Just Travellin’ Brew
We love craft beer and one of our favourite activities to do on a weekend is to take day trips to check out local craft breweries. In the past few years, small-batch breweries have really started to pop up all over the Niagara Region, making it a great place to go for a fun brew-themed day trip. To help you plan your own craft beer tour in the Niagara region, here are some of our favourite places to go for a pint:
Brimstone Brewing co. is located in a historic old converted church in the quaint town of Ridgeway. Taking their cues from the building, they use religious iconography, symbolism, and phrasing as the basis for their concept. When you order a flight of their beer it is served to you on a wooden cross, and you can sample a variety of 5 of their brews – including IPAs, ales, stouts. Don’t forget to try some of their one-offs and seasonal brews for a special treat. Brimstone Brewing also offers up a nice selection of foods that you can enjoy with your pint, either inside the brewhouse or out on the patio. Their taproom kitchen contains a nice selection of sandwiches, tacos, charcuterie, and shareable items that focus on fresh and local ingredients.
Stop by and enjoy a good brew and get a growler of your favourite to take home.
Downtown Niagara Falls is where you will find Taps on Queen, a brewpub offering a selection of typical pub classics such as burgers, sandwiches, wings, fish & chips, and stir-fries. All items are done with a bit of a twist. You can enjoy your meal with one of their craft beers that are brewed right on site, including an ale, lager, IPA, and wit. While their in-house brews are not vast, what they do have is well-crafted, and can be enjoyed while you listen to live music, which they frequently have inside or on the patio. Taps brewhouse and grill is a great place to enjoy a nice meal of locally inspired foods and a refreshing cold brew. I recommend purchasing a growler of your favourite beer to take home for later.
Visitors to Niagara Falls, Ontario will eventually find themselves on Clifton Hill at some point in their trip. Here you will find Niagara Brewing Co. a huge brewery near the base of the hill. They do have an outdoor patio as well, where they often have singers/performers entertaining the patrons. Their regular beer offerings include a lager, IPA, amber, stout, peach raddler, and more. They often have other seasonal options to try other times of the year as well, including a pumpkin spice ale which is amazing. While they focus on the beer, they also offer a small menu of food items to enjoy while you are there. As this brewery is located right in the heart of the Niagara Falls tourism district, it can be very busy as it is a popular destination for many visitors and locals alike. Parking can also be a real challenge.
Breweries located in historic churches are a match made in heaven. In the picturesque town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Silversmith is one such place and is a wonderful place to enjoy a craft brew. Their regular beer selection includes a black lager, golden ale, breakfast wheat, English Pale ale, and a seasonal Saison which is often in limited release, so it gives you an excuse to come back often. Mason is the restaurant located in the brewery, and they offer up a small selection of gourmet dishes that are light, fresh, and delicious. Enjoy a pint of one of Silversmith’s brews with one of the delicious globally inspired meals that Mason is serving up.
Come often to try the different seasonal brews, and the fantastic service, and cool environment at Silversmith in Niagara On the Lake.
While you are in Niagara-on-the-Lake look for the big red barn, and you will find Oast House brewery. This brewhouse has a huge selection of craft beer on tap and in bottles. Their selections include the Farmhouse collection of ales, their Rural route series which are brews made with very local farm-fresh ingredients from the area, and their series of the semi-rotational collection. With such a large selection available, it will be hard to choose your favourite, so take some bottles, cans, or a growler home to try them all. When you visit, be sure to enjoy a meal from the Brush Fire Smoke BBQ for some amazing food. The food at Brushfire is really good authentic BBQ, smoked meats, and sides made on site. You will want to visit Oast House’s website on a regular basis for announcements on upcoming events, including shin-digs, live music, and much more.
Located right in the heart of the picturesque village of Niagara-on-the-lake, in a historic old building, you will find The Exchange Brewery. This brewhouse has upward of 15 options of suds on tap and in bottles, including a variety of ales, porters, witbier, sours, Saison, and stouts. As a first-time visitor, I recommend that you order a flight of 6 of their beer to try a variety to find your favourites. They also have a small menu of items such as a cheese board, shareable sandwiches, charcuterie, and other items to nibble on while you are there.
In the heart of Niagara wine country is one of the newest breweries on the block. Bench Brewing Company is huge brewhouse in Beamsville, with a large selection of beers on tap, and much more available in bottles and cans in their retail store. You can enjoy a cold brew with your friends either inside the pub or out on the patio. The Kitchen at Bench has a nice menu of unique meal options for you to enjoy with your pint, made from seasonal items with a focus on local ingredients.
In a 3-acre field behind the brewery, you will see row after row of hops which Bench grows on site to create their beer.
Other breweries worth adding to your craft beer tour of the Niagara Peninsula are:
BreakWall Brewing Co in Port Colborne, Lock Street Brewing Company in St Catharines, and Kame & Kettle in Fonthill, all of which we have never actually been to. However, we have enjoyed their beer at various craft beer festivals such as Brew at the Zoo at Safari Niagara, Albino Rhino beer festival, and other craft beer festivals around Ontario.
You can plan a day of visiting the craft breweries in Niagara on your own (just have a designated driver), or you can take a planned tour with Bootleggers beer, wine, and distillery tours.