What happens when two friends – one vegetarian and one omnivore – decide to have dinner in Toronto? Typically it would result in one friend eating salad all night while the other enjoys a burger, or neither eating what they really want, while still paying top dollar for a night out in the city. When the opportunity to visit Northern Maverick Brewing Company arose, it was an interesting challenge for us – would we both be able to eat to our heart’s content or would one remain hangry by the end of the night? Since some of our favourite hobbies include eating and drinking, this adventure piqued our interest.
Nestled in the coveted King West neighbourhood, Northern Maverick Brewing Company officially opened its doors on September 19, 2017 and can be found only a few steps away from the corner of Bathurst and Adelaide. Immediately, you’ll notice the substantial footprint of the gastro pub and its cozy industrial styling. The space spans 11,000 square feet with a 10-hectolitre brewhouse and can seat 400 people inside and an additional 100 on the patio. There are multiple seating areas including the Chefs Table, bar seating (including a fresh oyster bar), high top tables, booths and even a private lounge that can be booked for special events. Northern Maverick brews all of its beers on site which can be enjoyed freshly poured or taken to-go thanks to its convenient retail store located just next door (open 11AM – 11PM daily).
While Northern Maverick’s flagship Lager can be found at the LCBO, up to nine beers can be found on tap in the restaurant. The tasting flight is a great option for those who want to sample a variety of beer styles before committing to a full pint. We tasted a variety – including the Lager, New England Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout, White IPA and Brown Ale and found there to be a great range – bitter, rich, juicy, refreshing, and easy to drink. Of the six beers that we tried, our favourite was the Oatmeal Stout due to its rich aromas and flavours of caramel and chocolate, and breadth of pairing options (our tip: try the Oatmeal Stout with fresh oysters; you will be amazed!). For those who prefer cocktails, the Dry Hops Dacquiri (fondly known as the DHD) was a refreshing take on a classic incorporating ingredients used in the beer making process. Northern Maverick also carries local wines and pours your typical well drinks.
When it came to food, many options caught our eye from the grilled octopus to 30 day dry aged steak, elk tartare and Jamaican oxtail patties. We had the pleasure of dining with Jason Kaptyn, Founder/Owner, who helped us navigate the menu. The menu itself is comprised of high-quality items that are made either in-house or sourced locally. The menu changes with the seasons so guests are always able to enjoy fresh, local produce, meats, fish, cheeses and more. We were amazed to learn about how elements of the beer making process are incorporated in many of the dishes. It’s very clear: there is no distinct line between the kitchen and brewery. Executive Chef Mark Cutrara enthusiastically explained the use of wort in their house-made mustard which accompanies the staff-favourite charcuterie board. Our favourites included the warm smoked trout with celery root puree, pickled apple and barbequed vegetables, and customizable charcuterie board (ours was prepared with three meats, three cheeses, pickled veggies, grape jelly, and crostini). The only downside is that there’s only one vegetarian option on the menu, aside from classic soup and salads, was the chef’s local vegetables. But, surprisingly it was large and filling. The vegetables are sourced within 100 kilometers of the downtown core and had a remarkably smoky flavour. The dish is meant to satisfy the palate of our vegan and vegetarian friends, Executive Chef Mark Cutrara revealed, as these flavours are typically found exclusively in barbequed dishes that they cannot eat. Another must-try is the Jamaican oxtail patty which comes with plantain chips and a to-die-for house-made habanero mango sauce, fondly referred to by the staff at Northern Maverick as the inner beauty sauce.
Overall our experience at Northern Maverick Brewing Company was both comfortable and delicious. The atmosphere is welcoming to those who want to kick back and watch the Blue Jays baseball game or a group who wants to catch up over dinner and drinks. The restaurant staff are passionate, knowledgeable, friendly and they are accommodating to those with dietary restrictions. And for the result of our challenge? Both the vegetarian and omnivore left full, content and with a few bottles of beer in-tow.
Address: 115 Bathurst St. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 2P9
Photos provided by Rock-It Promotions.