By Lory Diaz
The CRAFT Beer Market has officially landed in Toronto! They’ve taken over the south-east corner of Adelaide and Yonge, adding an impressive selection of craft beers to the Financial District. Torontonicity was invited to attend the media preview of CRAFT’s latest location on November 28, 2017, and sample some of their menu items while checking out the new space.
CRAFT’s Founder, PJ L’Heureux, has been contributing to Calgary’s food and entertainment scene for more than two decades. He started his own DJ service in his teens, and by his mid-twenties, had already opened two successful nightclubs. Clearly, this is someone with drive who is always looking to enrich the party scene; he’s made a very good choice in booking Toronto’s own Richie Gus as part of their resident DJ roster.
The beer menu at CRAFT has over 100 options, and any beer fan will be happy to see the wide variety of flavours available from which to choose. I was excited to see the Lambic/Sour Ale section included the Duchesse de Bourgogne, as it’s been a favourite flavour profile since attending the Gourmet Food & Wine Expo this year! If you are going to sample a Flanders Red Ale, Lambic, or Sour Ale for the first time, keep in mind that the scent of the beer may not be very appealing (sometimes smelling like an aged or bleu cheese), as this can sometimes deter people from taking the first delicious sip.
Other sections of interest for anyone with dietary restrictions or concerns are the Gluten Free, Light, and Cider options. It’s nice to know that there are more places to gather in larger groups, where some people won’t feel left out due to allergies or sensitivities.
Aside from the menu options, CRAFT’s space also allows for a larger group gathering. The first floor is spacious, with incredibly high ceilings. The second floor is more intimate, making it an ideal area for social gatherings whether they be smaller company dinners, birthdays, or celebration parties. The second floor also has great beers, but a slightly smaller selection.
The view of the main bar from the second floor: expansive and impressive!
The opening party for CRAFT had sample sizes of their food menu giving guests a preview of what options would be available starting the first week in December. The Chicken flatbread seemed to be a crowd favourite: grilled chicken, tomatoes, red onion, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, with parsley. Think of this as shareable nacho pizza.
One of my favourite local breweries was there to join the opening party: Henderson’s at 128 Sterling Road off Dundas West. If you haven’t been, make sure to check them out and take note of the events calendar at the main entrance as they have amazing talks and open events.
Another popular item of the night was the chicken slider: moist chicken marinated in a tomato based sauce, garlic aioli, sweet pickles, and a cucumber slice. If you’re looking for other hand-held food item, the Baja fish tacos come in threes, making them another great group dish to share.
Wash down the savoury bites with Les Trois Mousquetaires Berliner Weisse, and a Rodenbach Grand Cru!
If you’re a fan of ribs, try CRAFT’s dry rub smoked baby backs. They’re made with a black garlic miso CRAFT barbecue sauce. These were quite delicious, and charred nicely, enhancing the black miso flavour. I’m personally more of a sauce fan, but would try these during regular hours because they normally come with potatoes tossed in a shallot aioli, and a southern style coleslaw.
We closed out the evening on a sweet note with the chocolate fudge cake: rich, moist, chewy, and perfect for sharing. The icing isn’t overly sweet, or overpowering as some buttercream icings can be, making a small slice the perfect way to end a meal. The regular dessert menu has a Butterscotch Budino, and I can’t wait to try the creamy Italian-style pudding.
I have to say that I’m thankful for CRAFT Beer Market coming to Adelaide and Yonge, because the neighbourhood is cocktail-heavy and in need of a more casual environment. Craft beer is very popular in Toronto, but generally one must travel outside the downtown core to get a decent selection. I’ll definitely be stopping by after work to grab a delicious beer from CRAFT this month, and recommend you keep it in mind for your next beer craving. Maybe I’ll see you there!
CRAFT Beer Market, 1 Adelaide Street East, Suite 101, 437-922-2337