Goose Island Brewhouse is the newest addition to The Esplanade’s long line of brewpubs and bars, making it the destination to experience Toronto’s thriving craft beer scene. Originating in Chicago in 1988 and having made a name for itself in the U.S., Goose Island has successfully crossed the border by collaborating with the renowned Bier Markt to open its first Canadian location.
Goose Island has two patios: one in front and one out back, where they also grow their own hops. The industrial look of the interior ties back to the history of the building, which was once a factory that manufactured milling products. While respecting the cultural heritage of the space, Goose Island has also added their own touch to it, with the place decked out in wood, surrounded by brick walls and embellished with hanging light fixtures.
At Goose Island, they’ve got brewing down to a science with their line of state-of-the-art machines that transform husks of grain into golden draughts. While you’re sitting on one of the many hightop chairs that are sprinkled across the restaurant, you can see the entire beer making process unfold in front of your eyes, but the education doesn’t stop there. Goose Island offers an interactive experience where guests can get tours of the brewhouse, talk to the brewers and get schooled in the art of craft brewing.
Goose Island offers an eclectic selection of brews on tap that’s ever changing, featuring three classic brews alongside eight in-house recipes developed by head brewer Bernard Priest-Blais and assistant brewer Marc Mammoliti. Their beer menu features bitters, pale ales, pilsners, saisons, lagers and more.
Their goal is to “brew things that are complex but approachable,” according to Priest-Blais. Staying true to the mission, all of Goose Island’s innovative creations have their own style, their own story to tell through the myriads of flavours and aromas. Whether you’re a beer aficionado, someone who loves a good drink, or a newbie to the craft beer scene, there’s something for everyone.
Their bestsellers include the Goose IPA, an English Style IPA with a citrusy finish; and the Allora, made with a generous helping of raspberries that make it light and refreshing.
To get the optimal experience, good drinks need to be paired with good food, which is why Goose Island partnered up with Executive Chef Kevin Maniaci and Chef de Cuisine Shawn Jackson to develop seasonal menus that complement the line of quality beers.
According to Jackson, they wanted to create a menu featuring homey, easygoing comfort foods that worked well with the brews. They aim to use fresh and local ingredients whenever possible.
One of the chef’s personal favourites is the Chicago sausage dog, made with a beer-infused sausage that pays homage to Chicago’s favourite comfort food. However, his all-time fave is the Low & Slow Reuben sandwich featuring layers of tender brisket cured in-house, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and house-made mustard.
Whether you know your beer or not, Goose Island Brewhouse provides a gateway into the intricate world of craft beer, and you’ll learn something different with every visit. Their mission is to create beers that “keeps you coming back,” and with something new and interesting always brewing in those tanks, you just might have a reason to.
Goose Island Brewhouse is open Sunday to Wednesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 am and Thursday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 2:00 am.
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