Godspeed Brewery is a bit of an eastward trek from downtown Toronto, but it’s the perfect spot for local families and clusters of happy-hour-gathering pals to post up: a giant, open-plan room laid out like a minimalist Japanese mountain retreat, with a long inviting counter, cement floors and horizontal wood slats on the walls, all pulling my eye to the garage door that opens to the patio out front. Alongside my nominakama (that’s drinking buddy in Japanese), I sit near the taps where beers are labelled in Kanji and English. I order a plate of crispy chicken karaage almost immediately, and it arrives with my glass of refreshing spring-yellow, citrusy Sora. My friend goes for the darker, deeper Otsukaresama – the name is an all-purpose Japanese phrase that acknowledges a colleague’s hard work. Godspeed’s brewmaster, Luc “Bim” Lafontaine, travels to Japan at least twice a year, sourcing ingredients like green tea, katsuobushi (smoked flaked fish) and ume (green plums) for his unique brews. On our way out, we pass the bottle shop and I briefly consider stuffing a growler in my suitcase. Our server calls us back over and I think I’ve forgotten something, but she just wants to say goodbye, with a huge smile. Otsukaresama, indeed.