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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Eephus: East End Breweries Get Real, Part 2

Eephus. Pronounced Ee-Fus. It certainly had a ring to it, so when Pioneer first heard the name of this craft beer, we had to find out what it meant and why. Our ‘research’ led us to a brewery that mixes two good ol’ fashioned past times: beer & baseball. Left Field Brewery is taking Toronto by storm and they’re laying down roots here in the east end.

Pioneer was lucky enough to stop by the brand new Left Field brewery on a brew day when the heady scent of yeast was in the air. Co-owner Mandie Murphy was busy putting the finishing touches on the retail shop, which has been open as a pop-up (or in baseball terms, a fly ball) for the past few weeks. For her and her husband Mark, owning their own brewery is a dream come true after spending years building the Left Field empire outside of the GTA.

When the couple accidentally discovered an old brick factory tucked into a spot on Wagstaff Drive, they made the big move. It’s taken over a year of renovations, including tearing down pink walls, digging up floors for drainage and replacing windows and doors but the new space is a showstopper.

Mandie and Mark live along the Danforth and according to them, picking a spot in the east end was a no brainer.

“There’s a strong sense of community here and we knew there was support for local businesses – and no craft brewery yet!” She also pointed out that East York has always represented when it comes to craft beer. After all, The Only has been specializing in it for over a decade.

As the province continues to debate about retailing craft beer and the opportunities for growth in that sector, Left Field is a good example of why this is such a relevant conversation. By the numbers, they’ve already made an impact to the community by creating five full time jobs and four part time spots. The brewery has been built to expand in the future to triple its current capacity, which means even more jobs.

But we’re forgetting about the most important part of this story. Their beer is good! Actually, it’s great. Left Field brews beers with a focus on quality and flavor, using traditional methods and the best ingredients. Their starting line-up includes five or six regulars plus a star pitcher every so often, including an upcoming collaboration with Pilot Coffee next door.

And what about Eephus? We know at least one of our readers is a huge baseball fan and will most likely get this reference, but if your name doesn’t start with a C and end with a Y, you won’t know that it’s the name of a very rare baseball pitch. Thrown only a few times a year, an Eephus catches the batter off guard. Kind of like this Left Field easy drinking brown ale, minus the fat sweaty ump behind the plate.

Left Field opens for business at some point in the very near future, but you can catch their fly balls in the meantime so stay tuned to their social media feeds (@LFBrewery & leftfieldbrewery).

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