'Shacklands Brewing' - Brew Pub Review

Shacklands Brewing
100 Symes Road #101, Toronto

I went to Shacklands on a Wednesday afternoon. They do flights, and I had the 3X Berry Sour, Chai Dubbel w/Lactose, Spectre Brett IPA, and the Tripel. The berry sour was surprisingly good, with a strong but not overpowering mix of berry flavours and a moderate sourness. I bought a bottle from their fridge for later (only to discover a couple days later that the sample size was the right amount for me ...). The Chai Dubbel was really interesting, with a distinct flavour of chai herbs and spices overlaying the richness of a Dubbel. That one they only made a small amount - in house and on tap only. The Brett was a good but not outstanding IPA, and the Trippel was somewhat sweet and interesting and a bit too rich, as Trippels usually are.

The bar is surprisingly chaotic, oddly combining a newly-built look with a bad case of a pack-rat's possessions having exploded on the place. Not that it was a bad thing, at least not for me: the owner was in a punk band in Toronto in the Eighties, and has lined the walls with a fascinating collection of Eighties chotchkes. My favourite was a Devo figurine still in its original plastic packaging, that included one figure - and four extra heads so you could have whichever band member you wanted (but only one at a time).

12 taps gave a fairly wide selection of beers. There are a couple snacks on offer, but no real food. I don't think they have a patio.

Of the three microbreweries on Symes Road, this was the most entertaining and had the widest selection of beers.

photo: The owner has a lot of Eighties chotchkes

An incredible selection of paraphenalia - cheap old cameras, Devo memorabilia, old phones ...

photo: My flight - love those berry-based sours

four beers, one a vivid red-purple colour

photo: The taps.

twelve taps plus a couple chockboards listing the available brews