Steve Himel knows beer. The General Manager of Henderson Brewing Co., the Toronto craft beer scene native has been working in the industry since the 90’s, and opened Henderson in 2016 on Sterling Road. We at The Drake consider ourselves very lucky to have such a wonderful team of brewers and beer pros right next door to Drake Commissary. Our teams have worked together since the Commissary opened in 2017 on community events (remember block parties?), specialty beer collabs, making honey, our bread program – we could go on and on, but to put it simply we think they’re the bees knees.
We (virtually) sat down with Steve to get his thoughts on the neighbourhood, what makes it special and his favourite pairings for their beer.
What do you like most about the neighbourhood Henderson Brewery is in?
What makes this neighbourhood so great is its variety. It’s got a bit of rough and a bit of polish. You can get almost anything you want in this neighbourhood from high brow to low. Plus this is pretty much a walking neighbourhood and for the most part people are friendly and will smile at you when you walk by.
What’s a hidden gem in the neighbourhood?
The hidden gem is the path. Its not so hidden really, but if you are not from this neighbourhood you might not know its here. I love how there are people on it at every hour of the day.
What inspired you to start Henderson Brewery in the first place?
We were inspired to start Henderson because we thought that there was an opportunity to make craft beer that wasn’t so crafty. Adin and I have spend our careers in the beer business and wanted to open a microbrewery that welcomed any beer drinker in, even if you just liked ‘regular beer’.
What’s your most memorable May long weekend in the city moment?
My birthday is usually on the long weekend so many of them are memorable. Some of them have been very cold and some of them have been totally summery! Sadly, I think this one may be my most memorable, but for the wrong reasons.
What are your favourite foods to pair with your beer?
I love great bread with Best. Not to toot your horn, but the Drake breads are wonderful with Best and I often take a loaf home and enjoy a few pre dinner slices with an early evening beer.
Bonus! Any local businesses you want to give a shout out to at this time?
We work with so many, it would be hard to pick one out. The one I feel the most for is Dead Dog Records. They have supported us at our vinyl show and tell over the past 4 years and are really a simple local business that I expect is really getting hurt in the current pandemic. Plus I love records!