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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Bring It: East End Breweries Get Real, Part 1

According to notable historian Jordan St John, it was beer that built this city from the doors of dozens of local Toronto breweries that slowly disappeared as the 20th century marched forward. Everything old is new again, as craft beer sales are on a meteoric rise and Torontonians are fervently embracing the small batch breweries that make them.

While everyone is eager to discuss the beer monopoly and the how craft beer sales will work in Ontario, Pioneer wanted to learn more about the people behind the beer, in particular the guys and dolls that run our shiny new east end breweries.

Our first stop was Muddy York, one of the three new kids on the brewery block bringing their cool factor to the east end.  Although the small batch brewery is located in a secret hideaway across the O’Connor bridge, Pioneer was thrilled to discover that Brewmaster and founder Jeff Manol lives a stone’s throw from Pioneer HQ and is a solid Danforth East-er.

Although Muddy York has only been on tap since this past January, Manol has already established a strong following among beer lovers and his first two brews – a Porter and an Amber – can be found all over the city. Even with years of expertise in brewing, Manol found out the hard way that opening a brewery is really hard work. His plans to open in 2014 were delayed, primarily in order to get the brews exactly right (our intensive research has confirmed this is true!) which has certainly paid off.

On the Danforth one of Manol’s favourite haunts is The Wren, which was also ironically the very first place to offer the Muddy York porter on tap and where it has stayed a regular up on the daily tap board, attesting to it’s popularity.

What we love about Manol is that he lives a double life, like a lot of us around here: working a regular day job while simultaneously chasing a passion. He plans to switch that up in the future, with dreams of one day brewing full time. He has a store front planned for his current location but is positive that in time he will expand and be running Muddy York from a larger, more central location (and hopefully on the Danforth!). 

For now, if you're looking for a pint and The Wren is packed, you can also find the good stuff at The Borough!

Next up, Pioneer is visiting with the next new kid in the east Left Field Brewery and their shiny new digs. Plus, stay tuned for more about the mystery Danforth Brewery!

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