewers to open and a favourite of some of our friends.
Heading next to one of our most beloved spaces, Muddy York Brewing. It kicked off our Toronto day on the first celebration and we wouldn't miss a chance to see Jeff and Susan again. Of course, Kathryn will be overjoyed to spend time at her most favourite of breweries and it will be hard to get her back in the car as we head onward into the city proper.
It is another new to us brewer that is stop #3. Radical Road Brewery moves us closer to the centre of the city and will be followed with a stop at the ever expanding and impressive Left Field Brewery. I'm not sure what will be in the bottle shop, but I will be bringing home one of everything.
Time to eat and we have decided to return to Amsterdam Brewhouse on the lake to rest up for the next part of our trip. We had a great time last year, the wings were excellent, and can't wait to watch a few planes land at the airport as we sip some Boneshaker!
The afternoon will feature a sprint across to the top of the city with a return to Bellwoods Brewery on Ossington a must.
Just around the corner is the location of the first Beer Saints meet up and Folly Brewpub has been long sought by me any time we come close.
The sky will begin to darken but our spirits will be bright as we stop in at Bandit Brewing, home of my favourite glassware. Seriously, that racoon logo rocks.
West Toronto is the gateway home and it wouldn't be Polkapolooza without a stop at Rainhard Brewing. The beer I get there sets new standards and I hope they have some of that Armed & Citra in the 355 ml cans left when we stop in.
Close by is one of the newest T.O. craft brewers, Shacklands, and I do love checking out new places and people. A fine way to exit the city and turn towards the Hammer.
Finally heading home, we will make a stop at Great Lakes Brewery. The GLB team has been a huge part of the last year for me and I want to grab a pint and reflect on the day we just had in a place that always feels like a home away from home.
Our day ends but my love affair with the city of Toronto and all the amazing brewers contained within only grows. The ones we missed will most certainly get a Polkaroo visit before long and my fridge will surely be overflowing with some of the best beers in the country after 6 days on the road.
One day remains and it is the grand finale when we can finally put our feet up, raise a pint with some friends and celebrate all the great things about Ontario Craft beer. That route comes tomorrow and we head southwest for the Polkapocalypse!
Raise your glass and your standards,
One Beer at a time.
|If you made it this far, here's Tiny Drake on mini Polkaroo's shoulder|