All posts by Crave Stev

best in toronto craft beer

6 Best IPA Craft Beers Made in Toronto

From sweet-to-bitter-to-fruity-sour, there’s nothing quite like the taste journey Toronto craft brewers bring us on with their best India Pale Ales.

The Best IPAs in Toronto:

6. Daywalker by Rainhard (3.9% / 500ml bottle / $5.95)

daywalker session ipa by rainhardAs you enjoy the bitter and sweet lemon taste adventure, you probably won’t notice this beer is only 3.9%. This light beauty is crafted with a backbone right to its bitter finish.

5. Shapeshifter by Halo (6.5% / 500ml bottle / $6.50)

shapeshift best sour ipa halo breweryStarts with fruity blasts of sweet  and tart  before a bomb of hops. This sour IPA will baffle you in the best possible ways.

4. Boneshaker by Amsterdam (7.1% / 473ml can / $3.35)

boneshaker toronto best ipa

Familiar fruit aromas and wide spread availability make Boneskaker a reliable friend for when you want that awakening, hopped-up bitter finish.

3. Headstock by Nickel Brook (7% / 473ml can / $3.45)

headstock ipaVibrant hops with moderate bitterness make for a blissful journey that concludes with a stunningly creamy finish.

2. Octopus Wants to Fight by Great Lakes (6.2% / 473ml can / $3.25)

Octopus Wants to Fight

Sweet upon first sip, this trickster sinks you into a sea of calm with its moderate bitterness.

1. Roman Candle by Bellwoods (6.8% / 500ml bottle / $6.50 )

#1 topbest ipa made in toronto

Your journey starts with a magical citrus pine aroma that soothes your senses into the smooth easy drinking adventure that is to come. Not as dry as many IPAs, this beer has won the hearts of Torontonians, and helped establish the stellar Bellwoods Brewery reputation that makes non-Torontonians jealous.

legalisation day in Toronto October 17, 2018

Top 3 Events for Legalisation Day Fun

Marijuana, weed, cannabis, ganja, dope, pot, whatever you want to call it, goes live for legal sale October 17th, and Toronto will forever change.

Are you ready for legalisation day?

There will be only one legal place to buy weed on the 17th (dispensaries are vanishing).  Delivery times and prices haven’t been released, but we know a variety of weed, oils and seeds will be for sale.

“Where were you the day of legalisation?”

Whether you’re a toker or straight edge, not being part of this historic day would be a mistake. Explore and re-discover our city as a marijuana friendly frontier. Smoking weed in parks, streets and anywhere else cigarettes can be smoked will be legal. If there was ever a time for 24k gold rolling papers this is it!

weed won october 17 legalisation t-shirt

Top 3 legalisation events:

3. Weed Won at Hotbox, 204 Augusta Ave.

Stop into the lounge and potio anytime after 11am. There will be DJs and all the paraphernalia you didn’t know you needed. Go for a munchie adventure afterwards.

2. Bud Drop at Mod Club, 722 College Street.

Be part of the countdown to midnight with Dwayne Gretzky New Year’s Eve style.

1. Trinity Bellwoods Park, 790 Queen Street West.

Be part of Toronto’s first publicly legal group toke at 4:20pm.

home of the brave king west

Toronto’s Favourite Bar Just Closed

We uncovered Toronto’s favourite bar last summer by surveying our subscribers.

And now, Toronto is going to need a new American themed bar with fun food, drinks, staff and music to fill the top spot.

After five years on King Street West, the lease is up on Home of the Brave. Like so many other downtown spaces, the landlord is going in a different (bigger money) direction.

best bars on King Street WestHome of the Brave was a popular pit stop any night of the week for fun food, drinks, staff and music

In a fitting end, their final night featured burgers and drinks for five bucks a pop.

Keep Reading: 6 Bucket List Toronto Cocktails.

buy online ontario cannabis

Why buying weed on 10/17 will be a bad trip

The new Ontario government’s late decision to allow private cannabis retailers to sell weed legally starting in April, 2019 means that  “10/17” will be an online-only government affair.

You can legally buy weed starting October 17th

There are about 120 licensed cannabis producers in Canada, the Ontario Cannabis Store has enlisted 32 of them as suppliers. Most of these cannabis suppliers will be offering a variety of brands and strains, which will make for a buffet of online weed selection starting October 17, 2018.

RELATED: Top 3 legalisation day events.

What type of weed should you buy?

Faced with a selection of new cannabis brands and strains you’ve never heard of, how will you distinguish between all the choices, let alone figure out which one will give you the desired effect you’re seeking?

buy weed legal October 17 toronto ontarioBuying weed from the government could be a similar experience to buying from a vending machine

Where’s the budtender?

The value add of going to a dispensary is the “budtender”.

A budtender takes the time to talk with you about the different strains, effects and dosages to help you find the weed that’s right for you. On October 17th you’re going to be buying weed from a government website that won’t include any aspects of the budtender experience.

buy weed from budtenderA budtender explains the difference between various brands and strains to a customer

Will The Ontario Cannabis Store know what to do?

The LCBO hasn’t exactly set the bar high for Ontario government customer experience.

Customers will inevitably buy weed from OCS.ca without understanding what the effects of that weed will be. So how will The OCS handle the customer service calls from customers having bad trips? “Please hold while we… (figure this out)”.

toronto dispensary 606 dundas wake and bake

There was a wake (and bake) for a weed dispensary in Toronto

There will be no room for weed dispensaries in Toronto when the Ontario government starts selling cannabis online October 17, 2018.

The Ontario government is creating a weed monopoly

To establish a temporary Ontario cannabis monopoly, Ontario Finance Minister Vic Fedeli has threatened “zero tolerance” for existing Ontario dispensaries selling weed with “severe and escalating fines for any infractions”.

What are Toronto dispensary owners doing?

Some current Toronto dispensary operators are choosing to shut down operations before October 17th (or before being raided) for a chance to obtain a legal cannabis retail license that would allow them to open in April 2019.

toronto dispensary 606 dundas wake and bakeA Trinity Bellwoods dispensary that opened in 2016 held a “Wake and Bake” to commemorate its recent closing

Keep Reading: Why buying weed on 10/17 will be a bad trip

Top 5 Patios for Summer 2018

Toronto patios have unrolled, and you’re thinking about enjoying your favourite beverage on one of them.

There is a lot to consider when searching for your perfect outdoor spot. Understanding what contributes to your perfect patio, is kind of like defining your perfect mate.

This is what we consider: Sun and shade, decor and view, food and drink, prices and location, street noise and music.

Top 5 spots to enjoy patio season:

5. Assembly111 Richmond St. W.

Tucked away in between downtown office towers, this new patio comes complete with DJ beats, on trend decor (Bay Street suits included) and best of all… a booze trailer slinging whatever corporate drink brand you like.

4. Allen’s143 Danforth Ave.

best patio Danforth Ave

As you mull the long beer list, the gorgeous century-old willow will cast its calming shade over you on this chill patio.

3. Gusto 101101 Portland St.

gusto patio king street

Tucked above the hustle and bustle of King Street West, this (of course bustling) Italian restaurant offers a remarkable food and wine menu at affordable prices. The 90-seat rooftop patio boasts wine at $1/oz. Share a fresh ricotta and spinach “spinaci” pizza ($18), order whatever size glass of wine you’re feeling, sit back, and enjoy summer’s beautiful people.

2. Bandit Brewery, 2125 Dundas St. W.

bandit brewery dundas street

Enjoy a wide variety of fresh onsite brewed beer ($10 for a flight of 4 samples) on one of this brew pub’s communal tables. Once your inhibitions relax, say hi to your neighbours and order the beer battered, salty and mouthgasmic deep fried cheese curds ($9).

1. Amsterdam Brewhouse245 Queens Quay W.

Experience cottage country in the city at “The Brewhouse”. Sip fresh craft beer and watch the yachts roll by- right on Lake Ontario.

Which Toronto patio is your favourite?

Best Toronto Happy Hours

Top 10 Happy Hour Bars in Toronto

Happy hour in Toronto is precarious, and with the rising cost of living- precious.

After years of banning happy hours, the government allows reduced drink prices during certain times of day, as long as it’s not called “happy hour”.

So whether it’s “social club hour,” “appy hour,” “zinc and drink,” or has no name at all, you can still find a happy hour- wait don’t call it that!

With all these different names and lack of advertising, it can be hard to find cheap drinks…

Top 10 places for cheap after-work drinks:

10. AFT: 686 Queen Street E, 647-346-1541

Aft bar Queen East Happy Hour

You will feel like you’re having casual drinks in a friend’s backyard at this laid-back Leslieville/Riverside spot. Before 6pm Monday-Friday, enjoy a 16 oz glass of Sapporo, PBR or Wellington for $5.25. Tip: Ask about their smoked BBQ.

9. The Citizen: 522 King Street W, 416-703-2800

Happy Hour King Street West

This King West spot is loud and fun. Tuesday to Friday 5-7pm enjoy $5 drinks: 20 oz pints (Heineken, Creemore, Banquet, Murphy’s Stout, Newcastle, Belgian Moon), Strongbow cider, house wine or bar rail mixed drinks. Hit the patio for an even livelier scene.

8. Northwood: 815 Bloor Street, 416-846-8324

This bar carefully curates a rotating menu of local craft beers that are all $2 off from 5-7pm everyday. Keeping up with new releases from Collective Arts, Junction and Beau’s will make you a regular.

7. Prohibition Gastro House: 696 Queen Street E, 416-406-2669

Happy Hour Bars Queen Street East

There’s something for all your friends during “Hooch Hour”: Even premium liquors like Glenlivet and Grey Goose get “the hooch” treatment along with 18oz pints (Beau’s, Pilsner Urquell, Stiegl, Creemore) and 6 oz wine pours for just $5.09 at this Lesieville spot from 5-7pm daily.

6. Pearl Diver: 100 Adelaide Street E, 416-366-7827

Toronto happy hour

Weekdays 3-6pm get a featured pint of beer (usually Wellington) for $5 and 12 oysters for $18. The seafood tower (pictured) is half price ($30) on Tuesdays 6-10pm.

5. Liberty Commons: 42 Liberty Street,  416-304-9403

Liberty Villlage Bars Toronto

Located inside the Big Rock Brewing complex, this laid back gastropub offer you a 14 oz glass of Big Rock Lager for just $3.50 or an Old Fashioned for $7 every single day 5-7pm.

4. Luma: 2nd Floor, 330 King Street W, 647-288-4715

King Street Happy Hour

This swanky restaurant on the second floor of the TIFF Lightbox offers 6 different styles of manhattans, at just $6 each you might want to try them all- Monday to Friday 4-9pm.

3. Baro: 485 King Street W, 416-363-8388

Toronto King West Restaurants Best

On the second floor of this King West hot spot between 5-7pm you will find “Fiesta Hour”: $5 snacks such as beef and tuna hand rolls can be paired with a $5 glass of wine or $20 sangria pitcher.

2. Home of the Brave: 589 King Street W, 416-366-2736

Toronto's #1 bar

Voted Toronto’s favourite bar, this King West hot spot offers you a $5 12oz mug of beer or a $9 old fashioned weekdays 5-7pm. Eye candy is free;)

1. Bar Neon: 1226 Bloor Street, 647-748-6366

The undeniably cool atmosphere of this Bloordale neighborhood spot offers buck-a-shuck and $5.50 16 oz craft beer pours everyday 5-7pm. The backyard patio has a laid back vibe perfect after a long workday.

Quoted prices do not include tax. Happy hours are known to change or disappear, not a bad idea to call ahead.

Keep Reading: 3 Places for Boozy Brunch

toronto food festival fun

Toronto’s Food Truck Event of the Year is Now Free!

Raise your fork- Food Truck Festival Ontario has a new downtown location and free admission!

ftfo 2017

You will enjoy summer’s final weekend with friends on the grassy Sherbourne Common. Savour the direct view of Lake Ontario and exclusive $6 menu items from the city’s favourite food trucks, as they compete for your vote in their quest to win the Golden Fork Trophy.

Some of the mouthgasmic tastes you can look forward to:

best Toronto food truck

Peking Duck Poutine by Me.N.U

beset food truck eats

Avocado Fries by Untamed Chef

toronto ice cream truck

Build your own ice cream creation by Bake 350

toronto churros

Dulce de Leche Churros by Cha Cha Churros

Want to live like a Foodstar for the day? Checkout their VIP pass.

How to Become a Food Festival Master

Every summer weekend Toronto hosts some sort of food festival.

Numerous vendors gather for a day of yum, offering you a lot of options. Really enticing options that range a variety of tastes that you may not have the chance to try for a long long time, maybe ever!

FOMO is inevitable. Even seasoned foodies with stretchy pants have failed to capture all the tastes at Toronto’s top food festivals. But with your team foodie fun in tow, maybe, just maybe… YOU CAN.

6 steps to becoming a food festival master:

1. Assemble team foodie.

It is desirable you trust the tastes of each team member. Will they make a winning choice when faced with an extensive menu? Is it possible they could have a snaccident?

2. Plan your attack.

With so many options, your team needs a plan. Which vendors will you target first? Second? Third? Will there be themed rounds- Asian? Sweet? Savoury? Vegan? Your options are usually endless, have fun with it!

toronto food festival fun

3. Divide.

Each team member goes on their own mission to find their assigned dish- Go!

4. Conquer.

With a dish successfully secured. Resist the temptation to taste your catch on the walk back to your team.

5. Re-group.

Talk about your dishes, take pictures of your dishes, share your dishes- you’re team foodie fun!

6. More (and more) food.

Repeat steps 3-5 until you’ve conquered all the offerings the festival has to offer!

WARNING: After round 4 it is common to lose a team member to a food coma. Deal with this by slapping them lightly on the belly.

Tag your team foodie fun below!

Top 5 Food Festivals for Summer 2017

It’s the season you’ve been waiting for.

But with so many festivals, how to best plan a successful festival season?

Top 5 Summer Food Festivals:

5. Waterfront Night Market: August 11-13, Hearn Generating Station.

t and t night marketExperience a full-on Asian outdoor night market at a new venue in the Port Lands. Try all the specialty Asian dishes you’re afraid to order at a restaurant, because you’re not sure what will arrive. All your senses will be stimulated (aromas of stinky tofu and rotting garbage included) as the food cooks before your eyes.

 

4. The Stop Night Market: June 13-14, 181 Sterling Road.

toronto foodie event 2017

For two days a year, a gravel parking lot turns into a weeknight food and drink wonderland. For $100, you get unlimited consumption from pop-ups like Oyster BoyEnoteca Sociale, Dailo, Henderson BreweryNorman Hardie and Georgian Bay Spirits. Book the next day off to nurse your food coma and hangover.

 

3. Taste of Toronto: June 15-18, Fort York.

taste toronto festival Taste doesn’t just gather the local restaurant community in one place for your eating pleasure, they offer classes and demonstrations for your inner chef. $23.50 gets you entry (no food included).

 

2. Taste of The Danforth: August 11-13, Danforth Ave.

taste of danforthClaiming to be Canada’s largest street festival, be prepared for an ocean of people and snaking lineups. Danforth Ave becomes a smoky lamb spit for three glutinous days.

 

1. Food Truck Festival Ontario: September 16-17, Sherbourne Common.

This now free festival gives you the ultimate foodie adventure: Divide, conquer and sample $6 menu items from Ontario’s best food trucks, then become a foodie judge. The truck with the most votes wins the coveted Golden Fork Trophy!

Which Summer Food Festival is Your Favourite?