You’ve got to appreciate beer that draws its inspiration from one of Toronto’s best-loved urban playgrounds. High Park Brewery, named for the area its founders call home, started up just over a year ago by four hockey buddies who also happen to love socializing over a cold one.
Each delicious craft brew pays homage to the park, but when you read deeper into the names you’ll find there’s more than just the neighbourhood nod. “Our light lager, Against the Grain, was inspired by hockey,” says co-founder Ted Clark, explaining the on-ice meaning of battling against the flow of play. “We wanted something that was low in alcohol but still flavorful, that we could drink [several of, while still consuming responsibly] after a game.” The name, he notes, also refers to the grain that grows wild in High Park.
“All of our names have double meanings.” Across the Pond, for example, is brewed in a classic British style, but also pays tribute to Grenadier Pond. Off the Leash references the section of High Park where dogs roam free, “as well as what happens when you get a night on the town.”
Clark, frequently seen running behind his own pooch along the High Park trails, said he and his partners loved the low key, more craft-beer-friendly nature of the Famous Canadian Beer Run. “The location is also right in our backyard!”
Benevolent fellows, the quartet has applied for B-Corp status, which ensures their corporate governance has a high degree of social and environmental responsibility. Each of the owners has coached, sponsored or served on the executive committee of the George Bell Hockey Association, where they still play as well. The brewery also provides valuable resources to raise money for important charitable initiatives. “Our first event as a brewery was the Junction Night Market in support of local, healthy food programs. We participated in this again last month and our beer sales raised over $2,000 for this good cause. We have also supported Action Against Hunger, the Ride to Conquer Cancer and many other worthy events.”
Look for Against the Grain (Helles Lager), Across the Pond (English Special Ale) and Off the Leash (unfiltered IPA) all pouring September 18th, at the Famous Canadian Beer Run.