First Draught: Henderson launches with their take on an ESB and ambitious plans for The Brewery District


Published:

More than a few pints crossed the bar at the Monarch Tavern for Henderson's brewery launch this Wednesday.

Image: David Ort

A new brewery launched this week in Toronto and I hope I never get tired of writing those words. 

Henderson Brewing Company is building a 15,000 hectolitre brewery at 128A Sterling. They hope to have it open by May, but for now their first beer, Henderson’s Best, is available on tap. 

Mark Benzaquen, head brewmaster, says that their flagship beer is based on an ESB-style malt profile with plenty of West Coast hops added to complete the hybrid picture.

The idea of making an English-style bitter with American hops is not revolutionary, but this is a better than average execution of the idea. The malt half of the recipe is tuned nicely to express nuttiness, and slightly sweet cracked grain flavours. They do bring plenty of citrus, but the chosen hops also have enough woodsy resin elements to make the connection to the malt a smooth one.

Steve Himel, Henderson’s general manager, is also working on a project even more ambitious than opening a brewery. He is the chair of The Brewery District, a group of 12 breweries, plus one cold-brew coffee maker, who are seeking official recognition as a tourist destination.

Roughly speaking, the thirteen businesses are grouped near the West Toronto Railpath, between Queen and St. Clair.

Himel tells me that the current stage of the process was about getting Councillor Ana Bailao to agree to bring their request for recognition to City Council on February 3. The future plan for The Brewery District could include a paper passport, a shuttle that stops at all of the breweries and a series of collaborative festivals.

Robert Henderson, Toronto’s first licenced brewer, inspired the name for this entry to the marketplace. Benzaquen says that the beers they make to complement the Best will also give appropriate nods to the city’s brewing history.

Henderson Brewing Co.’s Best, available on tap at bars including The Rhino, Betty's, The Cloak & Dagger, and Tequila Bookworm

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

David Ort is the web editor at PostCity.com and the author of The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook. Check out his site, follow him on Instagram and Twitter for more great beer and food content. Have a story idea? Get in touch at davidort@postcity.com.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Chef Alexandra Feswick throws an artsy dinner party with a feminist agenda

Chef Alexandra Feswick throws an artsy dinner party with a feminist agenda

The job is not only physically taxing, but can be emotionally demanding, too, especially when you end up in a kitchen run by a Gordon Ramsay–esque tyrant. Feswick weathered her share of sexist, macho bosses before helming the kitchen at the now-shuttered, then-raved about Brockton General. But even as a top chef, she felt a disrespect she attributes to her being a woman.
Posted 22 hours ago
Restaurant Review: Seafood abounds at Ardo, Corktown’s Sicilian eatery

Restaurant Review: Seafood abounds at Ardo, Corktown’s Sicilian eatery

Then there’s Ardo, the super-popular newish Sicilian restaurant in Corktown. It’s friendly and pleasant-looking, done in pale colours with warm lighting, Sicilian tchotchkes and a great buzz. Lots of people, lots of noise. And a few ringside bar seats overlooking the fast-moving and superbly fragrant open kitchen.
Posted 5 days ago
What to Eat this Minute: An uptown paradise for crème brûlée lovers

What to Eat this Minute: An uptown paradise for crème brûlée lovers

A menu of the available flavours sits next to the cash at Craque de Crème. Sweet-toothed patrons can order iterations of the dessert in everything from white chocolate rose to lychee vodka to, of course, a classic vanilla bean.
Posted 7 days ago
Looking Back: Toronto on rye

Looking Back: Toronto on rye

Now, the museum at Beth Tzedec Synagogue is hosting an exhibition called From Latkes to Laffas, celebrating the humble deli, which opened last month and continues until March 30, 2018.
Posted 1 week ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module