Taking the Old Toronto Beer Tour with Oliver Dawson is as enjoyable and informative for lifelong residents of Toronto, as it’s miles for travelers journeying Ontario’s capital from overseas. In the course of a seven hour Saturday excursion of four downtown Toronto breweries and historic Old Fort York, Dawson imparts a captivating and rarely if ever advised tale of the history of Toronto set towards the backdrop of the development of Canadian breweries and beer. And for only $ ninety-nine (2012 price), which includes lunch, getting to know and all of the brew the frame can button, what a good buy.
Dawson is as interesting and unique a persona with whom one could ever desire to spend an afternoon, beer or no beer; unrivaled in his knowledge of the history of Toronto because it relates to brewing and breweries.
Dawson’s in-depth expertise of beer began almost 3 many years in the past at the same time as on a yearlong take a look at the application in Germany. After his return to Ontario, he started working at one of the country’s first craft beer operations, the Upper Canada Brewing Company, as a tour host and income consultant. He, in the end, parlayed his ingenuity and understanding via creating revolutionary events so as to supply the brewery with a higher profile.
After turning into Upper Canada’s Director of Marketing Development he again to Europe for a year, opening up new markets for the micro-brewery. Upon his go back, he inaugurated one of Canada’s first organized beer excursions, The Beer Lovers’ Tour of Europe.
The brew maestro hasn’t seemed lower back on account that, in 1998 leaving traditional employment and starting his own company, Beer Lovers’ Tour Company, offering each home and international beer tours and related sports.
For over a decade Dawson has been leading the Old Toronto Beer Tour, even as continuing to set up international tours. He additionally conducts corporate and personal beer tasting activities and is a sales and advertising consultant to the brewing and hospitality industries. For several years he taught the Beer Appreciation direction at George Brown College. Dawson regularly seems on TV and radio whilst a professional on Canadian beer and brewing is sought.
Twenty-six beer aficionados acquire on a sunny Saturday of an overdue summer season morning, outdoor Steam Whistle Brewery, anxiously waiting for the brewery’s 11 a.M. Establishing and Dawson’s arrival. The steam whistle blows at the hour, and the group is ushered to the upstairs level of the specific historical building nestled between Lake Ontario and the Rogers Centre. Dawson offers a short introductory consultation, explaining his history and how the day will unfold. Each of us sits attentively, listening at the same time as sipping on a bottle of the brewery’s European-fashion Pilsner.
Brewery excursion manual Gracie walks us thru the ability, explaining its history, the purchase of the building formerly owned by means of Canadian Pacific Railway, and of path supplying a detailed description of ways the beer is made, bottled and advertised. Steam Whistle’s unique position in the Canadian brewing trade is related, and it thoroughly impresses in phrases of purity and first-class of product, and in being an exemplary green enterprise.
Before leaving the brewery to board the old orange college bus for historic Fort York, Dawson offers an outstanding buffet luncheon spread of bloodless cuts, cheeses, marinated peppers and eggplant, bread and rolls. He encourages us to % an extra sandwich for later in the day, assuring that it will be welcomed in some unspecified time in the future throughout an afternoon of brew sampling.
Our go to Fort York is brief, but the historic connection to brewing is though crucial. Our stroll through part of the Canada Heritage Site with its expansive green lawns, cannons, and barracks, set towards Toronto’s waterfront, burgeoning condominium creation and CN Tower piercing the blue sky, is the first rate, even to the ones anxiously looking ahead to the following brewery. We start our lesson approximately the beginnings of brewing in Ontario dating to the 1700s, which includes the significance of Irish immigration for the enterprise. British military policy on the time decreed that six pints of beer be a part of squaddies’ salaries. John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, for this reason, encouraged nearby brewers to get cracking. And so the race to open breweries began.
Dawson mixes up the day nicely. Next forestall Amsterdam Brewery, with samples of several forms of beer consisting of fruit infused, wheat, traditional lagers, dark ales and extra. Amsterdam scratches the itch of the few impatient for the subsequent restore. A little extra records, as we study the politics of regulation, and the importance of Molson and Carling for the growth of the enterprise.
We journey from the casual and unceremonious collecting at Amsterdam, to a proper tasting at the Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. & Beer Academy. This micro-brewery within the heart of Toronto’s financial district is likewise a teaching center, retail store, and tasting bar. We’re right here to taste three brews released the day earlier than, below Nick’s tutelage. “We’re all approximately styles, no longer brands,” he advises. We pattern a Hefeweisen with half of wheat 1/2 caramel malt, revealing tones of citrus, banana and spice, a consultation beer you would be secure drinking over the course of some hours; then a Belgian Brown, an appropriate fall beer with notes of nutmeg, clove, plum and raisin; and subsequently a nighttime black Smoked Porter, meaty and bacon-y, campfire fashion. The initial taste of the Hefeweisen dramatically adjustments after consuming the Belgian or Porter. Nick asks: “What’s your favorite; could your answer be equal in case you had to drink it all nighttime?”
We subsequent visit Corktown, a place noteworthy for in its heyday having the highest attention of breweries and distilleries in Canada. The workout part of the day is nicely in a swing as we walk thru a number of old-fashioned streets and again alleys, in addition to the website online of the vintage Dominion Brewery. The records of Toronto comes alive; its connection to brewing is by way of now crystal clear. Dawson has executed his intention.
Old Toronto Beer Tour Concludes in Distillery District, then Optional Dinner
The very last prevent for most of us is the revitalized phase of Toronto’s Distillery District, a sequence cobblestone pedestrian walkways coated with nineteenth-century brownstone homes now housing excessive-cease shops, restaurants, and galleries, and yes, watering holes. It’s been extra than forty mins given that we’ve ultimate imbibed, so the Mill St. Brewery, located within the heart of the District, gets the call. The variety of product to which we’ve got till now uncovered maintains. It’s overdue Saturday afternoon, and so there are numerous different beer buffs milling about, sampling specific draughts. Periodically a barrel empties; we wait upwards of a minute to fill up our cups.
Most inside the group then disperse, to window save after which head home or to the motel earlier than dinner. However, the bus awaits a handful of those who have arranged to wait for dinner with Dawson. They will dine uptown on the Granite Brewery, to indulge in a 4-path meal with every dish infused with a different brew. Next time I take Oliver Dawson’s Old Toronto Beer Tour, it’ll clearly include dinner.