First Look: Junction Craft Brewing, a new west-end brewery, tasting bar and retail space
By David Ort
Crafty beer (Image: David Ort)
After existing as a dry neighbourhood for decades, the Junction now has two craft breweries: Indie Alehouse and Junction Craft Brewing, the latter of which recently opened a new tasting bar, retail outlet and brewery space on Cawthra Avenue. That’s a lot of craft breweries, given that all of Toronto has fewer than a dozen.
Since the mid-December, Junction Craft Brewing has been selling a selection of beer for on-site sampling or takeaway. Each beer is assigned a colour-coded card on an “arrivals and departure” board — the railway station theme runs deep here — to indicate which of the four price levels it sells at. Samples come in 5 oz. ($1.75 to $2.05) and 10 oz. ($3.25 to $3.85) glasses, or to-go in either 500 mL bottles ($2.95 to $3.50) or 2L growlers ($12 to $15, plus a one-time $10 deposit). Recent offerings have included a porter, a brown ale, a red ale, a stout and more.
Tom Paterson, the brewery’s president, says that almost all of the customers that have been coming in either work or live in the neighbourhood. “We even get people crossing the train tracks from Weston to get here,” he adds.
The small-scale brewing system, which gives brewmaster Doug Pengelly the flexibility to do six batches a day, is set up right inside the door, with the six fermenting tanks on the left wall. Customers walk between the two to get to the tasting bar and the growler fridge. The whole space is at once an office, a brewing room and a retail operation.
The tap room and retail store are open to the public on Thursday and Friday evenings between 4 and 8 p.m. and on Saturdays from 1 to 8 p.m. As business builds, the plan is to expand these hours and to continue to use the space for events, including brewing classes.
Even with the new space, Wellington Brewery in Guelph will continue to brew Junction’s well-reviewed mainstay beer, Conductor’s Craft Ale. Paterson and the team at Junction are working through the process of getting that beer into the LCBO in time for the May long weekend. If all goes well, consumers can expect to find the familiar pale ale in a white and blue can at 100-150 locations across the province.
Junction Craft Brewing, 90 Cawthra Avenue, Unit 101, 416-951-6367