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Featuring a "beer school", bottle shop and eats from Mark Cutrara
Northern Maverick Brewing Co. (115 Bathurst, at Adelaide, 416-540-4030, northernmaverick.ca) is a sprawling brewery and restaurant that boasts 200 seats, a 110-seat patio and a 1,000-litre brewhouse.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Northern Maverick is the product of some massive mega-corp, brought forth on a sea of flavourless industrial suds. But the gleaming King West-area microbrewery was spearheaded by one dude: Jason Kaptyn, a hotelier (he operates the Sheraton Parkway in Richmond Hill) who spent his formative years as a cook and home-brewer.
“This is pretty much the restaurant I’ve wanted to open my entire life,” Kaptyn says. “I turned 35 about a year and a half ago, and said, if I didn’t get moving on this now, I don’t know if it’ll ever happen.”
He gave the space the kind of treatment befitting a lifelong dream: there’s a quartz raw bar where guests can watch their oysters get shucked and a chef’s table that does dinners paired with their house brews. A party room doubles as their “beer school” and a gleaming new bottle shop hawks their products to go. Champagne-hued piping snakes across the ceiling and ferries beer from tank to tank to tap.
That beer, by the way, is part of an impressively fleshed-out brewing program courtesy of brewmaster Andrew Crowder, who cut his teeth at Muskoka Brewery. Early offerings, aside from a malty, auburn-hued flagship lager (which can also be found at the LCBO), include a bright gose, a nicely nuanced sour and a “happy accident” called their First Day IPA.
“It was supposed to be a nice, sessionable American pale ale, but we ended up having a couple issues with the brew and added way more hops than we were supposed to. But we ended up really liking the finished beer. It’s got some nice citrus and fruity flavours,” Crowder says.
The food program, spearheaded by Mark Cutrara, seems to be roaring out of the gate at a similarly impressive clip. The former Cowbell chef is no stranger to designing craft beer-friendly menus, having developed the food at Bar Hop Brew Co. on Peter.
Cutrara and Kaptyn shared a few major goals, including focusing on local, seasonal ingredients and making everything in-house — which they did, right down to the hot sauces for the oysters and snacks like bulgogi jerky and bacon popcorn.
“We don’t even have a freezer on the line,” Kaptyn says. To have charcuterie and pickles ready for the launch, they started curing products up at Kaptyn’s hotel over a month ago.
Here’s a closer look at the menu:
Charcuterie platter (three/$19 or five/$24): Smoked whitefish, bresaola, lonza, fennel coppa and n’duja sausage, all cured in-house, plus concord grape musto, house beer mustard and giardiniera.
Sous-vide grilled octopus ($14) with Ontario sweet corn, tomatoes and local peaches.
Chef’s local vegetables platter ($17): Roasted eggplant, smoked beets, grilled squash, cumin-roasted carrots, fennel/watermelon radish salad and onion purée. “The onion purée is a take on sauce soubise, which is a butter-forward sauce — we’ve changed that to coconut milk,” Cutrara says.
A 30-day aged 7oz strip loin ($29) with herb compound butter, shaved asparagus and pickled mushrooms.
Most breweries wouldn’t bother with a cocktail program, but here there’s beer-influenced creations like the “dry hop daiquiri”: Mount Gay black rum, plenty of lime and a spritz of house-made hop tincture ($15).
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