30 Queen Elizabeth Blvd.
Etobicoke, ON M8Z 1L8
Not to be confused with a counterpart across the lakes, Great Lakes Brewery is a highly-acclaimed brewery that has settled into an industrial area in Toronto’s western suburbs. While it’s found off the highway, a bit removed from both the subway and bus lines, this place is a destination worth visiting. The hours aren’t great and there’s no food here, but that all makes one thing all the more clear: it’s about the beer. And it’s good, good beer.
The menu has a few great brews on it. Things I’ve tried:
- Pumpkin Ale: A seasonal, and of course, a very popular style in the fall. Just a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, clove and allspice. It’s just a tad spicy on the end but it’s not going to be one easy to forger.
- Couch Boat: A very new brew coming out of Great Lakes Brewery, this one is a medium-bodied pale ale with an assertive sour flavor. Still, though, very much a tasty brew.
- Karma Citra IPA: The overriding flavor on this one is going to be a citrus, slightly bitter IPA, and of course the style has a very hoppy note through and through.
- Grimace’s Tears: This is a “strawberry milkshake” beer and it’s kind of a combination of a cream ale and a shandy. There are forward sweet notes on this light-body beer, but still very drinkable.
- Simple Life: A saison, and therefore a lighter, summer-focused beer.
- Meanwhile, Down in Moxee: A hazy IPA, this one’s name is a homage to its prime ingredient, the El Dorado Hop, of Moxee, Washington. Bitter to the last, but with some almost mango-like notes to it. Special!
The brewery has very limited hours. In fact, even on weekends it tends to be open no later than 9 p.m. But that still makes it worth a visit. Think of this somewhat like an experimental tap room where new ideas are brewed up. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and if you’ve got a specific kind of beer style in mind or if you’re in the mood for something, they typically have good ideas for you.
While Toronto is brimming with good breweries and bars, this one is worth a special visit, specifically because the beer is so unique. Beer loves will be very happy here.
- Because of its location, this spot is in suburban Toronto but it’s kind of a trip if you take mass transit. Suggest you drive because there is free parking.
- The shop typically closes early, relatively speaking, and is best set up for the warm months.
- The beers are canned too and you can take a few of those away.