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beer bars or good beer menus

it's been a while since i've done the rounds for beer, smokeless joes is gone and wvrst surprises me sometimes with what it has.... but what else?

beer bistro
bier markt
the slew of spots around ossington
the new place in kensington.... name escaping me.

who else has a good beer menu these days?

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  1. 'Ces't What' has better list then most pubs IMO.
    Sin & Redemption list also descent.

    1. Smokeless Joe has opened up on a new location on 488 College Street
      Though I have not tried Volo has apparently a selection that rivals Beer Bistro
      La Palette has decent food and an interesting Beer Selection (Mostly Dieu Du Ciel)

      1. The new Kensington bar is Thirsty & Miserable. Haven't been yet, will probably go this Saturday.

        I've been to Rhino once and I think it's a shithole. I had the single worst pint of Grand River Jubilation Ale ever there. It's usually an awesome beer but it was so muted. Rhino needs to clean it's beer lines regularly.

        Castro's in the Beaches. Granite at Mt Pleasant & Eglinton. Victory Cafe (Markham & Bloor). Rebel House (Rosedale). Town Crier (John St), same owners as Sin & Redemption and Village Idiot.

        1. Volo and Beerbistro are in a class of their own, where even beer aficionados can stretch their legs. After that I'd say places like C'est What, the re-opened Smokeless Joe, Rebel House, Victory Cafe, Granite Brewery, Monk's Table, Cloak & Dagger, and The Only are the next best options for beer lovers to try a few new pints. Then places like Magpie, Rhino, Local, Ceili Cottage, Betty's, etc. have a solid selection, but likely nothing a beer fan hasn't seen before.

          When it gets to patio weather -- which might be soon, by the look of things -- Bier Markt (on the Esplanade) and Against The Grain (on the waterfront, by Sugar Beach) are decent choices for a cold one. Likewise Betty's and Rebel House for their backyard patios.

          1. The Crooked Star on Ossington is wonderful. Great local brews and very knowledgeable staff.

            1. We send our patrons over to the town crier while they wait. they have 50 beers on tap, but more impressive some times is their bottle list. same owner as sin and redemption.

              1. as another poster said, Volo and Beer Bistro. the latter's bottle selection is the best in the city, while Volo has great bottles and unique taps.

                if you're in the east end, The Only Cafe's made huge draft strides in the past year. some one-offs there. Also, for taps, there is Morgan's on Danforth.

                Castro's just got some cask taps, so they may have some one-offs (but i have a feeling they'll be the usual cask suspects going around the GTA now).

                1. thanks all, totally blanked out on the classics like volo, etc. will never ever return to c'est what again.

                  thirsty and miserable seemed heavy on the belgians with a few others dotted in but not so many american brews. i like the feel there though.

                  @lister... i have a love hate relationship with rhino, i haven't had something from the taps in a very long time.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    i agree with your assessments of all the above. rhino is a smelly gross jock bar with 3 different beer menus that, at no given time, actually reflect what they have for inventory.

                    thirsty and miserable looks ok. they're doing what every toronto bar does. here's our lovely issue in Ontario: we can't bring in kegs from neighbouring provinces unless they're through an LCBO-approved wholesaler. so everyone has the same old stuff on tap and in bottles (for the most part).

                    Volo has its House Ales that does one offs, so you have variety there. but...they tend to be very IPA focused, since that's the Toronto trend.

                    1. re: atomeyes

                      i adore ipas though, so that works for me! it's the location of volo that is a bugger... not typically a direction i head in.

                      t&m had some beau's i didn't recognize on their bottle list, but that could just be me doing a crap job of keeping up on my beer availability. their taps were inconsequential. what i liked the best was the service. the owner knows her stuff and was patient when i was trying to pick something out for someone.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Bellwoods brewery, they'll be a game changer.

                        As atomeyes says, most bars are restricted by lcbo's draconian ways. There isn't much variance in the tap list amongst all the bars listed.

                        If you like ipas, go buy red racer if you can still find it. Also charlevoix lupulus is dropping soon. It is perhaps my fav canadian beer. So excited about that one.

                        1. re: aser

                          yeah, i have high hopes for Bellwoods. but their first few beer they're launching are safe. nothing i was hoping for (a proper Belgian strong ale or tripel, anyone?)

                          red racer: some (apparent) shenanigans with it. It supposedly was the best selling/fastest selling private order into the LCBO. it will be coming back with a vengeance, but its still questionable who the importer will be or if LCBO will order it on its own.

                          1. re: atomeyes

                            Volo often has a stash of it, but it too sells quickly. Volo also currently has the Dieu du Ciel Derniere Volonte, which is kind of IPA-ish. I had two last night!

                            1. re: ltdan

                              DDC Derniere Volonte is exceptional on tap! At Only Cafe last week it was amazing. It's like the mini-Lupulus when on tap.

                              Rhino Bar And Grill... arrgghh... place has its issues, yet it's kind of a pet hope for me this Parkdale fringe bar will make good on its massive potential. There are rumored differences of opinion among the owners keeping the place down & a bit stinky. Such a waste of success!

                              1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                Last time there I had a pretty skunky Delirium Tremens, lines were probably grimey as ****.

                                I've learned my lesson, stick w/ ordering bottles, then wait 20 mins while they hunt for it in their dungeon. At least it's cheap.

                                1. re: aser

                                  while they hunt down your bottle and then say "sorry, don't have it. do you have a 2nd, 3rd or 4th choice? odds are that we'll have one of them in stock."

                                  always be weary about a bar that has 3-4 different beer menus for no apparent reason. there's a draft list, a seasonal beer menu which kind of isn't seasonal, a large laminated beer menu that doesn't reflect their actual inventory, and then a fourth smaller menu that they sometimes give you, sometimes don't.

                            2. re: atomeyes

                              I've tasted some of their more esoteric experiments, trust me on this one, they'll bring the heat. They're planning on doing sours.

                              Lupulus is out btw, go buy it now.

                              1. re: aser

                                yeah, doing a lupulus run today. :)