On the surface it seems to serve little purpose to plug a beer that is only available at the one location, and then only for consumption at said location. After all, these types of beers can only be enjoyed by the few happen to be in the area. In the case of Denison’s, even that is apparently not the case, as “Mr. Lager” Radek still hasn’t managed the five-minute walk to Canada’s best lager brewery. Normally, writing about beer this elusive falls into the category of teasing (Calumet Dark, anybody?). But this is different. On July 19th, one of the best-kept beer secrets in North America will be revealed to scores of Ratebeer members.
Denison’s is the name of the brewery, but one does not actually drink at “Denison’s”. The brewpub is actually a complex containing three facilities – Conchy Joe’s Oyster Bar, Louie’s Brasserie, and Growler’s Pub. Unrepentant lush that I am, I head straight for the pub, where I proceed to shine the bar with my sleeve while plowing down the excellent happy hour nachos. Befitting its location in the financial district, Denison’s caters to a corporate crowd, and it’s hours reflect this, but the opportunity to blow off a Friday night on the deck in July is one not to be missed.
The choice to brew lagers seems like an odd one for a serious micro – in Canada most breweries focusing on lagers are of the factory variety, and their lagers are generally not worthy of mention. But the impetus to brew richly malty Bavarian-style beers comes direct from ownership – that being one Prinz Luitpold of Bavaria, who also owns the famed Kaltenburg brewery in his homeland. Kaltenburg’s Dunkel is a product of some reknown, and Denison’s Dunkel should be as well, as it is a hallmark of the style.
But where the brewery really shines is with its Weizen. Sweet, very fruity and complex, this is one of the finest German wheats produced anywhere. With the accent more on the malt than the yeast, it will appeal to fans of Tabernash Weisse. It also has the distinction of being one of the few genuinely thirst-quenching Weissbiers I’ve ever found. And I don’t mean that in a lazy Sunday morning kind of way – I mean you can really fire this stuff back. Part of this character comes from the Bavarian yeast – I don’t mean the same old Weihenstaphaner yeast that every other micro uses – this is the Prinzregent’s own yeast, imported direct from Bavaria.
The other regular beer is the Hell, a true-to-style pale lager, which will be a real eye-opener for those who are unfamiliar with the genuine article. In the past year, Denison’s has also experimented with such esoteric styles as rauchbier and Berliner weisse, so you can expect some fine tasting experiences when you visit Toronto this summer.