245 Queens Quay W.
Toronto, ON M5J 2K9
Amsterdam Brewing Co. has been brewing in Toronto since 1986, and has since expanded to three locations around the city, including a massive 14,000-square-foot brewhouse on the lake downtown, which draws massive crowds especially from the nearby Blue Jays games and other big events. From here you can watch airplanes land across the water and feast on enormous plates of pub grub and sample some tasty, well-thought-out beers. There’s a destination feel to the place, to be sure, but the beers aren’t too bad, either.
The beers aren’t too bad, and very easy drinking. Some of the things I liked:
- 3 Speed Lager: This “clean” beer is intended to be versatile and good with any kind of food. It’s an easy drink with a very mild flavor and a subtle aroma.
- Natural Blonde Lager: While still a lager, this one has a very slight but stronger flavor to it; the beer is brewed with 2-row malts and Hallertau hops. The end result is a clean and malty flavor.
- Raspberry Wheat Beer: Raspberry wheat is one of those wonderful summertime flavors. Toasted wheat malts and bravo hops, and finished with a raspberry flavoring. Another easy drink, with the raspberry a very subtle touch.
- Big Wheel Amber Ale: A mixture of four hops and malts give the flavor of this beer a little more depth. Sweet with a bit of malt on the front of it, and with a 5% ABV, still a pretty light beer as they come.
There’s also a decent menu of food on the menu here. Some of the things I liked:
- Pretzels: Big, soft pretzels are a natural pairing with beer. Salty but doughy, and served with a mustard and a sweet sauce. A good starter.
- Poutine: A Canadian classic, and yet so good here. The key is the cheese curds, which are melted over the fries and smothered with a wonderful gravy. Oh-so-good snack.
The expansive beer hall is huge and noisy, and any hour of the weekend it’s going to be packed with people, especially big groups of families, tourists, sports fans and other kinds of revelers. But if you want to be on the porch or somewhere else, there will still be plenty of space too, though it might be a wait now and then. Also worth noting, the food comes about at an average time, in spite of the size of the place and the sheer number of customers, which is in itself an impressive feat. Folks are nice too.
Big and colorful might make you think the place was a chain or painfully generic, but not the case here. This place is wonderful.
- The beers come in flights with four seasonal flavors, including some stalwarts year-round flavors. A lot of smooth and drinkable here.
- Don’t skip on the food. It’s worth it.
- The patio has lot of space for small groups when the weather is nice.