Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Urban Eats @ The Beer Hall, Toronto
I got my beer on at the grand opening of The Beer Hall, the newest, more sophisticated and upscale member of the Mill St. Brew Pub family. They don’t call it the grand opening for nothing. It was packed! Located in the charming and distinctive Distillery District, the Hall is a vast open space with ample indoor and outdoor seating, featuring high-top family style seating inside and a lovely, spacious patio surrounded by historic Victorian industrial architecture that defines the district. They also have a working fireplace on the patio, upping the chic factor. With seating for 500+, The Beer Hall is the perfect go-to place to enjoy the summer sun while enjoying a casual ‘bevie’ with a friend or with a group for a fun night out.
As a guest of the grand opening I was able to sample new menu items and beers created for The Beer Hall including traditional German-style Bierschnaps distilled twice; first in a beer then a copper spirit still onsite. The still is the centrepiece in the hall; encased in glass it is on display like a large shiny, polished piece of artwork.
On tap are three new beers Minimus Dubbel, Curious Parrot and Distillery Ale and three different flavours of Biershnaps, Tankhouse, Coffee Porter and Frambozen. My beer pick is the Distillery Ale, great for summer, it is light, smooth and refreshing with a hint of caramel.
If you want to give the Biershnaps a go, try the Coffee Porter selection; but as a warning, at 45% it’s seriously strong. I had a shot that instantly made me cough and my eyes tear up.
The menu consists of tapas style share plates created by Chef Elizabeth Rivasplata, Top Chef Canada contestant and formerly of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Each menu item has a recommended beer pairing, leaving no room for any indecisiveness over what to order. The kitchen served up a selection of bite sized menu items for us to try.
While I didn’t get to try everything they were ushering out, these are a few of the dishes I liked the most:
Potato and Ricotta Dumplings with wild mushroom ragout – Perfect, savoury little dumplings, this dish is like upscale comfort food!
Stone Oven Flat with spicy chorizo, salsa, fresh cilantro, smoked Mozzarella and guacamole crème fraiche – The dough is made daily using Mill St. Original Organic Lager. This flatbread is subtly sweet with just a wee hint of spice and creaminess from the crème fraiche drizzle.
Pulled pork sliders – I always love a nice helping of juicy pulled pork! Tender, smoky, sticky sweet, this version was pretty good.
They also have a nice range of house made and locally sourced cured meat and cheeses served with a variety of fresh breads and delicious spreads. I especially loved the apple butter spread!
Personally, I would pass on the mini lamb and lavender sausage sliders and the buffalo sweetbread nuggets.
The Beer Hall has quite a large menu with many interesting choices and a lot of savoury, hearty fare such as braised short ribs, steak and chips and an awesome sounding pork board with smoked pork belly, glazed pork shank, bratwurst and candied apple pretzel. I am looking forward to coming back to try out the rest of their menu.
Natalia Dziubaniwsky is a professional in the not-for-profit sector and an avid traveller forever searching for a new adventure. A lover of life, wildlife enthusiast, movie buff and hobbyaholic, you can interact with her on Twitter @taliasfootsteps or simply follow her footsteps through her blog.