Indie Alehouse Toronto

A sneak peek inside the soon-to-open Indie Alehouse

As owner Jason Fisher and I walk into the building at 2876 Dundas St. W. that will eventually become the Indie Alehouse, he explains in detail how the much-anticipated Junction establishment will look upon completion. Although it's not quite there yet, a recent tour of the space offers a promising glimpse of what might become Toronto's next hub for craft beer lovers. With a dining area that can seat 100 people, a retail store, and an on-site brewery, the Alehouse is a place where beer is taken very seriously.

In that sense, it's set to join the a growing number of carefully brewed craft beers that have arrived on the local scene in the last year or so. Along with the Kensington Brewing Company, Junction Craft Brewing and Spearhead Brewery, the Indie Alehouse joins other yet-to-launch projects like the Bellwoods and Parkdale breweries. With all these local brews popping up, I'm curious to determine what Fisher hopes to bring to the table. As it turns out — a lot.

Indie Alehouse Toronto

Fisher's attention to detail and love of ale began when he brewed his first batch of drinkable beer at 16 (much to his teacher's disbelief) for a Grade 10 science project. He has continued to improve his skills by participating in seminars across North America, working with local brewers, and by letting his friends and family taste test his creations.

Eventually he decided to brew small-batch craft ales for the Alehouse — no lagers or light beers. So far they've made four different beers: a Belgian Wit with ginger and lavender, a west-coast style India Pale Ale (IPA), a Belgian IPA, and a Breakfast-Porter with lots of oats, chocolate, and coffee. And there are plans to add 2-3 more beers to their repertoire, as well as rotating seasonal releases. The Alehouse offerings will come in 500 mL bottles and 2L growlers with special edition bottles planned for the future.

Indie Alehouse Toronto

The walls of the yet-to-be-used on-site brewery are waiting to be covered in tile, but the main attraction has already been installed. The tanks, dormant for now, tower over my head as I pass through the area. They're a magnificent sight with huge copper brewing kettles and silvery dimpled fermenting tanks. Fisher explains the process of brewing with confidence and passion, as we head over to the cold room. This is where the serving tanks will reside, eventually to be connected directly to the bar taps.

From there it's out to the bar area and dining room, which Fisher says will have an "auction-chic" look to it. There's a real DIY vibe going on here, so it seems natural that the plan is to make the food from scratch in-house. "I wanted fresh food that is never frozen," he explains. "If someone wants a frozen burger or mozzarella stick then there are plenty of places in the city they can go to get that, but it won't be here."

Indie Alehouse Toronto

It all sounds very good, but what about the opening date? "We should have opened 100 times by now," Fisher says by way of explanation. "I'm learning that construction of a restaurant and brewery from scratch in an old building is a very painful experience and apparently almost impossible to estimate timelines. But we are very close now, until the next surprise comes up."

The current plan is to have a few soft-opening parties in late December, which would mean that the public can expect to buy a beer about a month after that. But that's if all goes according to plan. If you'd rather not wait, the Indie Alehouse will be showcasing their Breakfast-Porter (Gingerbread flavoured for the holidays) at the Brewery Market > on December 18 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Wychwood Barns. It's best to arrive early, though, as they have a tendency to sell out pretty quick.

Photos by Morris Lum

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