Following months of rumours in Toronto’s craft beer scene, Amsterdam Brewery finally announced that it’s leaving its Bathurst Street location to set up a new, larger (and retail-friendly) brewery in Leaside. The brewing area at the new space will be featured behind a massive 40-foot-by-10-foot glass wall, and there’ll be a 2,000-square-foot room for casking events, corporate gigs and seminars. The big surprise, however, was Amsterdam’s announcement that it will return to its brewpub roots in grand and ambitious fashion, with a 900-seat hangar-sized restaurant (300 of the seats will be on a waterside patio) at 245 Queens Quay West, near Harbourfront Centre, the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Steam Whistle Brewery.
The brewpub’s focus will be on small-run specialty brews, like Amsterdam’s IPA/Chardonnay hybrid, and a “beer-inspired menu” to accompany them (Amsterdam is mum on details at the moment). The ambitious move will play out against Toronto’s sometimes fickle relationship with the brewpub concept. Mill Street’s Distillery District operation has been a staple for 10 years, and the relatively new Bellwoods Brewery is already a standout on the competitive Ossington strip, but the much-hyped Duggan’s closed its doors after little over a year (and Denison’s didn’t have much luck in the same space before that—the building is now the don’t-call-it-a-brewpub Beer Academy). Hopefully, between the tourist-perfect waterfront location, the patio and Toronto’s burgeoning love of craft beer, Amsterdam’s return to the brewpub scene will be triumphant and not transitory. Projected opening date: May 2013.