Barrel House is another brick-and-mortar incarnation of the Amsterdam Brewing brand. The spacious multi-level restaurant is just steps from Amsterdam’s main brewing facility, and nominally houses their barrel-aged and sour beer programs.
It doesn’t look out on the scenic waterfront or brew beer in house the way their BrewHouse does, but it’s equally slick with a corporate but comfortable tavern vibe.
This would likely make a good spot to stop for a meal after a Saturday tour at the closeby brewery.
There are also two patio areas, one surrounded by high fencing complete with water features and another up on the rooftop.
Thai green curry ($15, $4 upcharge for our chicken) with shiitakes, bok choy, peppers and cashews is just one main on a wide menu of pub faves like fish and chips, chicken tenders, ravioli and smoked brisket.
The curry actually has a pleasant kick of spice thanks to Thai chilis and a proximally authentic lemongrass flavour for a bar Thai dish.
The Waterfront Bowl ($18.50) is another Asian-influenced, lighter option named for the BrewHouse location, a balanced rainbow of grilled and raw veggies with your choice of sushi-grade Ahi tuna or chilled poached salmon all on a bed of quinoa with a nutty wasabi-goma dressing.
Vegan meatloaf ($16.50) is a nice attempt but a bit of a head-scratcher, not able to provide flavours to match the visual presentation. Mashed potatoes are made with soy milk and vegan gravy is a little thin, the actual veggies scattered within the gravy and the crispy onions more worthy of highlighting overall.
Of course, the only beer you’ll be able to sample here is Amsterdam, their signature brews like Big Wheel, 3 Speed, Blonde and Boneshaker all on tap.
There are also several experimental “adventure brews” always available here, along with harder to find Amsterdam bottles.
Flights are $9 and actually come in a range of preset options named for Toronto neighbourhoods.
The “King & Portland” flight includes samples of Big Wheel amber ale, the Downtown Brown nut brown ale, the strong and popular Boneshaker (a personal brunch/lunch favourite of mine) and one of the rotating adventure brews. The upper level has a shuffleboard table and projector, the private event space capable of holding 50.
It’s surely a boon to the Leaside neighbourhood where the best known restaurant for a long while has been Old Yorke Fish & Chips across the street.