Left Field Brewery, the baseball-themed craft brewery, will be opening up the doors to their brand new facility in Toronto this weekend to sell their freshly-brewed beer on tap and in bottles. Their "pop-up" (get it?) shop, at 36 Wagstaff Drive in the Greenwood and Gerrard area, will be serving from 5-9 pm this Friday and 1-9 pm on Saturday.
"The space is still pretty rough, but we want to sell the beer while it's still as fresh as possible," co-owner Mandie Murphy tells us, "[there's] no seating or any sort of furniture yet. Even our bar is made of plywood."
According to Left Field, they have WiFi so there is a chance they could get the Saturday 1 pm game against the Phillies projected somewhere in the brick-clad former warehouse.
Left Field's beer offerings has always been fantastic, but what really sets them apart is their excellent baseball-themed branding that they have developed alongside Cartogram, a local design shop. For example, the three beers they will be selling this weekend are called "Lead Off Single", "Prospect: Citra", and "Eephus" (my personal favourite). Previous offerings included the 6-4-3 double IPA (a close second to the Eephus for me), Maris*, Resin Bag, and Sunlight Park. They even collaborated with Dirk Hayhurst to develop The Garfoose breakfast stout.
When I first met the owners Mark and Mandie Murphy almost exactly two years ago today, they had not yet sold a single pint and now they are in some of the best beer bars in Toronto, have their own building, and are able sell bottles to the public. They started their business at the right time, around a bit of a baseball renaissance in Toronto when the city was still excited about newcomers Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Melky Cabrera, and Emlio Bonifacio (at least I was excited about Bonifacio). But unlike the Blue Jays, Left Field actually exceeded my expectations.
The physical presence of a baseball-themed brewery, as well as the continued existence of speaking series Pitch Talks, mean that baseball fans in the city now have different ways to enjoy the sport they love besides going down to a game or watching the local team on TV. Hopefully that means the level of enthusiasm for baseball in Toronto be slightly less tied to how well the Blue Jays do.
Disclosure: Author was not paid nor compensated with free beer by Left Field Brewery for writing this unsolicited piece (although he has absolutely no ethical qualm if he does). He has previously received free beer samples, beer glasses, and a t-shirt from Left Field Brewery.