When I stepped into Beerbistro, my eyes were immediately drawn to the bar. An cyan-illuminated glass backdrop emphasized the silhouettes of bottles of all shapes and sizes, along with an extensive lineup of taps, fridges, and glassware. It was definitely inviting, especially since I was in the mood for sampling some new brews.
Quality beer, much like fine wine, is the result of both skilful art and science and bigger international brewers simply can't give the same attention to detail to beer-making. They can't they lend as much creativity to it, nor can they source the highest quality ingredients; which is why craft brewers make better beer. It's for this reason that Beerbistro, a busy resto/bar near Yonge & King, is big on featuring an incredibly diverse selection of craft brews, some of which I learned are exclusive to this beer-centric joint.
Don't go there looking for a mass-produced domestic beer, because you won't find any there. There were no signs of mega-imports like Heineken or Guinness anywhere either. What I was amazed to learn was that Beerbisto has a selection of more than 120 varieties of bottled craft beers and boasts draft taps that span 15 countries - all from smaller, artisan producers.
The place seems to have a beer to cater to every possible taste. Picking up the beer menu, I was impressed how the beers were conveniently grouped into specific categories: quenching wheat beers, crisp lagers, balanced sociables, satisfying stouts, bold and bitter ales, spiced or naturally spicy ales, robust, smoky, fruity beers, and more. With such an extensive menu of unique brews, I found it difficult to narrow it down, let alone make a choice. It must have been the confused look on my face that queued the bartender, who filled me in on a unique opportunity that most other bars in Toronto don't offer - the tasting flight. I got to choose three beers from the draft menu and get a set of taster-sized samples for just $6.
I quickly learned that the staff are super friendly, and almost as importantly, that they really know their beer. If you're having trouble selecting from the extensive menu, have any questions, or want advice, they're there. They're also as quick to make recommendations based on your individual preferences as they are willing to let you choose from the menu all on your own.
I felt like snacking and, on a staff recommendation, I indulged in the ever-so-unique duck confit corn dogs served with cherry ketchup, and some scrumptious chicken wings. Both were small in size and big on flavour, which suited me just fine.
The bistro also features a restaurant section that serves up gourmet selections prepared using beer, and there's a private dining room in the back that can be reserved in advance.