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The top 10 non-Beer Store beer stores in Toronto

Posted by Ben Johnson / November 5, 2012

toronto beer storesWhile the Beer Store (and its hip offshoot The Beer Boutique) and the LCBO are the obvious places in Toronto to stock up on beer, there are other options. These days, with the influx of craft beer brands, it's never been easier and more convenient to buy beer direct from a local brewery. And why not? The product is at its absolute freshest, you get to support a local business and, a lot of the time, the locations have extended hours that are a little bit more reasonable than those at your more generic option.

So, to help you support your local brewers, here's a list of Toronto's breweries that offer retail service--complete with their hours and some information about what exactly they offer.

Amsterdam Brewery
With a new retail location that opened earlier this week, Amsterdam is set to broadly expand their retail offerings. They will still sell 355ml sized bottles of their "staple" beers (some of which are regularly available in 25 packs for $31.95), but, with more room for experimental brewer Iain McOustra to play, you can expect they'll be stocking a lot more of their unusual offerings and seasonal beers, which typically come in 500mL bottles and vary in price.
Contact info 45 Esandar Drive, Toronto, 416.504.6882
Hours Monday - Saturday: 11am-11pm; Sunday: 11am-6pm; Holidays: 11am-9pm

Cool Beer Brewing Company
At Cool Brewing's retail store you can pick up a number of their in-house brands as well as some that are contract brewed on site. Along with flagship Cool Beer and Buzz beer, you'll also find Duggan's beers and Saint Andre Vienna Lager. There are some pretty good deals too, if penny pinching is your thing: You can grab four Cool Beers for $5 and bottles of Stonewall Light Lager are just $1.25.
Contact info: 164 Evans Avenue, Toronto, 416.255.7100
Hours: Monday-Friday: 10am-7pm; Saturday: 10am-5pm

Black Creek Historic Brewery
You're not likely to hit up the pioneer village to stock up on beer before your next party, but if you're ever in the area, you really should consider stopping by for some of their great beer. Just tell the gate staff you're only going to the brewery so you can skip the $15 admission to the village and you can get growlers of Black Creek's historically brewed offerings for $16.
Contact info 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto, 416.736.1733
Hours Everyday from 12pm-3:30pm

the beer academy torontoThe Beer Academy
The offspring of a merger of two Molson-owned brands, Granville Island Brewing and Creemore Springs Brewery, the Beer Academy bills itself as a space for beer experimentation and tasting. In addition to Granville Island and Creemore products, they also sell growlers and quart bottles of their experimental offerings under the auspices of the "non-brand," Six Pints. The rotation of what's available can change but right now you can get growlers and quart bottles of their porter, dortmunder lager, india pale ale, and kolsch blond. Quarts only of their belgian brown and dunekl weiss are also available.
Contact info 75 Victoria Street, Toronto. 416.366.1786
Hours Monday-Wednesday: 12PM-8PM, Thursday-Saturday: 11AM-10PM, Sunday: 12PM-5PM

Black Oak Brewery
This often underrated brewery in Etobicoke sells six packs of their Nut Brown and Pale Ales as well as their excellent seasonal beers. You can also pick up kegs, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats; as well as "home-made Black Oak Beer soap." What the hell, you already smell like a brewery most of the time anyway.
Contact info 75 Horner Avenue, Etobicoke, 416.252.2739
Hours Monday: 11am-5 pm; Tuesday-Friday: 10am to 5pm; Saturday: 10am to 3pm

Granite Brewery and Restaurant
Possibly the best value for craft beer in the whole city, Granite offers growlers of their in-house beers for $12 (plus a $4 deposit). And, with a couple days notice, they can also get reasonably-priced kegs (and pumps) to you in 20L, 30L, and 50L sizes.
Contact info 245 Eglinton Avenue East, Toronto, 416.322.0723
Hours Sunday: 11am-6pm; Monday-Saturday: 11:30am-11pm

Great Lakes Brewery
Great Lakes offers all their regular brands at their retail store as well as whichever of their seasonals are current. Their retail space is also a good place to find GLB's hoarder-friendly specialty offerings (when they're around). Right now, for example, you'll likely find their Imperial Black IPA, the third offering from their 25th Anniversary Beer series ($9.95 for 750mL).
Contact info 30 Queen Elizabeth Boulevard, Etobicoke, 416.255.4510
Hours Monday-Saturday: 10am-6pm

bellwoods brewery stubbiesBellwoods Brewery
As of this post, the guys at Bellwoods are waiting for new tanks to arrive, which they're installing specifically to feed the still-under-construction retail store. Once the tanks are in, retail will be a big part of their operations given that they're essentially tripling their total brewing capacity. When the retail space next to the current brewpub opens (hopefully just before Christmas) they'll be selling 2L growlers, 1L growlers, and 650mL bottles filled with a range of their products. The 2L growlers and 650ml bottles will start at $13 and $5 tax in, respectively, with prices changing depending on the time required to produce the beer and the expense of the ingredients. They'll also be selling shirts, glassware, posters, bags, and books (just in time for stocking stuffing). Until then, watch for news of Bellwoods pop-up sales, which they hope to continue through November.
Contact info 124 Ossington Avenue, Toronto, 647.378.0894
Hours TBD

Indie Alehouse
In the short time that Indie has been open, their retail shop has sold out every single day well before closing--sometimes in less than one hour of being open--so you'll want to get there early. For now, the products available are limited to 1.9L growlers of their staple beers--Street Wheat, Instigator IPA, Barnyard Belgian RYE-PA, and their Belgian Wit Bier--available for $20 (plus a $4 deposit). And while that may seem a little high, it's really not a bad price for small-batch, craft beer; plus, that price point seems to be serving them just fine thus far. You can, however, expect their higher alcohol and sour beers to be available in 750mL and 500mL bottles sometime before Christmas. When that happens, Indie's retail hours will expand, too.
Contact info 2876 Dundas Street West, Toronto
Hours Monday-Friday: 5pm-9pm; Saturday-Sunday: 2pm-6pm

Mill Street Brewery
Mill Street offers all their commercially available beers at their brewpub retail space in single bottles, six packs, 12 packs, cases, and even kegs. You can also usually find a specialty beer or two as well as Mill Street's current seasonal offering in growlers for $12.50 (plus a $4 deposit).
Contact info 21 Tankhouse Lane, Toronto, 416.681.0338
Hours Sunday: 11am-6pm; Monday-Thursday: 11am-8 pm; Friday-Saturday: 11am-10 pm

BONUS BEER STORE

Steam Whistle Brewing
Long the Jays fan's worst-kept secret, brewery-fresh Steam Whistle is not only available to chug in a park before a ball game, but can also be bought in cases, and ordered for home delivery. For a small fee ($49.95 for kegs, $15 for cases of bottles), Steam Whistle will even come out with a bunch of ice and set up your party for you. For kegs, the fee includes set-up and loan of draught equipment and biodegradable cups, and for cases they'll set you up with a bottle trough for the evening.
Contact info 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto, 416.362.2337
Hours Monday-Thursday: 12pm-6pm; Friday-Saturday: 11am-6pm; Sunday: 11am-5pm. Open on all statutory holidays except for Christmas Day and New Years Day.

A pre-emptive note to the naysayers: Yes, it's a little sad that the list of places in Toronto to buy beer directly from the brewers is so small; but then again, this list is considerably longer than it would have been just a year ago, so here's hoping we can all support the growing craft beer scene and that the next time I summarize our retail brewery offerings there will be even more.

Discussion

21 Comments

Peanut Gallery / November 5, 2012 at 10:44 am
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I really appreciate you including the sizes and prices of the offerings in this post. Thank you!
Gul Jasad / November 5, 2012 at 10:44 am
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Now, with all of these options, there's no excuse in hell for people to be drinking the shitty swill the three big beer companies shell out (even though The Beer Academy's owners Granville Island Brewing and Creemore Springs Brewery are owned by Molson.)
Peanut Gallery / November 5, 2012 at 11:11 am
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The key (for me anyway) is being able to buy good beer in economical 24 cases. I'm not interested in paying loads-o-money for small one-off bottles of craft beer, but I'm happy to pay a bit extra for something in quantity. Amsterdam's 25-for-$31.95 deal is critical.
Matt / November 5, 2012 at 11:17 am
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Cool list--but no, Indie Alehouse's growler prices are stupidly high.
Eric replying to a comment from Matt / November 5, 2012 at 11:23 am
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Well, if they're already selling out in an hour, they probably don't have much motivation to lower their prices...
Peter Visima / November 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm
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You forgot Cameron's Brewery in Oakville. Outstanding award-winning beers:
http://www.cameronsbrewing.com/
James replying to a comment from Eric / November 5, 2012 at 12:32 pm
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if there selling out in an hour clearly they're not producing enough. What is it a lemonade stand?
loper replying to a comment from Peter Visima / November 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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Last I checked, Oakville was not in Toronto.
Ben replying to a comment from Peter Visima / November 5, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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For the record, I agree Cameron's makes great beer and I like them, but, yes, they're pretty far, geographically. The idea was to do a list of 10 in Toronto, so some were left off. I might have also included Magnotta, who also make some good beers and sells them at a retail location in Vaughan.
Peter Visima / November 5, 2012 at 01:32 pm
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Thanks for the clarification, Ben. Great article and yes, Cameron's is a bit far to go, agreed.
Brian / November 5, 2012 at 01:58 pm
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You can buy Cool, Amsterdam, Mill St and Steamwhistle products at the beer store ;)
Mr Kanyo / November 5, 2012 at 04:39 pm
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Big ups to the Indie Alehouse. Try the Cockpuncher!
is this not blogTO / November 5, 2012 at 07:13 pm
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What, no random complaints about "hipsters" and "lefties"???
Ken / November 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm
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Ridiculous we still have to go through the LCBO to buy beer. Biggest bogus monopoly....
Xuan / November 6, 2012 at 01:20 am
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Try some Asian beers.
alex / November 6, 2012 at 11:22 am
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This is just a list of microbreweries, not actual stores that sell beers from various vendors...
Ben replying to a comment from alex / November 6, 2012 at 11:32 am
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Hi Alex,

Ontario's liquor legislation is such that beer may only be sold for take-home through the LCBO, the Beer Store, or through a brewery's on-site retail space. Accordingly, in this province, there is no such thing as a store (other than the LCBO or TBS) that sells beers from various vendors. That's why all of these are breweries. I sincerely hope that someday we'll have other options, but until the legislation changes, this is the way it is.
Christine / November 6, 2012 at 04:25 pm
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Here are some other OCB breweries also retailing craft beer in the GTA: Cameron's & Trafalgar in Oakville; County Durham in Pickering; King Brewery in Nobleton; Nickel Brook in Burlington and Old Credit in Port Credit. Come visit, tour, taste, meet the people behind the beer and leave with a smile. And some fresh craft beer.
Kevin / February 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm
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I have been using them for times when I am lazy, or it's too cold outside, and they have been very reliable. Not sure how far their delivery service go, check www.always-dialabottle-toronto.com, or call 416-890-7451 for more info. Staff is very polite and helpful.
Cheers!
Brent / February 3, 2013 at 02:24 pm
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Wake me up when an Ontario brewer learns how to make a proper IPA or double IPA.
Not Brent replying to a comment from Brent / February 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm
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Wake up, Dillhole. Ontario's brewing scene is flush with great IPAs and, to name just one, Bellwoods Brewery's Witchshark Double IPA is ranked among the best beers in the world according to Ratebeer.

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