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Past & Present of Craft Beer in Toronto

On this blog, it's really not just about the food, it's also about beer and Toronto history. I attended an event at the Market Kitchen, above the infamous St. Lawrence Market, on the past and present of craft beer in Toronto. With this there were 5 local beers paired with 5 foods, all ingredients sourced from the St. Lawrence Market itself. 

It started in the museum one floor up from the kitchen, where, our host, resident curator and fearless beer judge, Wayne Reeves, took us through the journey of Toronto's craft beer scene and how it came to be what we have today. It was really interesting to hear about the effects of prohibition and what happened after as well as the rise and fall of various breweries. He briefly touched on ingredients, beer books and even showed off a little early 1900's beer swag. Neat! 

From there, we eagerly headed to the kitchen. Each place setting had utensils, a glass of water, pencil and beer evaluation sheet. This sheet was not a judge evaluation, but just enough to help us describe what we were smelling, seeing and tasting in each sample. As each sample and food pairing was served, Wayne would describe the beer's aroma and tasting notes and why it paired with that food. It was a great experience to have a pro help you put into words what you're experiencing. I have a lot of trouble distinguishing fruits, so when he listed the fruits he was smelling or tasting it really helped me hone in on it.  

All of the tasty food pairings were sourced from the St. Lawrence Market, on the floor below us. Gabrielle Bright, the talented Kitchen Manager, was kind enough to send me where each ingredient came from within the market.  

Here are the pairings: 
1.Junction's Trainspotter - Munich Helles Lager 
 2.Henderson's Best – English Bitter 

3.Muddy York's Porter 
4.Left Field's Anniversary No. 5 

5.Great Lake's Karma Citra – IPA 
1.Peameal Bacon Sandwich from Carousel Bakery & Kozlik's Canadian Mustard 
2.Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar from Scheffler's Deli & Cheese 
3. Steak & Mushroom Pie from That Pie Place 
4.Scallop Ceviche from Family Foods and Mike's Fish Market 
5.Carrot Cake from The Market Kitchen 

The guests I was sitting with were as enthusiastic as I was about this event. We freely gave our opinions on each of the beers and pairings. As the beer community does, we helped each other out with possible pairings or new beers to try.  The final 2 pairings were my absolute favourite. The Chef did an excellent job! My least favourite was the cheese pairing; the cheese muted or overpowered the flavours of the beer. All of the food was great quality and so, so fresh. 

I chatted with Wayne a bit after and he is so gracious. Full of beer knowledge, he encouraged us to ask questions. It was such a pleasure to meet him and the team at the Market Kitchen. 

Wayne is hosting another event, All About Stouts, on St. Patrick's Day. I expect this one will sell out as well. Head to https://www.themarketkitchen.ca/classes-teas.html to get your tickets and see what else is coming up! 

I've said it once and I'll say it again, the Toronto beer community is the BEST.  


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