TORONTO- I stopped by Bellwoods Brewery yesterday. This is just one of many trendy spots lining the streets of the Trinity-Bellwoods neighbourhood in Toronto. Started by two former brewers for fellow TO craft beer company, Amsterdam, owners Luke Pestl and Michael Clark seem to have struck a successful balance between refined flavour and an unassuming ambience. Bellwoods Brewery, which is only four years old, is so popular that upon opening they became known for the sheer number of people clamouring to get their hands on a limited supply of their beer. Fear not, they have been expanding, they opened a second location in 2012, allowing for ramped up production.
I got to try their Jelly King Dry Hopped Sour. It really tastes like sour patch kids (or any number of your favourite sour candies). I’ll cite straight from the source on the technical deets: “This mixed fermentation ale is soured with a 5-strain house blend of lactobacillus, and heavily dry-hopped with citra.” Lactobacillus is used to make yogurt, cheese sauerkraut, and other fermented goodies. In this beer, the result is juicy and fruity, with minimal bitterness making it refreshing and highly drinkable. Jelly King still even manages to pull off ‘dry’, meaning minimal sugar hangover and no heaviness– talk about balanced!
At their Ossington location, you can pair your local beer with some locally sourced, seasonally appropriate bites that are sure to round out your experience. They dish up unique takes on everything from falafel to ceviche to banh mi. This is likely a reference to Toronto’s thriving and renowned smorgasbord of delicious dining options from around the world. If you’re picky, don’t worry, they always have the grilled cheese!
What makes this small business even better for me is feedback I have heard from their employees. Friends from both back-of-house and front have expressed that it is a great environment to work in. Bellwoods, by their accounts, manages to shake the kind of frantic stress that often leads to angry chefs and authoritarian management in the F+B industry. I saw this for myself when I stopped by. Although they were quite busy, the pace was friendly, relaxed even. The staff got along and seemed to be enjoying themselves to the extent that I made a mental –and now a written– note of it.
If you’re Torontonian, I wouldn’t be surprised if you already know Bellwoods Brewery. Whether you’re visiting Toronto like me, or just missed the memo on Bellwoods Brewery, check it out.