PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS FOR HISTORICAL AND NOSTALGIA PURPOSES ONLY. IT DOES NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THE PRESENT DAY.
|The patio at Denison’s Brewing Company.|
It is with great sadness to report that Denison’s closed in early 2003. They will be missed in Toronto; not only were they a fine pub but an excellent brewery. Hopefully their beers will find their way to palates of Torontonians again at some point in the future.
Three restaurants form Denison’s: Growler’s Pub, Crazy Louie’s Brasserie and Conchy Joe’s. Growler’s is downstairs, and has more of a pub atmosphere and menu than upstairs, which are more formal restaurants. The decor is great, with high ceilings and luscious chairs in Conchy Joe’s, a standard checkered tablecloth setup in Crazy Louie’s, and a dark and plush downstairs. Denison’s is housed in two historic buildings which were renovated into one. The brewing equipment is visible to all, glassed in a two-floor cylinder up the centre of the building. In Growler’s the brewtanks are very close to the seating, creating an interesting conversation piece.
|The brewtanks visible from the Victoria St. side.|
On to their beers. Denison’s brews only lagers, but they are all of high quality. Their flagship beer, Royal Dunkel, is a Bavarian-style dark lager. Their original pale lager, Growler’s Lager, which was offered filtered or unfiltered, has been recently replaced by Bavarian Hell. This is a pale Munich-style hell lager, and similar to the original Growler’s Lager, is offered unfiltered during the summer. The original Lager is now available only occasionally. These brews are tasty, but I prefer their seasonal slate, which offers more interesting beers.
|Denison’s from the Lombard St. side.|
Denison’s brews two regular seasonal beers: a Bock from December to April and a Marzen from September to December. Denison’s also has occasional specialty seasonals, such as an Oktoberfest, Dunkler Weizen Bock, Maibock or Pils. It is, however, their summer seasonal-turned year-round beer, Weizen, which deserves the most attention. This beer is one of Toronto’s greatest local brews. The wheat is imported from Germany by a co-owner. The beer in turn develops a defining flavour of bananas, with hints of clove and lemon. A great beer for a hot day on the patio or a refreshing treat in the winter.
Denison’s is one of my favourite places for a beer in the city. Intimate, cozy and comfortable at Growler’s downstairs, it is a place to relax, have good conversation and great beer. Denison’s usually benefits from the after-work and theatre crowd, but is usually not too busy on a weekend night – there is plenty of seating in the restaurants, and a great patio during the summer months. Definitely a place to check out, if you are not a regular there already!