Are you a craft beer lover looking to book the best Toronto brewery tours?
Our guide to Toronto brewery tours shares tips on how to plan an independent visit to the best craft breweries in Ontario’s capital.
We also share a comprehensive list of Toronto’s top craft beer and food tours. Join knowledgeable beer guides who take visitors brewery hopping to sip through the city’s best suds.
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Toronto Brewery Tours: History
Dobbernationloves sat down with Toronto craft beer expert Jordan St. John to chat about the city’s brewing history and tours. St. John is the co-author of the Ontario Craft Beer Guide, head of the Beer Certificate at George Brown College and hosts a popular Toronto brewery tour.
The first brewery in Toronto was owned by Robert Henderson and was located at the corner Richmond and Sherbourne. It opened in 1803, at the time when the town of York would have been less than 1000 people. It operated under different names until the 1930’s.
St. John shared, “The impressive thing is that it was the first brewery to make ale under Henderson, and then in the 1850’s it was briefly run by a female brewer before being taken over by a German brewer named John Walz. It mirrored the immigration from Europe over the course of the 19th century.”
Toronto’s brewing history is impressive partly because of the size of some of the breweries. St. John added, “O’Keefe Brewing, which was located where Ryerson University is now produced 500,000 barrels of beer annually before WWI. It would have been mostly lager, but the size is impressive. People used to say that east of Yonge Street people mostly drank ale and west of Yonge Street people mostly drank lager. It’s less to do with that geography and more to do with cultural influence of groups as they show up.”
Toronto Brewery Tour Craft Beer Trends
So how has the growth of Toronto’s craft beer scene effected local tastes? St. John explained, “We used to be brand loyal and buy cases from The Beer Store, which is a chain owned by large international brewing companies. Now there’s a brewery in every neighbourhood. People are buying beer locally and supporting local businesses. There are a lot of mixed fermentation sours out there, and we have the requisite number of hazy IPAs. People are playing around with fruit purees and lactose as well. Even with all that happening, we still have some lighter recognizable styles. There’s something for everyone, which is a wonderful place to be.”
St. John suggests visiting beer lovers utilize the TTC to get around the city on an self guided Toronto brewery tour. “Don’t be afraid of the public transit. It’s safe, affordable, and most of the breweries are located comfortably along streetcar routes. You could just pick a neighbourhood within the city and experience three or four great breweries in the same day. In The Junction neighbourhood, you might choose Shacklands, Rainhard, and People’s Pint. In the East End, you might go to Left Field, Godspeed, and Avling. There are a lot of great combinations that are walkable, and the TTC will get you home safely afterwards,” said St John.
You’re probably wondering, of all the ticketed Toronto brewery tours, which is St. John’s favourite? “I think the one at Steam Whistle is great. It’s comprehensive and since Steam Whistle is best fresh from the tank, you can try samples of it in its best condition. They also have a beer garden now, which is something that really adds versatility to the experience. Get a sausage and a stein of Steam Whistle. You can’t go wrong,” exclaimed St. John.
Best Toronto Hotels
If you’re planning a brewery hopping holiday in Toronto, the city offers accommodation options for every budget.
- The Drake Hotel 3.5 STARS: The Drake is one of Canada’s most sought-after hotels with a unique approach to art, culture, entertainment & hospitality. The funky, individually decorated rooms feature modern artwork and hardwood floors. Enjoy a craft beer or cocktail at the popular rooftop bar. Check Reviews
- Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto 4 STARS: In a striking building opposite Steam Whistle Brewing, this contemporary hotel in the Entertainment District. The polished rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows which offer spectacular waterfront and city skyline views. Check Reviews
- Four Seasons Hotel 5 STARS: In the fashionable Yorkville shopping and restaurant quarter, this high-rise, luxe property features chic suites, luxurious spa, cocktail bar and restaurant by Chef Daniel Boulud. Check Reviews
Plan A Toronto Brewery Tour
We’ve organized this story into two lists to help you find the Toronto brewery tours best suited for your needs.
The first section features a list of Toronto craft breweries that offer regular craft beer tours. They are hosted by brewery staff and include details about the history of the brewery, unique methods of production and a tasting of the brands most notable brews.
The second section of the story lists popular Toronto beer and food tours hosted by independent operators. These tours can often be booked as a public group tour or private VIP experience. The guides are local beer and food experts. They tell the story of Toronto’s brewing history by hopping around to top breweries, brewpubs, beer halls and restaurants.
255 Bremner Blvd, 416-362-2337
Steam Whistle Brewing is by far the most visited brewery in Toronto. The popular tourist attraction is conveniently located by the CN Tower, Rogers Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the scenic Harbourfront.
Toronto brewery tours at Steam Whistle take place in the historic Roundhouse, which features a retail shop, craft beer bar and outdoor patio. It regularly hosts craft beer events, with our favourite being an annual Oktoberfest celebration.
The 30 minute tour moves on catwalks high above the brewery’s bustling production floor. You’ll take in the aromatic smells and sounds of the brewhouse and learn about Steam Whistle’s founding story.
Steam Whistle’s Toronto Brewery tours takes place daily. Cost is $12.
45 Esandar Dr, 416-504-1040
Amsterdam Brewing is situated within Toronto’s scenic Queens Quay, perched over Lake Ontario. The Harbourfront is best visited during the warmer months of the year as tourists and locals flock to enjoy the lakeside neighbourhood.
Amsterdam Brewing is ideally located right on the water. Its back patio fills to the brim in the busy summer months, offering beer lovers a beautiful view of the lake, dotted with sailboats and canoes.
Amsterdam Brewing offers free 30 minute tours of the brewery on weekends. Guests are led by brewmasters who explain how they make their popular craft beers. Visitors have an opportunity to sample fresh beer, poured straight from the tanks.
Amsterdam’s Toronto Brewery tours take place every Saturday and Sunday between 1-6pm. Cost is Free!
21 Tank House Lane, 416-681-0338
As beer innovators in the Ontario craft beer scene, Mill Street Brewery strives to explore exciting brewing methods. Visitors enjoy a tour of Mill Street’s in-house nano-brewery, which produces unique, small-batch brews. Your tour guide will speak about the historic elements that make up with Distillery District and offer tastings fresh from the tap. Be sure to sample Mill Street’s unique gin and Bierschnaps.
The Toronto brewery tour includes a 30 minute guided tour, 12oz house brew and 3x5oz samples of current seasonals.
Mill Street’s Toronto Brewery tours take place Monday-Friday at 4pm and Saturday and Sunday at 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. Cost is 15.
128A Sterling Rd, 416-535-1212
Henderson Brewing is a popular craft brewery located between Toronto’s Roncesvalles and Junction neighbourhoods. If you’re researching Toronto brewery tours in the city’s west end, Henderson is your best bet.
The Henderson Brewery Tour includes a history of the neighbourhood and brewing in Toronto, guided tour of the brewery, samples of the beers currently on tap and a souvenir tasting glass.
Popular craft beers by Henderson Brewing include Henderson’s Best Amber Ale, Food Truck Lagered Blonde, Monsoon Tropical Sour and Ramble on Rose Pomegranate Saison.
Henderson’s Toronto Brewery tours take place every Tuesday at 7pm. Cost is $10.
You May Also Enjoy These Craft Beer Guides…
- Craft Breweries in Toronto to Romance Me Now
- Best Hamilton Breweries and Craft Cider
- Niagara Breweries: Best Craft Beer From Falls to Fort
- Best Craft Breweries in Kitchener Waterloo
- Muskoka Breweries: Best Craft Beer in Ontario Cottage Country
- Barrie Breweries: Craft Beer at Flying Monkeys, Barnstormer and Redline
- Best Craft Breweries in Montreal
- Vancouver Breweries: Best Craft Beer in British Columbia
- Best Victoria Breweries on Vancouver Island
- Edinburgh Breweries: Scotland’s Best Craft Beer
- Best Craft Breweries in Detroit
75 Horner Ave, 416-252-2739
The popular craft brewery in Etobicoke offers a bottle shop and tasting room that pours pale ales, brown ales, bitter brews and variety of seasonal and experimental offerings.
The brewery tour typically runs from 30-60 minutes and is led by friendly guides who are happy to answer all your beer-making questions. Guests enjoy a tasting of 3 fresh beers as well as an interactive tour of the brewing and packaging process.
Black Oak’s Toronto Brewery tours take place every Saturday between 10am-4pm. Cost is $10.
36 Wagstaff Dr, 647-346-5001
Left Field Brewery’s 45 minute tours offer an an intimate, hands-on learning experience about the brands history, brewing process and ingredients.
Tours include a full-sized welcome pour plus the ability to taste raw ingredients and in-process beer alongside the same finished beer to better understand brewing and the cellaring processes.
Left Field’s Toronto Brewery tours take place Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. Cost is $10.
Book the Best Toronto Brewery Tours
If you’re keen to learn about the beer making process or enjoy a special VIP experience, we suggest booking one of these popular Toronto brewery tours.
Booking a Toronto beer tour with friends means everyone in your group can enjoy tastings throughout the day. Leave your car at home and enjoy a craft beer hopping tour on foot.
Toronto Brewery Tours
These public and private beer tours focus specifically on visiting breweries, brewpubs and beer halls.
- Small-Group Toronto Beer Tour: this 4 hour beer tour of Old Toronto features stops at popular pubs, a brewery and the historic St Lawrence Market.
- Toronto Craft Brewery Tour: this 4 hour Toronto brewery tour is led by a friendly Brew Captain in a 10-seater van. Visit 3 breweries and learn about the beer making process with a beer flight at each stop.
- Historical Craft Beer Tour of The Junction: This 4 hour Toronto brewery tour focuses on showcasing the history and unique beers made in The Junction.
- Toronto Private Craft Brewery Tour: this private Toronto brewery tour is 4 hours and visits 3 of the city’s most popular breweries.
Toronto Food & Beer Tours
We recognize not everyone wants to spend an entire day just drinking beer. Many of Toronto’s best food tours feature stops at local breweries or opportunities to sample local craft beer.
- 1-Hour Distillery History District by Segway: Explore the Distillery District and its cobblestone streets by Segway on this 1 hour tour that features stops to sample chocolate and craft beer.
- Kensington Market Food Tour: This 2.5 hour walking tour explores the best tastes in Toronto’s quirky Kensington Market. Guests visit 6 local multicultural eateries and sample craft beer.
- Toronto Great Canadian Food Tour: This 2.5 hour walking tour explores Kensington Market with tastings of First Nations cuisine, French Canadian poutine and more!
- Toronto Food Experience: Canadian Food Discovery at the St Lawrence Market: This 3 hour tour visit’s the city’s famous food market and includes tastes of locally roast coffee, peameal bacon sandwich, butter tart, pierogies, poutine and maple candy.
- Toronto Obsession III Brunch Cruise: Enjoy a 2.5 hour cruise of Lake Ontario with views of the Toronto skyline while enjoying brunch!
- Toronto World Food Tour: This 5 hour tour explores 5 global cuisines from local hangouts to a nightlife experience.
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