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Duggan's Brewery

Posted by Bryce Daigle / Listed on January 3, 2010 / review policy

duggans brewery torontoDuggan's Brewery is the brand new brew pub project by Toronto-based brewmaster Mike Duggan. He's been involved in some high profile beer projects in the area; he co-founded Mill St. (and developed several of their most popular beers), has contributed at Robert Simpson (now Flying Monkeys), and is currently in charge of brewing for Cool Brewery. When a man with a resume like that decides to open a brew pub to give himself complete creative freedom, there is cause for excitement.

20100102-duggan-tanks.jpgDuggan's Brewery occupies a large space on Victoria Street (the former home of Denison's Brewpub, which closed in 2003). Copper kettles and bags of grain given pride of place in the front window, and ll of the bar's rotating selection is brewed on-site, with select varieties also available for take-out purchase.

The food draws heavily from brew pub standards - sandwiches, fries, mussels and oysters feature prominently. And chef Rene Chauvin has crafted a menu that features thoughtful preparation and local ingredients without overshadowing the beer.

duggans pot pieThe pot pie ($16) changes daily, and was curried pork during our visit. The pie itself was light and flaky, filled with flavourful pork and vegetables and accompanied by fluffy mashed potatoes with green onions and gravy.

Pulled Pork SandwichThe pulled pork sandwich ($12) was smoky, sweet and very tasty, though the accompanying salad seemed like a bit of an afterthought.

duggans beerPan-seared pickerel with a buttery chardonnay sauce ($22) was perfectly cooked, though as the most expensive and least sizable dish we tried, it is not for those with large appetites.

duggans poutineThe poutine on offer ($11) featured real cheese curds and a light gravy, and was topped with duck confit. If cooking was the Olympics, duck confit would be a banned substance due to the fact that it can make anything awesome. This poutine was no exception.

duggans winter warmersAnd the beer? Oh, the beer! The current seasonal selections include what Mike Duggan refers to as "winter warmers" - beers with hefty alcohol percentages skilfully hidden behind tasty, full-bodied facades. The #11 "Fest Beer" is a big, bold German-style beer that packs a 6.7% ABV (alcohol by volume) punch in a surprisingly refreshing package, and the #10 "Belgian Tripple" is a devious traditional Trappist-style ale that sneaks a monstrous 9.9% ABV into a spicy, complex package. Do not turn your back on this beer. It cannot be trusted.

duggans menuThe award-winning and exceptionally delicious #9 IPA brings some serious hops to the table, but avoids "novelty beer" territory by balancing things out with big, round malts, and a solid 6.2% ABV. I asked Mr. Duggan if it was possible to get a direct tap line run to my apartment, but apparently they're not set up for that just yet.

Other current selections include a porter, stout, weissbeer and German pilsner. I tried really hard to find a bad beer among them, but I failed miserably. Did I mention the fact that pints are an almost criminally reasonable $5.22 each?

The winter warmers sneak up on you...Duggan emphasized that the brew pub is only in its soft opening phase, and they're still fine-tuning for their grand opening in January. The staff deserves props for handling the chaos of the opening weeks (and our big, rowdy group) with good humour and excellent customer service. If the current state of affairs is any indication, beer-loving Torontonians can look forward to some very exciting things from Mr. Duggan and crew.



Duggan's Brewery



mr hate / January 4, 2010 at 09:50 am
can't wait can't wait can't wait can't wait can't wait can't wait can't wait

also:I believe he's gonna sell the beer to take away soon too....
gr1 replying to a comment from mr hate / January 4, 2010 at 10:14 am
"with select varieties also available for take-out purchase."
mr hate / January 4, 2010 at 11:00 am
i'm so excited i can barely read
Arieh Singer / January 4, 2010 at 11:02 am
Finally this is open - I've been watching them work on i these past few months, considering it's on the same street as my office! :)
Eric / January 4, 2010 at 11:22 am
Stopped in for lunch last week and was pleasantly surprised. Wide open, clean looking space - spiffy and new. Food was a step above average and the beer well made to style, Duggan's got a good thing going on there.
Mike Beltzner / January 4, 2010 at 11:31 am
As someone who ran the taplist (although I didn't have a full Weissbier - they ran out and I had to share with my wife) I can tell you: they are all excellent, and what the author says about the Tripple is true. It is delicious, and drinks far too easily for a nearly 10% brew.
Mike Beltzner / January 4, 2010 at 11:33 am
Oh, and their retail license hasn't gone through yet. The boxes sit, temptingly, in a large display case, but they can't sell them to you yet. There's also about 3x more space waiting to be fitted out with furniture and staff. This place will be epic.
Richard / January 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm
I am realy in to the Weissbier right now Lovin it!

I am excited to try Duggan's....

may have to round up the boys for a pub night.....

you know educational reasons...wink...wink
Rico / January 4, 2010 at 04:44 pm
Some of you need some beer skoolin. Rene's additions are probably spot on, as that guy doesn't stop working and he gets to choose some great staff for the joint. But the beers need polishing, and they are somewhat off centre for respected styles. Denison's Wheat...much better. The Irish Stout, I only had one, which was served much too cold to begin with. And the #9, I keep on saying, isn't an IPA. A note to the author: winning awards in Ontario isn't that great. Ontario is a century behind any other state or province with regards to beer industry freedom. Thank the freakin government for that.
CAROLINE / January 4, 2010 at 05:22 pm
Steve / January 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm
I've been. It's quite good. I had a striploin steak that was phenomenal. The Number 9 IPA and the Fest beers are both outstanding. Please stay away so I don't have problems getting a table.
bittles / January 5, 2010 at 02:42 am
rico you just love to just troll around these boards eh? i dont know how your even have made the time to get out of your parents basement and off these forums and go visit a bar.

explain to be how the #9 isn't an IPA in the most traditional sense of the beer (high ABV with a deep amber colour and a strong hoppy finish)?
Rico replying to a comment from bittles / January 5, 2010 at 05:18 am
I know it's a bit step for you kids, but there are like these kinda built-in technologies and shit, that perhaps might be kinda new to you and stuff, like pubic hair n' stuff. Ya know? My parents are gone and stuff, and I'm probably older than you, and know much more about life n' stuff than you do, and perhaps the topics brought up in here n' stuff, like you know, like? In fact, I was out to 3 bars tonight...being a Monday night. You know, kinda like what all this is about and stuff, you know? Now, pisshead, do you know what IPA stands for, ignorant puke? Are you really that bloody ignorant, then to bring it up in here? You child. You ignorant moron. Chase that up, then ask your mommy if you could actually respond after skool you complete fool. That is your definition of an IPA? Do you actually know beer? Have you ever brewed anything? Do you know what brewing means? Moron.
Giggity replying to a comment from Rico / January 5, 2010 at 08:43 am
Three bars in one night Rico? That's amazing, cowboy! And your ability to convey and defend your argument through petty insults and a grade 6 vocabulary are astounding. Your wit and talent have not gone unnoticed my friend. I've alerted the Lieutenant Government of your unprecedented internet trolling abilities. You should receive your honorary scroll in the three to five business days.
Rico / January 5, 2010 at 11:47 am
Wow that's so...creative. You must be the fashionable one at your high school.
bittles / January 5, 2010 at 01:15 pm
still havent explained rico how the #9 isn't an IPA. still waiting......

Rico replying to a comment from bittles / January 5, 2010 at 01:22 pm
It's an American version of an IPA. IPA is a British style. Go read up on styles. Don't wait for it, use the Google! You can't take a British version that was made for India, and shove American hops into it that taste like grapefruit. You obviously don't know much about beer, so use the Internet and find out for yourself.
WLee replying to a comment from Rico / January 5, 2010 at 03:36 pm
Rico: You are entitled to your opinion, as is Bittles. There are a lot of beers out there to enjoy, so I cannot fathom the emnity between the two of you. I happen to really like Duggan's beer, a personal taste. That's as far as it goes.
Rico replying to a comment from WLee / January 5, 2010 at 06:35 pm
I'm not talking about liking it. Like it all you want. Taste is subjective. But my educated opinion (I AM a brewer) shows me that calling this an IPA is completely off centre. It's not about opinion, to be honest. It's about the highly recognized definition of styles. Ones used in competitions, etc. So no, it isn't as far as it goes. Nice try though.
bittles / January 6, 2010 at 01:50 pm
hahhahahahahaha, your a brewer.

troll, brewer, long resume. rico you may be the biggest lieing sad sack of fat i have encountered online in a long time. i could go into how the west coast ipa's have revived the style but of course you would know that.......cause your a brewer.

me replying to a comment from bittles / January 6, 2010 at 02:22 pm
Rico replying to a comment from bittles / January 6, 2010 at 02:54 pm
Oh, but I am. And west coast IPAs are exactly what I'm talking about. They aren't IPAs. But of course, let denial rule your world. You just don't know how wrong you are.
Manolo replying to a comment from Rico / January 6, 2010 at 04:24 pm
Seriously, gentlemen... wouldn't it be better to just sit down at the bar and enjoy a pint rather than squablle over some technicalities? What a way to kill the enjoyment of a good beer.
Would you argue whether or not you're Canadian based on how far back your ancestry goes. I'm MORE Canadian than you! NO, I AM! wah wah... have a pint enjoy, smile, share a story, be Canadian, not a moron.
As for Duggan's, I'll be there soon with some friends to enjoy that imposter IPA :) And no, I'm not a brewer and I know Jack Squat about brewing... but I sure love to drink.
Rico / January 6, 2010 at 04:28 pm
Actually I do that a lot. And this isn't squabbling. It's very much part of brewing. I've been discussing items like this since FidoNet. I bet most are too young to know about this. It was before the Internets. And discussing and studying beer is very much what I have done over two decades, regardless of what anyone believes. Believe it or not, beer does not come from a beer store. It comes from brewers who make decisions about what and how they brew. What might seem as just beer to you, is taken a hell of a lot more seriously in different parts of the world. Canada's involvement in beer is relatively small. The largest breweries in Canada are foreign owned, and our stupid government gives them the right to own the distribution in Ontario. So yes, there's a lot more than just having a beer.
Badbhoy replying to a comment from Rico / January 9, 2010 at 01:41 pm
So you have a long history of trolling then? Which did you start first? Brewing or being a dick? Where did you spew your vitriol before the internet? Letters to the editor? Did you have a network of equally assinine pen pals?

I anxiously await your response. After all the golden rule of trolldom is always get the last word.
Rico replying to a comment from Badbhoy / January 9, 2010 at 04:13 pm
It would be easy to answer questions that are actually reasonable. Moron.
Badbhoy / January 9, 2010 at 04:55 pm
Couldn't resist eh?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to trying Duggan's. Since i won't dare commenting on the beer to spare everyone from another rant, the food sounds and looks delicious.
Rico replying to a comment from Badbhoy / January 9, 2010 at 08:28 pm
You just go the last word, you troll. Just to let you know, blogto does have a notifier for comments. But I guess you missed that. You seem to think it's hard to click a link and reply to a comment. That's not trolling, that's commenting. You're still a moron, and I'm sure you'll continue to be a moron from this point forward. I'm anxious to see what your next moronic statement is.
Japhet / January 12, 2010 at 07:49 am
I still haven't been yet but have always enjoyed No. 9 over at Caplansky's. I'm definitely looking forward to trying the rest of the beers.
badbhoy / January 15, 2010 at 02:17 pm
I had the opportunity to go last night and unfortunately they were having issues with their kegs. The beer was pouring extrememly slow so it was about a ten minute wait for a beer. I had the stout and thought it was very good although about 1/3 of the glass was head. No issue with it being too cold as was previously suggested but this was probably due to the length of time it took to pour.

I had the duck confit poutine to eat and thought it was okay. The gravy was appropriately poultry based but I prefer a beef gravy. Also the curds were too cold so the cheese didn't melt well. Again this took quite a while to come out of the kitchen (about 40 minutes) so they obviously have some kinks to work out.

I found the atmosphere a bit cold. We were in the bar area and the walls were relatively bare on one side with the floor to ceiling windows surrounding the two corner walls. They could use some warmer colours and maybe some blinds or curtains to tighten up the room a bit.

In any case I'll try it again in a few months hopefully with better results.
Ryan / January 18, 2010 at 04:20 pm
The BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) considers English IPA and American IPA as seperate styles in the IPA category, along with Imperial IPA (often referred to as Double IPA, or DIPA for short). While an American IPA is not an IPA in the traditional sense, it's still an IPA. Arguing that an American IPA isn't an IPA because it doesn't conform to the original English style is like arguing a German Pilsener isn't a pils because it doesn't conform to the original Czech style.

I'd be curious as to what Rico thinks of traditional brewers bending stylistic conventions. An example that immediately comes to mind is the delicious Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse, a hopped up weizenbock that came out of the collaboration between G Schneider & Sohn of Germany and Brooklyn Brewery. Each brewery made essentially the same beer, the only variation being that Schneider hopped their beer using traditional German hop varieties and Brooklyn hopped their version with American varieties. The hop flavour was quite a bit more intense than any traditional weissbier I've had; a very intense, grassy sort of hop flavour. Like a weizenbock crossed with a German Pils.

I wonder what Rico thinks of Schneider & Sohn collaboration on a hopped up weizenbock with Brooklyn Brewery. Something a little untraditional from a very traditional and long established brewer.
Rico / January 18, 2010 at 05:08 pm
I don't mind people migrating from styles, but to call anything outside an IPA an IPA is just wrong. The I stands for India during a time when the style was created for a reason. No more than an ESB is a Pale Ale. An American IPA is an IPA that's been changed. I don't know why you can't understand that. American IPA is not an IPA. It's really quite simple. The term Imperial was stolen from Imperial Stout. I'm curious as to why you think the USA had anything to do with British troops going to India.
Ryan replying to a comment from Rico / January 19, 2010 at 07:59 am
Didn't I just say that American IPA is not the traditional English IPA?

It's called American IPA because, as you said, it's an IPA that's been changed. Changed by the Americans.

Please enlighten me, what would be a better name for IPA the way American brewers have bastardized it?

I mean bastardized in a good way, just so we're clear. I like American-style "IPA."
Ryan / January 19, 2010 at 08:03 am
I also have plenty of respect for traditional beer styles as well. I love English bitters and brown ales. German weissbier is my favourite though. Well crafted pilsner (King Brewery make a really good one in the Czech style).
Rico replying to a comment from Ryan / January 19, 2010 at 10:18 am
Wow, you just don't get it. IPA was from a time and place for a single reason. So it belongs to just that. How you seem to think that an American version, has anything to do with that, is beyond me. Increasing hops in a beer doesn't extend a style, it's a completely different beer. Manipulate other styles by doubling a component, and it doesn't become a doublestyle. If I double a Mild, it doesn't become a Peculiar, or a Stout, or a Porter. It's a completely new beer. There's a real difference between a Stout and an Extra Stout, and an Imperial Stout. There's Belgian Ales, Dubbels and Tripels. There's Bitter and ESB. Even the people who make these, recognize the differences amongst the variations. Americans shoving those amounts of those hops, are creating a completely different beer into it, and it's no more an IPA than it is a freakin Coca Cola. I have no clue what they should call it, nor do I care.
Japhet / January 19, 2010 at 11:37 am
A lot of people call it an American-style IPA. Good enough for me. You don't like it? Call it something else. If you're name's good enough, maybe people will call it that.

I went this weekend. The stout was amazing; smooth and dry and very much a session kind of beer. I still like the American IPA and I also enjoyed the Belgian and the Pilsner.

The Wheat tasted like watered-down banana liqueur.

The duck confit poutine was delicious and a good size for sharing but the calamari was a joke; way too small and not worth the price.
Rico replying to a comment from Japhet / January 19, 2010 at 11:43 am
Regardless of what people call it, it isn't an IPA. You start calling it that, and that's what people will follow.
Japhet replying to a comment from Rico / January 19, 2010 at 02:14 pm
So come up with another name! Until then, I'm going to call it an American-style IPA along with Ryan, Mike Duggan and whomever the BJCP is.
Rico replying to a comment from Japhet / January 19, 2010 at 03:51 pm
How about Rancid American Bullshit Beer? Or how about Moron Ale, since you seem to like it so much? I'm going to continue to call it out for what it is not. And hopefully those that actually know what they're talking about, continue to run into you at these locations, and make you look like the fool you are.
Ryan / January 20, 2010 at 12:45 pm
Well Rico, I think you've made it obvious that you aren't capable of discussing a subject without lowering yourself to attacking the other person.

I at no point insulted you, and you still feel the need to insult me personally.

Have fun making people look like the "fools" they are. You might want to try switching to wine - your snobbery might be better appreciated.
Rico replying to a comment from Ryan / January 20, 2010 at 12:48 pm
Read the thread. Then make an educated opinion. Then you'd realize that people insist on telling me what to do. Kind of like you. How about you just go away? That better?
Steve / January 20, 2010 at 05:25 pm
I've read the thread. I've made an opinion.
Without going overboard, here's the nutshell:
We're Canadian and we love our beer. Great.
Some more than others - hell, some even get passionate about it in these "discussions" Great.
But to insult others beacause their subjective taste differs from your own?...c'mon! That's weaker than my girlfriend drinking Coors lite.
shutthef*ckupRico / January 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm
Sounds like a great place, will surely try it out.

Rico, you just need to have a beer man and relaxolate. Why do some people get so obsessed with the taxonomy of things? It's a blah blah, not a blah blah blah. Taste it, describe your experience, describe the flavour using plain language, and try not to be a snob. Life is good man, don't be so anal.

A Moron
EricM replying to a comment from Rico / January 21, 2010 at 06:51 am
Hmm a brewer are you Rico? Remind me to avoid the kit beer you make in your bathtub. I don't think you are capable of much more judging from the comments here.
Jason / January 21, 2010 at 07:27 pm
I'm keen to try this place out. I might have to consider it for a stop on our Urban Adventures Beer Makes History Better tour...

lower_colon / January 23, 2010 at 02:22 am
I went tonight, and both the beer and the service were fantastic. I'm not one for judging a place so soon, and given that tonight was also their *official* opening... but if they keep up what I saw tonight, I'll be a regular.
Neil Partridge replying to a comment from Rico / May 16, 2010 at 06:37 pm
True comments, can't wait for the LCBO to be demolished in my lifetime. Better yet, I'm working a business plan for my own micro, I hope sooner than my lifetime for profitability!
Katie / July 30, 2010 at 09:46 pm
I'm drinking one of Duggen's IPAs right now. DELICIOUS.
andrew / August 8, 2010 at 01:04 am
ive been there three times.... all i can say... worst customer service.
Craig / September 24, 2010 at 08:29 pm
I've been to Duggan's twice. Once during their pre-launch phase and once more recently. I have to say that my experience with the food was better the first time I went. The second time, it was just mediocre. The beer, both times, however, was excellent. I Really like the #9. I enjoy it whenever I have the opportunity across the city.

BTW Ryan, while you're correct that the pilsner style was created in the Czech Republic, it was in fact invented by a German brewer. (So your example that a German pilsner is not a pilsner because it isn't a Czech pilsner is getting rather esoteric)

electric / September 27, 2010 at 04:29 pm
Reservation was botched.

Understaffed or what, they continued to waste our time. We considered leaving after drinks went dry and appetizers never appeared.

Somebody buy the head waiter a notepad.

One word, disorganized.
samsies / January 17, 2011 at 10:56 am
Wow, my experience was the exact same as the poster above. Our reservation was somehow forgotten, which meant the full menu wasn't available to us at 10pm.

We had to remind the waiter many times about drinks and food we ordered.

Our waiter finally told us after an hour that the pilot light of the oven broke, or something, so it would be another 10 minutes.


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