I've heard it said that the non-mainstream beer situation in Toronto is dire. Craft-beer enthusiasts spoiled by choice in other parts of the globe bemoan as oppressive the consumer beer-trade controls in Ontario, where 80% of beer sales is through The Beer Store—a government-mandated monopoly co-owned by three very large brewers—and the remaining 20% handled by the state-owned Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO).
And yet, there is hope for hops liberation, most of it in the form of quality alternative breweries and beer bars, where direct sale of your favorite brews is permitted. Fortunately, the greater Toronto area is increasingly thick with them.
In a new town, though, it often isn't enough for me just to know that I have somewhere to go. Or even to know where to go. If possible, I like a knowledgeable native to give me the lay of the land, put it into a solid historical and cultural context and then help me sip my way through the local best.
Lo and behold, that's exactly what Beer Makes History Better does. A three-and-a-half-hour walking tour offered by Toronto Urban Adventures, it uses taste stops at three beer-centric pubs to bring to life the city's history, especially how beer and brewing have played a part. And, several tipples of really good craft brew later, it proves very handily that Toronto has the good stuff too and that it really does make history better.