Back in 2006, before we even moved downtown to this neighbourhood, we tried out a new restaurant at Victoria and Lombard called The Strand. It had been born into the space left behind by Growler’s brewpub and the Denison’s brewpub. The Strand didn’t have their liquor license set up yet so it was a quirky (and empty) first visit. I’m not sure they ever recovered; they closed before we moved down here in 2007.

Since then the space had a decent run as Duggan’s (which we really liked) and Beer Academy (which was just okay, but made a weird use of the space). Beer Academy had been an offshoot of Creemore (itself owned by Molson), so when they announced they’d be shutting down and re-opening as a new Creemore brewpub named Batch, that kind of made sense. It opened last weekend, and we finally tried it last night.

Gotta say, I’m excited to have it there. The beer they brew on premise was solid, especially the Pale and the Porter. They have guest bottles as well. They also sell Creemore and Granville products on tap, and sell everything in bottles from their fridge. So that’s a good option on our way home.

The food was good too, maybe a little better. We split a dense, tasty pretzel to start. My fried chicken was delicious, if a little sticky/saucy. Nellie’s pierogies were just okay. Luckily there are about a dozen other things on the menu we want to try, and we’ll have plenty of opportunity.

Maybe most surprising was the wine list. 12 by the glass (or bottle) and all Canadian: 11 from Ontario, 1 from BC. Good wineries, too: Creekside, Pearl-Morissette, Tawse, Keint-He, Hinterland, 13th Street, and so on.

I’d say this place has a serious shot at becoming our new local. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Batch.

Gimme that nucleated glassware

Last Friday Nellie and I finally tried the new beer joint which replaced Duggan’s, the late lamented brewpub at the end of our street. It’s called the Six Pints Specialty Beer Co. Beer Academy (ratebeer). Six Pints is a joint venture between Granville Island Brewery (from BC) and Creemore (from ON), which are in turn owned by Molson Coors. This place has a couple of purposes: to act as a museum about beer (hence the “academy” portion of the name); to test out new potential commercial offerings; and to be a straight-up bar.

We skipped the museum portion of the building and went straight to the bar. First of all, the room is quite nice. Duggan’s always felt awkward and a little cavernous; this room feels intimate and comfortable. I can’t describe it any way other than that. Anyway, we started with two flights of three small glasses. We tried the four standard house brews (Kolsch, Dortmunder, IPA, and porter) and a special altbier, and opted to fill our sixth slot with Creemore’s Kellerbier, which we both quite like. The Kolsch and Dortmunder were excellent; the alt, IPA and porter were all good but not great.

We each picked one for a follow-up glass (Nellie: IPA; me: alt) and called it a night. They also sell cold beer from their retail store, so we took four (the Kolsch and IPA as well as a dunkel weiss and Belgian brown) home to have over the weekend.

Not only will this become a regular stop-in for a pint, it’s become a grocery run on the way home. Killer.