Best Brewpub in Toronto - C'est What

I wanted to go to C'est What Brewpub (Toronto: Old Town/St. Lawrence Market) for the clever name alone, but when I looked at the drink menu, the deal was sealed. This is because the week before, I had started my "whiskey phase," so that whiskey is now my drink of choice, and their whiskey menu is spectacular.

Be careful because you have to keep your eyes peeled in order to not miss the storefront. Once inside you walk downstairs into a nice, large space with a bar in the middle and lots of seating on either side that kind of forms three distinct rooms.


I started with "Mother Pucker's Ginger Wheat: An unfiltered, full-bodied citrus flavoured wheat ale with a refreshing dry finish. nitro-tap, 5.4%" - All CW draughts are $6.75 for 550 mml and $4.50 for 339 mml.
As you bring the just settled creamy head to your nose, you can smell the ginger and something that actually seems like cream. The taste is smooth, creamy, ginger wheat. I sort of think that every beer should be nitro-tap - it's just so much fucking creamier, and I am a whore for creaminess. According to the waiter, the ginger flavor all comes from real ginger, and this year's recipe is more gingery than last year. Don't be afraid though, it's really not too spicy or powerful, it's... well it's perfect. The head remained at almost a centimeter the whole time. This is the best beer I've ever had.


They make several other beers:

I was devastated to find out that they had just run out of Steve's Dreaded Chocolate Orange.  See the full beer menu here (where they also have yummy descriptions).

My waiter, who was as friendly as can be, got me a sample of the caraway rye beer, and he probably would've let me sample every beer they have on tap, but I didn't want to overdo it. The caraway rye beer was very refreshing, with a smooth, slightly sweet, gentle crispness, but I didn't taste any caraway.


I perused the menu, on which they fairly cutely include a number of fun quotes relating to drinking:

Notice also that for $1.95, you can substitute poutine for a salad! Amazing! Poutine really is everywhere in Canada by the way, I quickly realized. The same goes with French. I had thought that you'd have to go to Quebec or Montreal for it, but there's more in French (or in both English and French) than there is Spanish in Texas.
While I was savoring my beer, I was also scanning the room for fun people to talk to. There were no lesbians around. There was a man at a table behind me who'd already spoken to me. I engaged him a bit but found him dull, and then his friend joined him anyway. A couple in front of me seemed potentially interesting, but joining a couple is tricky (which is one of the things that sucks about being in a couple, by the way, that people are less likely to come up and talk to the two of you). There were some attractive businessy-looking, 30-something men at the bar I was contemplating joining, but then I got lucky.

Two tables down, two men were having a conversation about Buddhism, religion, philosophy, etc., you know, my favorite things to talk about. I walked up to them, "Hey, can you guys talk just a little bit louder?"

They immediately reacted as I knew they would, thinking I was sarcastically asking them to quiet down.

"Oh, sorry, we didn't..."

I cut them off, laughing, "No, no, I'm being sincere. Y'all're having a very interesting conversation, but I can't aways hear this one's responses to your questions."

Thus, naturally, they extended an invitation to me to join them. This led to one of the better conversations of my life, definitely around the top of my list for stranger-conversations at least. We discussed religion, spirituality, philosophy, happiness, altruism, determinism, meditation, my life, their Faculty of Information doctoral program at the University of Toronto (which Canada apparently pays them to undertake!), and much more. I got a good deal of life advice, most importantly, perhaps, that everything's okay, that I'm fine, everything is as it should be. I realized that I desperately needed to hear that, but not just from anybody (because of course I have been told that by many people), but by these people, my people. Aaaaaand, I definitely need to go to grad school. I'm almost ready. I'm going to finish InTheNameOfJesusChristAmen first. I won't say more about that now because of this finding.

At some point in the conversation, I decided on the most local-seeming thing I could find on the menu:


The Tourtiere
I wanted to sub in yam fries, especially in order to dip them in the Coffee Porter BBQ Sauce I spied elsewhere on the menu, but after everything I'd eaten the past few days, I had to tell myself, "No Arielle, no goddamn yam fries for you today, jesus. A salad is exactly what you need."  Of course I still asked for a side of the Coffee Porter BBQ Sauce.

Tourtiere plate, after I opened my tourtiere a bit.  At 12: Coffee Porter BBQ Sauce, 9: Mango Chutney, 6: vinaigrette
Everything was yummy. It's still bar food, to the point where I'm not going to attempt to describe it in words beyond that. This is also because the conversation was so good I didn't have attention to spend on thinking about interesting words to use to discuss it. It's a delicious meat pie, a fresh salad, and delicious sauces. Yay. I of course suggest trying every possible combination of tourtiere, chutney, BBQ sauce, and salad.

A tourtiere, close up
One of the men had to go, but the other stayed around with me for a bit. I explained my whiskey phase, and he enthusiastically recommended to me his favorite whiskey, which they offer at C'est What, among a few dozen options.

L a p h r o a i g Q u a r t e r C a s k
"A soft velvety sweetness, followed by an intense peatiness.
D. Johnston & CO., Islay" - $6.40 for 30 ml


Laphroaig - Click here for pronunciation help.

This is what I typed into my phone notes at the time "My throat is alive. My lips are damn near numb, and I fucking love it." And it was definitely intensely peaty, and velvety smooth.

In the section on the left where I sat, there were two pool tables! And there's a third pool table in the section on the right.



Apparently, they also have live music from time to temps at this wonderful Brewpub.



Also, the restrooms are clean and awesomely styled.  Here is one stall:

Yes, I did feel compelled to take a picture of the restroom, thank you very much.

If I lived in Toronto, this would be my spot.

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