As we near the end of our first day visiting the beautiful metropolis of Toronto, we knew that we could not leave without seeing the Toronto Distillery District. The district was highly recommended by all in Toronto, so of course we had to discover it for ourselves. After a full day of seeing many of the sites that Toronto has to offer, we decide that a good local beer would be a great way to finish off the day.
Welcome to the Distillery District?
We hop on a streetcar and follow our map to the Distillery District. As soon as we walk into the district we are sent back in time; this pedestrian-only village consists of a series of restored red brick, Victorian-era buildings of the Gooderham & Worts whiskey distillery. Strolling through the district, we admire the combination of the old brick buildings that have been transformed into art shops, museums, apartments, and restaurants; and the stone streets proudly display unique sculptures. The atmosphere is hip and modern, yet historic; and it blends beautifully.
Mill Street Brewery
Eventually we make it to our destination, Mill St. Brew Pub. We walk into the establishment and pull up a seat at the bar so that we can socialize more with the bartenders and learn about the brewery. Looking around The Mill St. Brew Pub, the atmosphere was contemporary and electric with shiny metals such as copper, yet maintained the historical touches like the brick walls. This pub is set up with a number of communal-type tables that encourage interaction between patrons.
Our bartender is Vince, he’s what you would call a beverage master who knows all about beer, and especially Toronto local beer. Liz and I were having a difficult time making a decision because the beer list was extensive. So Vince gives us a quick rundown of Mill St. and their brews, as well as a bit of additional history about the area.
He asks us a few questions and offers up samples of the beer until we found the perfect fit for our palate. After trying a few, Liz goes with the Original Organic. The Original Organic was Ontario’s first full organic brews. It is a very light brew that was perfect after a full day of walking round the city. I decided to go with a Tank House Ale. The Tank House was a very full tasting brew that upon the first sip, set me immediately into relaxation mode.
When we approach the bottom of our tasty beverages, Vince comes over and asks if we have we ever tried bierschnaps? He went on to explain that this new “german style” schnapps was only introduced a few days earlier (upon final permit from the city). This special schnaps is distilled from their brews in a german built copper pot; turning into a colorless spirit that goes perfectly with their beer. Vince explained that this style of grain spirit distilling is unique to the area, and is a throwback to the roots of the distillery district.
Liz decides to pass this one up but of course I had to try it, so Vince picks out a schnapps that goes along with my beer. This ice cold shot of goodness put the hitch my step for the rest of the day. It was very smooth, full of flavor, and felt a bit like moonshine going down! A special thanks to Vince for being so knowledgable to this world traveling couple; you made our experience complete.
Once we wrapped up our amazing experience at Mill St. Brew Pub we wandered back through the Distillery District, thoroughly enjoying it’s unique character. Liz and I look at each other and smile, we both are thinking the same; if we lived in Toronto this would be the area. We cross the street and notice a pick up game of football (soccer) in the park. The park couldn’t have had a better backdrop; looking through the trees you could see the CN Tower. Again, history and nature meets the modern city; our visit to the Distillery District was complete. Cheers!!!