Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tasting what's brewing at Toronto's Indie Ale House

Indie Ale House opened earlier this fall in the formerly dry Junction neighbourhood, and the microbrewery/restaurant should become a destination for Toronto beer lovers.

I arrived at 6 p.m. on Saturday to meet seven other friends and, although the restaurant doesn't take reservations, we secured a table before more people started pouring through the door a short time later.

I split an order of three tasty samosas and then moved on to my main course, the Three Little Pigs Pizza ($15). The name comes from the thin crust pie's main toppings: house-smoked pork, wild boar sausage and Berkshire pork belly. It's one of the best pizzas I've had in a while and it should fill a hungry person pretty easily.

But the main reason I wanted to spend a night here was the beer. It had 10 on tap and I tried them all in two separate flights of five four-ounce glasses. Here's what's brewing at the moment:

Instigator India Pale Ale
This auburn-coloured IPA has a citrus aroma and a robust flavour that's decently hopped and carries a hint of grapefruit. This was the first one I tried and was probably my favourite, so I ordered a full pint afterward.
$6.50 for 20 ounces, 6.5% alcohol content

Great Lakes Karma Citra
This gold-coloured beer was from the guest tap, this time featuring one of Great Lakes Brewing's small-batch brews. This IPA also had a citrus bouquet and grapefruit elements from the citra hop it uses, but I wasn't as impressed with it.
$6.50 for 16.5 ounces, 6%

Barnyard Rye Pale Ale
This light amber-coloured ale definitely had a vague barnyard aroma and tasted a little grassy. It was okay, but I've never been a big fan of rye ales so perhaps I'm not the best person to judge.
$6.50 for 16.5 ounces, 6%

St. Crispin's Mild
This dark brown ale had little aroma and a malty biscuit flavour. It's made for session drinking, but I wasn't impressed and my sample was all that I wanted. It was also available from the cask, which I didn't try but perhaps should have.
$6.50 for 20 ounces, 3.5%

Broken Hipster Wit
This Belgian wit is straw gold and had little bouquet. It had a pleasant herbal flavour, but wasn't exceptional.
$6.50 for 16.5 ounces, 5%

Dark Wheat Rises
The first beer in my second flight was also my favourite of that batch, prompting me to order a full glass later in the evening. It had a lovely combination of being faintly hoppy and fruity, primarily blueberry.
$6.50 for 16.5 ounces, 7%

Breakfast Porter
This had a nice chocolate aspect from the dark roasted malt and was quite solid.
$6.50 for 16.5 ounces, 7.2%

Cock Puncher India Pale Ale
This dark orange ale had a decently hoppy aroma and was full-bodied and flavourful. It was certainly hoppy, but not overpowering. My cock didn't feel punched after drinking it, but my head might have if I'd kept ordering it. The high alcohol content didn't detract from its pleasantness to the palate.
$5.50 for 10 ounces, 11%

Spadina Monkey Belgian Sour
This pumpkin orange-coloured beer had a fruit bouquet and a lemon and grapefruit-based flavour that wasn't intensely sour.
$5.50 for 9 ounces, 5%

Jump The Shark
This American strong ale was brewed in collaboration with Amsterdam Brewery. It's black, tasty and worth jumping on.
$5.50 for 10 ounces, 9.5%

If you like anything well enough to take home with you, beers are also sold in 500-millilitre and 750-millilitre bottles and two-litre growlers. Kegs are available on special order. T-shirts, glasses and other souvenirs can also be purchased.

Indie Ale House is at 2876 Dundas St. W.

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