The next brewery in the Toronto series is C’est What? (pronounces Say What? because… French). As I conducted my online research before ever going to Toronto, I saw this place listed and noted that it was close to my hotel and had food (the two things I usually need in order to recommend that the people I travel with might want to go there). However, looking at the 90’s style website wasn’t overly selling the place to me. The food listed on the menu looked interesting, but sparse. I kind of got the impression that I was getting ready to go to a fast food place with white plastic tables that also happened to brew their own beer. I could not have been more wrong.
I happened to find myself with a few hours to kill before meeting up with a group of peers for dinner. I figured this was the prime opportunity to check out C’est What? without risking a bad recommendation to my fellow travelers. So, off I went to see just what this place was actually like. When I found the door that lead in, I was still a little leery.
I don’t know why (considering the picture on the door sign of a nice place and the disclaimer that they had been around since 1988), but I still felt like I was about to head into someplace fast-food-like that didn’t really focus on beer. On the trip down the stairs, I started to get myself a clue.
OK. So, this place was at least going to be serious about their beer. You don’t create a mural like that and serve swill. Then I walked into, IMHO, the largest and coolest finished basement I’ve ever seen.
Don’t let the empty tables and chairs make you think this place isn’t “happening”. These pictures were taken at 2pm (the deadest hour of all for any bar/restaurant). The bar itself was also impressive.
Now we’re talking. They even had a really impressive selection of beer.
Including a hemp beer. I know people find these fascinating. I just don’t see the point. But it was cool that they had one.
I ended up staying long enough to talk to several of the bar tenders. Turns out that C’est What? was one of the first craft breweries in Toronto and has been running strong for quite some time. They have a long history of great quality and a dedicated set of beer-loving customers. It’s hard to ask for anything more.
So, despite my original trepidation, C’est What? turned out to be one of the best brewery stops. There was only one problem. No bottles, no cans, no growlers, no crowlers. All I was able to get to commemorate my visit was a pint glass. The beer lover in me rejoiced, the bottle collector in me cried. If you want C’est What? beer (and I highly recommend that you do), you will just have to go to the bar and get it.