Our brewery tour took us to an older part of downtown Toronto to visit the Steam Whistle brewery, home of, as the brewery calls it, "Canada's Premium Pilsner." This tour will tell you how the brewery is linked to the history of the railroad, what makes them a "green" brewery and why it will be there for many years to come. We won't spoil the tour for you, but let's just say it starts and ends with a free sample and you can take home beer, a bottle opener, or a Steam Whistle glass. Steam Whistle has been voted in the top 5 of all tourist destinations in Toronto by TripAdvisor.com. Visit the Steam Whistle site for more information.
We took the tour of Steam Whistle's facility in December 2010. The brewery is located in the old railway Roundhouse at 255 Bremner Blvd. in Toronto, just behind the CN Tower. If you're interested in trains, turn up a little bit early and see several examples of old locomotives and rail cars on display just outside the brewery. The Roundhouse used to operate as a Canadian Pacific steam locomotive repair facility.
Steam Whistle brews a single beer. It is a Pilsner, which is a type of pale lager that takes its name from the city of Pilsen, Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Steam Whistle's particular Pilsner is produced using hops imported from Germany which give it a distinct, slightly bitter taste.Steam Whistle's brewing process uses just four natural ingredients: the German hops already mentioned, barley from Saskatchewan, spring water from Ontario and yeast from Hungary.This is almost in compliance with the Reinheitsgebot, or "Bavarian Purity Law" requiring that the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops, the yeast being the only additional ingredient used by Steam Whistle.
Having grown up drinking slightly bitter British ales I really enjoyed this beer, although if your preference is the mainstream mass produced North American beers it may not be to your taste. Free samples are available before and after the tour, the tour being a bit basic but worthwhile nonetheless. I went with the 6 Pack tour myself, which gets you the tour and a 6 pack to take home for $15.00 at the time of writing.
Definitely a worthwhile experience overall. Details of Steam Whistle's tours can be found at http://www.steamwhistle.ca/tour/tourInfo.php