During a recent trip to Toronto I was fortunate enough to take a tour of the Steam Whistle Brewery located downtown beneath the CN Tower in what is known as the John Street Roundhouse, a National Historic Site of Canada.
This is a picture taken from the CN Tower when we visited in January. The brewery is located in the first fourteen bays on the left. The other bays are home to the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre and Leons Furniture.
There are several different tour packages offered for the tour when I visited. I chose the souvenir version for $10 which gives you the choice of a retro bottle opener or a tasting glass. For $15 you could opt for a six pack or for $26, a twelve pack. While waiting for the tour to start, visitors are presented with a sample of their beer which is the only one they brew. Their motto is "Do One Thing Really, Really Well." They were very generous with the refills throughout the visit.
The tour starts in the lobby with an explanation of how the brewery was started by three former employees of Upper Canada Brewing Company who were let go after it was purchased by Sleemans. The original proposed name was going to be "Three Fired Guys" before it was changed to Steam Whistle. In fact, the bottom of their bottles are stamped with 3FG in reference to this.
Steam Whistle, I learned, is a premium Pilsner beer which was first brewed in Pilsen, Czech Republic. It consists of only four ingredients - malted barley, spring water, hops and yeast.
Here one of the brewers is overlooking one of the batches being brewed that day. Reminds me of my job running the water treatment plant at work. Hmm, perhaps I could someday work here.
The beer is aged in these tanks.
Space is at a premium in the roundhouse as evidenced by this picture where the kegs are being filled above a storage area.
The packaging area. The bottles are made with thirty percent more glass than other beer bottles which enables them to be used up to forty five times, wich is three times more than the conventional brown bottle used by other breweries. The cap is a non twist off type as well.
The tour was thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it if you visit the area.
Here's a corny video I found on Youtube that gives a pretty good idea of the process.