Monday, May 13, 2013

Taking (Beer) Flight at Amsterdam Brewery (a.k.a. Free Beer Friday)

I never thought of myself as a beer person until I happened across an old brewery in Czech Republic and discovered that beer doesn't have to taste like that stuff every guy's guy stocks up on before a long weekend trip to the cottage. Coincidentally, not too long after that the craft beer craze took hold of Toronto and refused to let go. Over the past few years, small local breweries have been experimenting with flavours and doing us all a huge favour by crafting delicious, interesting brews. With the local movement alive and well in Toronto, you can find many of these in small bars and restaurants across the city and I can now honestly say that yes, I do indeed enjoy beer. The right kind of beer, that is.

Amsterdam Brewery is one of the local guys. Every Saturday, they offer free tours and tastings at their new Leaside location. However, my Saturdays have been quite busy of late and I have not yet had a chance to take advantage of this opportunity. Lucky for me, they hosted a Free Flight Friday last week and I was thrilled to make it over for a tasting. Thinking they meant one flight, I was trying to decide what to get when they made the decision incredibly easy: everything! Instead of having to pick, we were treated to the entire tasting menu (three flights = nine delicious brews). There were a couple of other couples at the tasting bar with us, so it was nice and cozy. I'm not sure if it was the rain or the relatively remote location that kept the crowds away, but it certainly was not the beer! Both my friend and I agreed on our favourites: Amsterdam Blonde, Nut Brown, Raspberry Wheat, and the secret mix of Nut Brown and Raspberry Wheat (who knew you could mix beer!?).

To round off the night, we also learned about the new waterfront Brew Pub they are opening this summer (can't wait!) and picked up a couple of specialty brews to take home which were not available on tap for a tasting (but sounds sooooo good and, really, we liked everything else, so the chances of striking out were low to none). If you are thinking of hosting a party, their kegs and growlers are a great deal, so I would definitely recommend checking them out. And if you have a free Saturday afternoon, may I suggest a free tour and tasting? It's definitely on my list and I can't wait to go back!

WHAT: Amsterdam Brewery Free Flight Friday

WHERE: Amsterdam Brewery, 45 Esandar Dr.

WHEN: Friday, May 10 - 4-7 pm

COST: Free

INSIDER DETAILS: The place wasn't busy, so there was absolutely zero frustration associated with this experience. It was the ideal alternative pub night if you weren't hungry and looking to catch up with your beer buddy (i.e. no loud music but also no food on premises). There are a number of restaurants just down the street, so if you do get the munchies, that's easily fixed. The beer is great and the free Saturday tours and tastings are a great (and free!) treat. Definitely stop by for one of these if you can.

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