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Best Toronto Beer Tour for Local Craft Beer and History

This Toronto beer tour is one of the best guided tours we’ve taken in the city. It’s a really fun afternoon, whether you’re visiting Toronto from afar or you’re local to the city like we are. Think of it as a historic walking tour of Toronto, but with beer.

This Toronto beer tour strongly focuses on this region’s craft beers with a sprinkling of local history as we travel past the city’s landmarks. If you love walking tours, craft brews, and learning along the way, you’ll love this one. Let’s explore Toronto and beer together. Cheers!

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Toronto Beer Tour

What to Expect on this Toronto Beer Tour

You’ll learn more about the history of Toronto (and more broadly, Canada) and how these interesting facts intersect with the world of beer. On this Toronto beer tour, you’ll visit two Toronto pubs or bars, sampling beer (and possibly a snack) at each of them. This is a small group tour with 12 people or less for a more intimate experience.

You will also roam the streets of Old Toronto, experiencing some important sites between beer stops. A trip to the Distillery District and St. Lawrence Market are absolute musts for anyone visiting the city, whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth time.

When you take this Toronto beer tour, your ticket does not include the beer itself. You are paying for the guided tour itself. At each stop, you can choose your pint of choice (and the size of glass) and type of beer. It was great to have that amount of flexibility as each person could try a beer that was more suited to their liking.

The tour ends at Mill Street Brewery where you’ll taste even more beer samples (no extra cost). Are you already intrigued and ready to experience this afternoon excursion? Book your Toronto beer tour here.

Toronto Craft Beer Tour: Our Experiences

Toronto flatiron building

We met our tour guide, Mike, at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Justin and I were joined by a German family of four who were traveling around North America for the summer holidays. We walked past Toronto’s Flatiron building. Yes, Toronto has one, too, though it’s a little smaller than its famous New York City counterpart.

Toronto Beer Tour: Pub #1

C'est What pub

C’est What is an underground brewpub and restaurant with quite the selection of beer. There is a huge menu of beer from all over the world and right from our backyard. C’est What brews their own beer, too. I couldn’t resist trying C’est What’s “Homegrown Hemp Ale” (A light ale that’s just a little nutty) and Justin tried the “Rhyme & Reason” (Extra pale ale with a crisp finish).

C'est What pub
C'est What pub
C'est What pub
C'est What pub

Both beers were quite refreshing on a summer day. Our small group selected various pints to try with the assistance of our guide. We ordered at the bar and gathered at a table to relax, drink our beer, and listen to some interesting stories and facts about beer.

History of Beer in Ontario

C'est What pub

Mike taught us all about the history of prohibition in Ontario and the current laws regarding how alcohol is sold in the province. We also learned some interesting facts about the beer itself. I had no idea what IBU stood for before this tour (it stands for International Bitterness Unit).

It measures the amount of hops in a particular beer, or the bitterness of the beer. It was great to learn these little details that will surely help me to choose which drink to try in the future.

We made a quick stop at an LCBO which Justin and I found to be quite funny as we’re from the area and we know what an LCBO looks like. For those who don’t know, LCBO stands for Liquor Control Board of Ontario and that’s where mostly all of the alcohol is sold in our province.

No, you can’t walk into the local grocery store or convenience store and buy hard alcohol like you can in many other places around the world. It is rather strict here! Even though it was a familiar sight to us, it was all new to our tour-mates from Germany.

Toronto Beer Tour: St. Lawrence Market

St Lawrence Market - Toronto beer tour

Our second stop was St. Lawrence Market, a huge indoor farmer’s market and marketplace in the middle of downtown Toronto. It is one of the world’s greatest markets with over 10,000 square feet of space. Although the market is huge and you could spend half the day there, we had the opportunity to make a couple of stops.

St Lawrence Market - Toronto beer tour
St Lawrence Market - Toronto beer tour

We stopped by the Kozlik’s mustard booth and tried several delicious samples of beer on little pretzel sticks. Canada is the largest exporter of mustard in the world, accounting for 80% of the world’s supply. I feel like mustard and pretzels goes pretty well with beer, and it was great to enjoy a snack after our first pint.

St Lawrence Market - Kozliks Mustard
St Lawrence Market - Kozliks Mustard

Next, we stopped at a wine stand to try some local Niagara wines. I tried a sample of Riesling and some white ice wine. Yum! Ontario is home to many great grape growers for wine, esincluding ice wine that is created by harvesting frozen grapes in the winter.

St. Lawrence Market - Toronto beer tour
St. Lawrence Market - Toronto beer tour

One of the wineries is owned by the “Great One”, Wayne Gretzky. Our German friends didn’t know who Wayne Gretzky was! It totally reminded me that a household name in one place isn’t necessarily that in another. For those of you who don’t know who Wayne Gretzky is, he’s a Canadian hockey legend. And I’m certain that all Canadians know about him!

Toronto Beer Tour: Pub #2

Betty's - Toronto craft beer tour

After a quick jaunt around St. Lawrence Market, we continued our pub crawl towards our second location, Betty’s. Sadly, Betty’s is no longer open, so it will be replaced with another pub for your tour.

Toronto beer tour
Toronto beer tour
Toronto beer tour

At Betty’s, Justin and I decided to split a beer flight where we got to try four different beers. We asked our guide to choose for us and he chose four local craft beers: Hops and Robbers, Boneshaker, Radler, and Side Launch. The Side Launch beer was by far and away my favorite of the lot all day! It was a lighter beer with a hint of banana. So delicious.

Toronto Beer Tour: Distillery District

Distillery District

Our third and final destination for the day was the historic Distillery District. You might remember it from my past blog post about the Toronto Christmas Market. The Distillery District is a pedestrian-only city block that was once home to the Gooderham & Worts Distillery. It has the largest and most preserved collection of Victorian Industrial Architecture in North America.

Distillery District
Distillery District Heart
Distillery District love locks

There are some adorable art installations, including a giant heart and the word “Love” spelled out in love locks (an expanding artwork of locks!). We stopped for a small sample of sake before heading to the final brewpub, Mill Street Brewery.

Sake in Distillery District
Sake in Distillery District

Visiting Mill Street Brewery is always a treat. I’ve been here in the past with Justin. Their organic beer is one of my favorites. We gathered in their tasting room and tried several free samples of their varieties of beer.

Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street Brewery

We spent about four hours strolling the streets, learning about the history of Toronto and drinking lots of yummy beverages. Our tour guide, Mike, was really knowledgeable and a really cool guy all around. We tried some new craft beer and pubs that we wouldn’t have otherwise discovered.

our group on the Toronto beer tour

Justin and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this Toronto beer tour and we highly recommend it to anyone visiting Toronto – or wanting to play tourist in their own town!

BOOK THIS TOUR TODAY!

Where to Stay in Toronto

Looking for where to stay in Toronto after drinking all of that beer? It’s a good idea to spend the night at a downtown Toronto hotel. There are many wonderful accommodations and you can view them all below on one convenient map. Enter your travel dates for more precise information, and click on each property to compare them and learn more.

More Things to Do in Toronto

As someone who has always lived in and around Toronto, there’s no shortage of insightful blog posts about Toronto on this travel blog. It’s always easiest to write about home, after all! Here are more things to do in Toronto:

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Saturday 30th of April 2016

great put up, very informative. I'm wondering why the other experts of this sector don't understand this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you've a huge readers' base already!

Kate

Monday 3rd of August 2015

This sounds like a fantastic tour. I love mixing food or drinks with exploring an area. Its like a tour of your senses as well as learning about history. It looks like a really cool place. I had no idea Canada was such a big exporter of mustard! You learn something new every day. Great post and photos

Francesca @onegrloneworld

Monday 3rd of August 2015

I had no idea Canada produced that much mustard! Woah!! Super cool tour idea, sounds fun.

Anna

Monday 3rd of August 2015

I'm not a fan of beer but this tour looks very interesting! It's true that in Greece it's so easy to buy alcohol and in most of Europe actually. Montreal was the first place I heard about bring your own wine restaurants...I was amazed!

Tim Kroeger

Sunday 2nd of August 2015

Awesome idea! That's exactly what I gonna do next time in Toronto :)

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