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The Joy of Finding New Places

I am in Toronto this week for conferences for my day job (these days they call it “Congress”, but I much prefer the older name – “The Learneds” which were mercilessly mocked as “The Stupids” which I loved). However, even the most riveting conference requires a break, so I am trying to sneak in a bit of beer exploration while here.

Near the conference site my research found a little local pub with quality beer offerings. It is called Hair of the Dog Neighbourhood Pub. It is a cozy little place in an ivy bedecked building. It has an extensive bottle list and a well-curated tap list of mostly Ontario beer with a smattering of other Canadian craft offerings. It was a very pleasant distraction from the rigours of my conferences.

For the record I had a High Road Bronan IPA, which is decent example of a New England IPA, and Flying Monkeys Chocolate Manifesto which certainly lives up to its name.

Hair of the Dog is not the most renowned or famous place around. There are places with better selections, better atmosphere, better locations. And none of that matters.

I have been to many places like HotD, and that is the point. I love finding the local secrets that offer a real, down-t0-earth beer experience. They are all unique and offer the best they can to fit their situation. And they are, I believe, the heart of the local craft beer experience.

By contrast I have also popped into 3 Brewers (the Anglicized name of 3 Brasseurs chain) while here, and the experience was more sterile and generic. There I felt I could be in any city. I am not trying to diss what 3 Brasseurs does – they are clearly highly successful at it – instead my point is that I truly appreciate finding a place where you know EXACTLY where you are because there is no other place exactly like it in the world. Hair of the Dog fits that bill for me. And thank god for that.

There is a particular joy in finding a place that is off the beaten track. I am not saying HotD totally classifies as a hidden gem – it is in a pretty central part of Toronto – but it is a place that I wouldn’t have found if I was only looking for the well known craft beer bars in this city. I had to expand my search to find it. And I am glad I did.

Every city has a place like that. And that is the joy of experiencing craft beer.


4 comments to The Joy of Finding New Places

  • Brad

    I’m fond of the place as well. Church Street was part of my old beat, and they were always so welcoming. Glad you discovered it!

  • Have a great trip but my advice is to stay away from the ZANZIBAR on YOUNG. I use to go their in the 70’s and am still alive to talk about it. We want you back in Alberta in one piece and of sound mind and body. LOL

    • Brady

      Isn’t Zanzibar on Yonge a strip club? Is craft beer gaining that much market acceptance in Hogtown? 🙂

      • No it’s not a strip club. Last time I was there Bambi Candi Sugar and Spice told me they where NUNS working their way through college ? Hey wait a minute ? Hummmm. Finally Alberta craft beer at the big stampede fair grounds. That was a surprise eh.

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