What to do when visiting Toronto for 24 hours? Craft beers and concerts! This trip was a surprise Christmas present from me to my fiancé. Jess, my fiancé (yes we have the same name), is a HUGE Pink Floyd fan. So when I heard David Gilmour (PF’s lead guitarist) was doing a very rare tour semi-close to home, I decided to book tickets. This was our reason for visiting Toronto.
To try something new, we decided to stay at an airbnb. Airbnbs are condos, houses, boathouses or even tree houses that rent out all over the world to people who would rather stay somewhere other than a hotel. I had never stayed at one before, so I was excited and unsure what to expect. It was an amazing experience. We were on the 16th floor and had an amazing view of the CN Tower and the Toronto skyline. Our host, Judy, greeted us and let us into her condo. She was amazingly helpful in giving us tips of places to visit during our short trip. Would definitely recommend airbnbs! Check them out for your next stay at: http://airbnb.com
Now the craft brews and concert!
We had some time to spare before meeting up with Judy, so Jess and I decided to explore the city. We came upon the Steam Whistle brewery nestled among a smattering of old trains that use to travel through the city. It was also really close to the CN Tower and a short distance from the condo. The bartenders serve you up a free sample upon entering the brewery. The craft brew was refreshing; the atmosphere was lively and fun. It was a cool place to just pop in for a half hour during your exploration of the city. They do conduct tours there, but you have to do a little planning ahead for that. In case you were wondering (because I was) they do not serve food. http://steamwhistle.ca/
After walking around the city for an hour or so, we met Judy and explored our new digs. By this time we were starving, so Judy recommended the Amsterdam Brewhouse for dinner (can you tell we like beer?). Again, it was a short hike from the condo and sat overlooking Lake Ontario. Beautiful. We sat right away and our server was absolutely fantastic in explaining the operations of the brew house. Jess got an oatmeal stout and I tried the blonde lager. Both were delicious. However, what makes this place stand out more than others was that all food items were paired with crafts determined by crisp, malt or hops levels.
We started off with the Amsterdam pretzel appetizer, suggested by our server. The pretzel came with a wort reduction sauce, which I learned is the result of boiling malt and hops down until it forms a sweet syrupy caramel used for dipping. It was delicious. Another great thing about this brew house is that they infuse their brews into most of the dishes they serve. How cool is that? For our meals, Jess had a burger and I had squash ravioli (very diverse menu). 5 stars for food, service, beer and atmosphere. If I ever go back to Toronto, I will definitely hit this place up again! http://amsterdambrewhouse.com/
Lastly, the concert. The David Gilmour concert was at the Air Canada Centre, no more than a mile from the airbnb. We were located in the heart of Toronto. While we were pretty high up in the stands, there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house. The stage could be easily seen from every angle. Although not a huge Pink Floyd fan, I enjoyed the show thanks to Jess briefing me beforehand. http://www.theaircanadacentre.com/
Overall we enjoyed our short visit to Toronto, especially the craft beers and the concert.
P.S. For my shopper friends, there were three IKEAS en route to Toronto. We definitely took advantage of that.
Til next time…