Bellwoods Brewery

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G.M. Gillman
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Postby G.M. Gillman » Sun Apr 15, 2012 7:36 pm

Spent some time there tonight, tried most of the beers, they serve 4 oz-ers which helps to try the range. All are well-made and I didn't mind the mild tartness of the beer made in a Berliner Weisse style. But the best by far IMO were the Witchshark DIPA and the Belgian-style dubbel. The former was a rich hoppy beer at 9% ABV but very drinkable, and the dubbel was very Belgian-like with its banana and clove character and it wasn't overly sweet.

Nice ambience, industrial chic given extra authenticity by the site having been a repairs garage. The crowd tonight seemed mostly locals, numerous younger couples some with their kids.

Excellent concept and I am sure it will only get better as they find their stride.

Gary

P.S. Next beer up will be a Baltic Porter, I was told.
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JeffPorter
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Postby JeffPorter » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:00 am

Do they serve food there? I'll need that to convince my wife to go with me...

:)
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aser
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Postby aser » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:11 am

Yup, they do, menu by Guy Rawlings of ex-cowbell, hoof, delux, lucien and a gang of other places. Enjoyed the crispy beef dish a lot.

I have to agree and say the best beers were the DIPA and dubbel. Although my friend raved about the cuvee, which was done I assume by the time I checked it out yesterday.

Nitpicking but would like the dubbel to be served warmer.
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TJ
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Postby TJ » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:52 am

I stopped by for around two hours last night with my wife. Great space. Good vibe. I loved it.

I had full servings of the Farmhouse saison, Witchshark, Cuvee du Grandma’s Boy and a sample of the Berliner Weisse. My wife had the Toil and Trouble dubbel.

I have no frame of reference for the Berliner Weisse but I have to say it smelled mildly of cow manure and wasn't as tart as I expected. It tasted okay, very light and wheaty, but it's not something I would go back to.

The rest were all great, I thought. I love that they brew a wide variety of styles really well. I'd say the Whitchshark was the real star for me, the Cuvee du Grandma’s Boy was a close second, but the saison and (based on two sips) dubbel were also really enjoyable.

As for the food, I don't think I could make a full meal of it here (and I suspect the intention here isn't to be a proper restaurant so much as to provide food to munch on while you drink). I snacked on the turnip stick (good, not great) and the rye kernel, hen of the woods and chickweed plate which was fantastic. My wife had the malt banana ginger dessert which was tasty. It paired nicely with the dubbel as well, I'm told.

This is the menu on their site:

http://bellwoodsbrewery.com/beerfood

This was what they had last night.

http://bit.ly/HKDakJ

We sat at the bar and the bartender seemed like a cool guy. He was knowledgeable and not the least bit pretentious and was very attentive. Zero complants there.

The place seemed to run at full capacity the whole time we there without feeling crowded in the least, and it seems to be a good mix of locals (I assume), beer geeks, WQW hipsters, you name it.

And yeah this place just skyrocketed to my favourite place to drink beer in Toronto. Can't wait to go back.
Last edited by TJ on Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
JesseMcG
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Postby JesseMcG » Mon Apr 16, 2012 1:12 pm

I also checked this out with my wife Saturday evening after the ball game. I think we arrived around 7:30pm and waited no more than 10-15 minutes for a seat (downstairs - shared a table with 2 others).

I had the sample size of the pale ale, saison, cuvee, dubbel and berliner weisse, and a full serving of the IIPA.

This place is great. All beers were fantastic, with the IIPA being the standout to me, the saison and cuvee being awesome as well, the dubbel being nice, and the pale ale and berliner weisse being solid if not more ordinary than the others. Every beer was very good though.

We snacked on the small size versions of the bread and butter, peanuts, pork rinds and salted radishes. Everything was nice... but personally I wouldn't eat an entire meal of this kind of stuff... although I didn't try and of the sticks/plates that were more substantial.

All in all... I loved the place.
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Postby atomeyes » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:49 pm

aser wrote:
Nitpicking but would like the dubbel to be served warmer.


i agree.

but we're probably in the minority.
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Postby jrenihan » Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:49 pm

I went in on Sunday. Had already had their Saison, which I think is very good. For me, the standout is easily the Witchshark, which I thought was excellent. The Cuvee is also very enjoyable. I was less impressed with the Dubbel than many seem to be. Eager to see what else they come up with, and I hope to drink a lot of the Witchshark in coming months.
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Postby Belgian » Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:34 pm

I really liked this place Sunday, Luke and Mike seem like good cats, and the beer was totally enjoyable - I'd almost say some were shockingly good, esp here north of the border. I ran into a handful of you guys.

Overall impression - like when Duggan's opened on Victoria, but with often much better beer, a more relaxed atmosphere (less cavernous, no stuffed suits) and generally more likely to still be there in a year or two. The 4-oz'ers rock for trying everything you can (I gave up and was enjoying full glasses.)

I was going to go there just for a Saison today but Tuesday is their off day. Usually open 5PM, patio sometime in May... CU there.
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Postby Belgian » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:06 pm

Wow, the novel curiosity has drawn an early line by about 6:30, so expect some table waits. Apparently the trend is to keep the bar entirely for wait list seatings as well, so you might feel silly dropping by for one beer on your way someplace when groups are clearly waiting.

Seating will increase in May when they open the front courtyard, that is to say build one in the blank concrete space. It would be neat if they had not only tables out front, but also a narrow bartop for seating along the garage door - Castro's-style. That would be a great look to make a real space out of it.

Comparing courtyards of other Garage Cafes, the front of Te Aro in Leslieville is sterile and ugly, while nearby Ceili Cottage has a lot more warmth and cafe/beer garden feel to it.
Last edited by Belgian on Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:22 am, edited 3 times in total.
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JeffPorter
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Postby JeffPorter » Sat Apr 21, 2012 8:11 pm

We were at the Queen's Park rally today, and just got back from dinner there.

We had the baby who was really tired from the rally (so was I from wearing her) and the staff (and customers) were great about letting us wait upfront with the baby.

We sat at the bar - tried all the beers in the 4oz samplers, which are great.

Hard to say what my favs were, but the dubbel, IIPA, Baltic Porter, and the cuvee were the tops for me. My wife said she really liked the common (which, I have to admit was really quaffable - I think this and the Berliner Weisse will be popular once the weather warms up) but she drank most of the IIPA. :)

Baby liked looking at all the glasses lined up at the bar.

We ate a big lunch at Milagro before the rally, but have to say we ate well at Bellwoods too.

The rye kernals with hens of the wood mushrooms were fantastic and would've been my favourite had it not been for the crispy pork, peas shoots, with peanuts rehydrated in vinegar. It is actually really simple food, just the contrasts are interesting - like the cold rye grains with the hot musrooms.

We also had a couple of the sticks - potato and anchovy mayo - sounds simple and almost boring until you try it.

I don't mind small plates, and certainly if you went to Jamie Kennedy's 7-10 years ago, you were paying similar prices for simlar portions, so the prices are actually quite reasonable. My one complaint (well, my wife's actually) with the menu was the desert portion - simply way to small after eating all that great savoury food. I would gladly pay a few more dollars for a larger portion.

Service was spectacular and very accommodating of the baby...as were all the customers around us.

Anyway, awesome place...awesome food...my only concern is when I'm going to go again...I can't imagine what it's going to be like when the store next door opens.
"What can you say about Pabst Blue Ribbon that Dennis Hopper hasn’t screamed in the middle of an ether binge?" - Jordan St. John
Malcolm
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Postby Malcolm » Tue May 08, 2012 2:33 pm

What an awesome place. Went last night and we had the Witchshark, Dubbel and Saison. Delicious. Friendly staff, not too crowded (last night, anyway) and a stumble across the rail tracks to get home!
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Postby Belgian » Wed May 09, 2012 10:41 pm

You know what this place deserves some credit for having a great relaxed vibe, which makes it 100% better to enjoy the beer.

Should BarTowel consider a Tap Award for Best Vibe in a Toronto Bar? It is an magical quality, IMO. Take for example Bar Volo, I meant to fly through for a beer yesterday and got sucked in for a nice relaxed six hour session.

By the way the Bellwoods bread is a great house specialty.
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JeffPorter
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Postby JeffPorter » Thu May 10, 2012 7:11 am

Belgian wrote:By the way the Bellwoods bread is a great house specialty.


It's delish!
"What can you say about Pabst Blue Ribbon that Dennis Hopper hasn’t screamed in the middle of an ether binge?" - Jordan St. John
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Postby studious » Thu May 10, 2012 9:27 am

especially when smeared with their liverwurst!
JeffPorter
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Postby JeffPorter » Thu May 10, 2012 12:52 pm

Why am I not there RIGHT NOW???
"What can you say about Pabst Blue Ribbon that Dennis Hopper hasn’t screamed in the middle of an ether binge?" - Jordan St. John

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