69 Reasons Why Canada Does Beer Best

What better reason to go for a ride than to pick up some fine Ontario craft beer? Below we present the places that are making us proud and the routes to get there...

Ever wonder why so many motorcycle riders are also beer drinkers? Could it be that the curious spirit that drives the rider to continue on that extra mile, to see what's around the next bend is the same one that impels the brewmaster to tirelessly experiment with yet another another batch of brew? Sometimes you just have to know "Could this get any better?" And just when you think you've seen it all, something new emerges that rewards that part of you that wants to be surprised, delighted and impressed. 

Microbreweries are popping up across Ontario in increasing frequency. Time to explore! Here we offer some of the best brewpubs and small-scale breweries across this fine province, along with the best routes to get to each of them. Most operations are run by inquisitive souls just like you who are more than happy to have visitors come by to share in their findings. So plan a trip to your local (or more fun—not so local) microbrewery and quench that thirst for what's new!

Drinking and driving is dumb. Don't do it. What we do recommend is that you visit one of these establishments, pick up some of their wares and take them to the nearest B&B, Hotel or Resort, throw the keys in the lake and enjoy your haul there. If you've still got the bug for riding you can focus that energy on planning out the next day's adventure—the roads will still be around tomorrow and you'll want to be, too. 

Northwest Ontario

Lake of the Woods Brewery Kenora
Good things brewing at Lake of the Woods Brewing Co. in Kenora, ON
Offering locally handcrafted ales and stouts for the thirsty beer enthusiast. Go to their Elevator Wheat to slake your thirst after a long day cruising the awe-inspiring roads of the Thunder Bay area.
Recommended Route: Ride Lake Superior
Local small batch craft beer brewed in Ontario's North! Perfect destination for the anyone looking for an excuse to ride the amazing roads of Sunset Country. Book a room at the Timberline Lodge and head over to the Tap Room (open 7 days a week) and try the rich Sasquatch Black Lager or their Firehouse Amber Ale.
Recommended Route: Toronto to Winnipeg and Back  

Northeastern Ontario 

Stack Brewing, Sudbury, ON
Started by a couple of Nickel City natives looking to brew a beer that would appeal to casual and seasoned beer drinkers alike. Stock up at the brewery and showroom location—open Tuesday to Saturday—and take the long way home via any of the Sudbury area's famous motorcycle routes. 
Recommended Route: Georgian Bay Coastal Route 

Algoma Country 

OutSpoken Brewing, Sault Ste Marie, ON
Another new brewery in Ontario's North! Originally started as two guys making beer for their friends, this has grown into one of the Soo's thriving businesses. Pick up some of their OutSpoken Blonde Ale for a refreshing end to a day exploring Algoma Country's famous motorcycle roads.
Recommended Route: The Grand Algoma Tour   

Bruce Peninsula, Southern Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe 

Creemore springs
Worth the drive to Creemore to see this copper kettle in action
Conveniently located amongst some of the best motorcycle roads, just north of Toronto. Barnstormer produces cutting edge craft beer with a "west coast flair". Find out what exactly that means on one of their daily free tours (on the hour starting at 4pm).
The brewpub is now open seven days a week, with artisanal pizza, beer mussels, burgers and other delicious treats on the menu alongside on site brewed craft beer.
Recommended Route: The Georgian Bay Coastal Route
Brewing small batches in an open flame copper kettle, these guys put this beautiful little village on the map. Definitely worth a visit to pick up some of this European style beer fresh from the tap or take a tour
Recommended Route: Georgian Bay Coastal Route
As devoted to being weird as they are creating authentic and innovative brews, this is the only place you'll find the Netherworld Cascadian Dark Ale or the Divinity Imperial Baltic Porter.
Recommended Route: The Georgian Bay Coastal Route
Outlaw Brew Co., Southampton, ON
Country-inspired brewpub blends the essence of country living with the freedom of an outlaw attitude. 
Kilannan Brewing Co., Owen Sound, ON
Founded in 2012 by owner and brewmaster Spencer Wareham who, at 23 is among the youngest of brewery owners in Canada, the Kilannan Brewing Co. handcrafts small batches using the highest quality ingredients. Located just outside of Owen Sound, it makes a great destination for those afternoon rides around Georgian Bay.
Recommended Route: Georgian Bay Coastal Route 
After a good spell motorcycling around the English countryside and acquiring a taste for their Ales, Charles MacLean came home to found Ontario's first independent craft brewery. Their signature brew has become a favourite across Ontario and with new ones like Maclean's Pale Ale and Maclean's Farmhouse Blonde Ale this Grey County microbrew is sure to be pleasing more and more thirsty souls in the future.  
Recommended Route: Grey Bruce Waterfall Tour
With a beer selection that reflects the four seasons and using fresh all-natural ingredients for the food, this will become a popular place for riders to visit throughout the year. Check their events page to see what's going on this month. 
Recommended Route: Georgian Bay Coastal Route 
Side Launch Brewing, Collingwood, ON
Recently opened, the retail store operates 7 days a week. Currently brewing Side Launch Wheat, Side Launch Pale Ale and Side Launch Dark Lager. 
Recommended Route: Georgian Bay Coastal Route 
The Collingwood Brewery, Collingwood, ON
Another great option for high quality, all-natural beer in this popular part of the province. After a long day of riding relax with their Downhill Pale Ale. The store is open Thursday to Saturday. 
Recommended Route: Georgian Bay Coastal Route 
Located in one of the prettiest little villages in the southern part of Bruce Grey Simcoe, this beer is brewed in the oldest operating original brewery in Ontario. Visitors are welcome during opening hours (10am to 6pm daily - longer in summer). Take a guided tour to see the brewery caverns and the original crystal springs to get a peek at times gone by. 
Recommended Route: The Ride Grey Bruce Super Loop
Neustadt Springs Brewery
The Neustadt Springs Brewery back in the day 

Algonquin Park, Almaguin Highlands, Muskoka & Parry Sound

Sawdust City Parking Lot Party resized
Patiently awaiting business hours at Sawdust City Brewing Co. in Gravenhurst, ON
Dedicated to bringing the finest in premium craft beer; tried-and-true year-round brands, as well as exciting seasonal beers. The full-flavoured Crosswind Pale Ale is their flagship beer. 
Recommended Route: The Explorers' Edge Big Loop
Muskoka Brewery, Bracebridge, ON
Nestled in the heart of Muskoka, Muskoka Brewery handcrafts premium beers as unique and refreshing as the region they're from. Since it's release their Mad Tom IPA has been getting great reviews.
Recommended Route: The Explorers' Edge Small Loop  
Sawdust City Brewing Company, Gravenhurst, ON
After a year and a half spent perfecting the brews and honing their skills the owners of the Sawdust City Brewing Company opened their doors last summer. They will be brewing 5 core brands and number of interesting seasonals including the Skinny Dipping Stout all right in the heart of Muskoka.Region: Algonquin Park, Almaguin Highlands, Muskoka and Parry Sound Recommended Route: The Explorers' Edge Big Loop
Highlander Brew Co., South River, ON
Approximately halfway between Huntsville and North Bay, a visit to the Brewery is a welcome stop for anyone riding the roads of the Almaguin Highlands. From tried and true favourites like their original Scottish Ale to specialty brews like the Beerded Lady, the Highlander Brew Co. has become a favourite in Northern Ontario.
Recommended Route: The Explorers' Edge Small Loop  

Haliburton Highlands to the Ottawa Valley

Whitewater Brewing Company
Hang a left for a visit to Whitewater Brewing Co. & Brew Pub in Foresters Falls, ON 
Craft brewing in the motorcycle lovers paradise that is Haliburton Highlands! Enjoy this local beer 7 days a week on the shores of Mirror Lake at the on-site restaurant, Rhurbarb or take some home from the their retail store.
Recommended Route: The Highlands Loop 
On site retail beer sales available in the Abbey Gardens from Thursday through Sunday from Noon to 6pm. 
Recommended Route: The Highlands Loop 
Whitewater Brewing Company, Foresters Falls, ON
Brewing small batches of a variety of beers worthy of the adventurous spirit inside us all. Located on the banks of the mighty Ottawa River their retail store is open 7 days a week. 
Recommended Route: Deep Valley Run 
Bush Pilot Brewing Company  Taking inspiration from the first Canadian Bush Pilots this upstart artisanal brewery creates bold beers in Southern Ontario. Actively developing plans for their own brewery in Hasting Highlands
Recommended Route: Ride the Highlands Dynamite Alley  

Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes & Northumberland

Church Key Brewing
Have you been to church lately? Church-Key's retail store is open 10am until dark 7 days a week. 
Church-Key Brewing Company, Campbellford, ON
A solid selection of seasonal brews and year-round favourites brewed in an old church, this is a great reason to head to Campbellford. Their signature Northumberland Ale is modeled after those popular in Eastern Ontario in the 1940's-50's. It goes great with spicy food. Check it out at the Stinking Rose Pub located right downtown. 
Serving up fine, handcrafted ales and delicious food, the Olde Stone has been a fixture in downtown Peterborough since 1996. A cozy and welcoming place for the weary rider any time of year. Visit the patio through the summer and in those colder, in-between months you can count on warming up by the fireplace and enjoying a pint at the large mahogany bar.  
The Publican House Brewery, Peterborough, ON
Located in downtown Peterborough, this microbrewery is currently producing six distinct styles, some available year round, others available seasonally, all made with natural ingredients. Drop in to the tasting bar or relax on the patio and hatch plans for your next motorcycle adventure in the Kawartha Lakes area.

Southeastern Ontario

MacKinnon Brothers Brewing
Field of dreams at MacKinnon Brothers Brewing farm in Bath, ON  
Ontario's oldest brew pub is an 1800's inspired brick and stone located in the heart of beautiful and historic downtown Kingston. An excellent remedy for the road-weary rider is a stop on their patio some traditional pub food paired with a pint of the Whitetail Cream Ale. 
Recommended Route: The Loyalist/Sydenham Route 
Stone City Ales, Kingston, ON
Brewing small batches of some interesting beers, this is another reason to plan a trip to Kingston. Visit the Tap Room for some great atmosphere or grab some goods from the Bottle Shop and take them back to the hotel. 
Located on a bicentennial family farm just outside of Kingston and using the hops, wheat and barley grown there to brew beers emboldened with the unique character of rural Canada. Soon to include a tasting room and retail outlet. Check back soon because this would make a great day trip destination!
Recommended Route: The Wine Route 
This microbrewery make a great excuse to ride out to Prince Edward County. Take a tour of the operation and visit their retail store to take some of their ever-changing line-up of excellent beers. On Saturdays in the summer they have a someone working a cart cooking up sausages and other goodies.
An onsite brewery in a beautiful resort makes this a no-brainer for the beer-loving rider looking to plan a trip to Prince Edward County. Their brews are available exclusively on tap at The Inn Restaurant and The Miller House Café-Brasserie. A wide range of beers made throughout the season make this a place you'll want to visit more than once a year!
Located at the Gateway to the Trent Severn Waterway, this is Quinte's favourite microbrewery. Stop by for the by the glass tasting bar and pick up some to take away. Their Gateway Pale Ale goes down smooth after a day riding in Prince Edward County.
This is the real deal—a family run, DIY, organic microbrewery making the magic happen in the far east of Ontario. Head out there any day of the week for an informational tour and pick up some fresh beer from the store. They've also got a great patio serving beer and food open on Saturdays throughout the summer. 

Ottawa and Countryside

The Ashton Pub
Enjoying an Amber Ale at The Old Mill at Ashton's patio  
Ashton Brew Pub, Ashton, ON
The first original English pub in the heart of the Ottawa Valley. Brewing a range of ales and stouts including their Ashton Amber and cooking up great pub fare. On Sunday nights they do a traditional roast beef dinner with real yorkshire pudding.
Recommended Route: An Outsider Look Into the Ottawa Valley    
Cassel Brewery, Casselman, ON
This recently opened little brewery is becoming popular throughout Eastern Ontario with it's beers available in many of the finer pubs in and East of Ottawa. A great summer refresher is the White Fog Wheat Ale.
Recommended Route: Escape the 400s—The Great Waterway  
Covered Bridge Brewing, Stittsville, ON
Handcrafted beer in Stittsville. Retail store is open Thursday to Sunday. Swing by and pick up some of their popular Eternally Hoptimistic Pale Ale
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour
A craft brewery focusing on retail sales and customer service. Visitors are encouraged to come by and see how it's done Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from Noon to 8pm and Sundays Noon to 5pm (closed the rest of the week for brewing). Drop in and pick up a few growlers of their award-winning Pink Fuzz Grapefruit Wheat. 
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour  
Big Rig Brewery, Ottawa, ON
Hand crafted in small batches using the finest ingredients from local farms to hops from Germany, and using traditional brewing methods to produce a strong base for their brews. Check out their Iron Arse Ale—a brew specially made for the Ride for Dad organization with all profits going toward the fight against prostate cancer. Now you can say you're drinking beer for a good cause! 
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour  
A true do-it-yourself microbrewery—the team built it from scratch—they're kicking out some pretty tasty beer. Chatty staff and lots of free samples make it a great destination for the curious rider. Open from Tuesday to Saturday. Email at greetings@broadheadbeer.com to book a time to drop in for a tour.
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour  
Clocktower Brewpub, Ottawa, ON
Utilizing the clean water from the Capital Region, Ottawa's oldest brewpub creates some pretty exciting beers. Especially interesting is their Clocktower Red which has five different types of malts and two kinds of hops. With four locations it's not hard to find a good place to eat and drink and be merry in this part of the province. 
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour  
Anchored in the traditions of Canada’s brewing history, Dominion City Brewing Co. brews quality, distinctive, boundary-pushing beer that is closely tied to the people and the land that make it possible. 
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour  
Named after the river that runs through Ottawa—it means "The Great River"—this brewery likes to keep it local. Craft brewed in Ottawa right from the first batch, you can only find their Natural Blonde in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Their brewery retail store is open Monday to Friday from 10am-6pm. 
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour  
With respect to their ancestral heritage the descendants of the 3 Three Brewers share their love of the foam brewing their golden beverage throughout France, the world and, lucky for us, in downtown Ottawa. This gourmet restaurant with a microbrewery within has been consistently amazing customers since 1986.
Recommended Route: Ottawa Valley Tour

York, Durham and the Hills of Headwaters 

King Brewery, Nobleton, ON
Award winning hand crafted European style beer made in Nobleton. Stop by the store when in the neighbourhood.
Recommended Route: Forks of the Credit Day Trip 
Old Flame Brewing Co., Port Perry, ON
Located in the historic district of Port Perry, the brewery is housed in the former Ontario Carriage Works. Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am to 9pm with tours available at noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Meet the team and walk through the brewing method with the brewmaster then finish off at the tasting room to sample and compare some of the award winning craft brews.
Stop in anytime Monday to Friday between 9am to 5pm and pick up some of the local beer. Try the Hockley Dark, an ingenius hybrid of a Northern Brown Ale and a Midlands Mild, with a body tweaked to give it a lighter, more North American appeal. 
Recommended Route: Toronto to Hockley Valley 


Syndicate Brewery-1-1024x682
Behind the scenes at Syndicate Restaurant and Brewery in Niagara Falls, ON
Located in the heart of one of Ontario's biggest tourist destinations, Taps On Queen is ideal for the rider looking for a refreshing local brew after a long day checking out the sites. The restaurant serves excellent beer-inspired food that's all locally sourced. They have specials and/or live music going on 7 nights a week. Definitely a good reason to cross the U.S. border for a fun night Canadian-style!
Recommended Route: Niagara Cherry Blossom Ride
Fine-crafted beer combined with gourmet food—it doesn't get much better than this! The inspired menu includes Duck Poutine or Fresh Pasta stuffed with Black Truffles. All the beef, pork and poultry is grass and grain-fed and hormone free, the veggies are straight from local farms and the beers? Outstanding Niagara crafted ales, lagers, and local wines. They also have locations in St. Catharines and Grimsby but if you want to visit the brewery for a tour and tasting head to the location on Lundy's Lane in Niagara Falls
Region: Niagara Canada
Recommended Route: Niagara Cherry Blossom Ride
Silversmith Brewing Company, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
A brand new, one-of-a-kind, small-scale brewery located in a former church built way back in 1894. Covered in ivy on the exterior, step inside to see first hand how this microbrewery operates. They offer flights, pints, half-pints, bottles and growlers. Get some friends together and ride out for a tour and book a stay at the Historic Pacific B & B.
Region: Niagara Canada
Recommended Route: Niagara Cherry Blossom Ride
A 2.34 hectolitre craft-beer nanobrewery in the heart of Ridgeway. They'll be expanding it in summer 2014 to add an additional 15 hectolitres as well as renovating the popular Tap Room. Located in The Sanctuary Centre for the Arts—an exquisitely re-invented 20th century church—it's great spot for a visit from across the border. Watch for events throughout the year and exciting new brews alongside their tried and true favourites. 
Region: Niagara Canada
Recommended Route: Niagara Cherry Blossom Ride 
The Merchant Ale House, St. Catharines, ON
A brewpub with a focus on the quality of the the food to as well as the ales. Just looking at their Facebook page will make you hungry (and thirsty!). Great food specials throughout the week will have you making more than one trip to this Southern Ontario haunt.
Region: Niagara Canada
Recommended Route: Niagara Cherry Blossom Ride  
Oast House Brewery and Beer Shed, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Just down the road, past the old oak, in the big red barn. Make a trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake to sample the Farmhouse Ale Collection. Public tours and tastings available Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 to 3:30pm. Call 289-868-9627 for bookings.
Region: Niagara Canada
Recommended Route: Niagara Cherry Blossom Ride
For more on where to find quality beer in Niagara check out the Ale Trail Map     
Niagara Oast House Brewers
Some well-dressed growlers waiting for you at the Oast House Beer Shed  

Hamilton, Halton, and Brant

Nickel Brook, Burlington, ON
Brewing a range of varieties including the American Style Naughty Neighbour, the site is available for tours. Call 905-681-BREW or email info@nickelbrook.com to book. 
The Pepperwood Bistro, Burlington, ON
Burlington's only brewpub is a great spot to enjoy a homemade brew paired with just the right food. Live music every Friday and Saturday night. Try the Pepperwood Red Ale.
For more on where to find quality beer in Hamilton, Halton and Brant check out the Ale Trail Map   

Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington

Wellington Brewery Tap OCB
Wellington Boot tap courtesy of the Ontario Craft Brewers 
F & M Brewery, Guelph, ON 
F & M Brewery has been going strong since 1995. Their Stone Hammer line of brews can be found at better bars and restaurants in Wellington County and throughout Southern Ontario. They just won a couple of golds at the 2014 Ontario Brewing Awards with their Maple Red Ale and Coffee Stout.  
Double Trouble Brewing Co., Guelph, ON
Truly the little guys in an industry where attention to detail counts for a lot. Brewing small batch craft beer out of the Wellington brewery in Guelph.
Wellington Brewery, Guelph, ON
If you've been to a bar in Ontario in the last couple of decades you've likely noticed their signature Welly Boot shaped tap handle. The Wellington Brewery was part of the first wave of Ontario microbreweries. With a focus on English style Real Ales (also known as Cask Conditioned Ales), this was one of the first modern brewers to do so in North America. Taking part in local events, offering free guided samplings on Saturdays between 1 to 4pm, as well as having access to their product 7 days a week at their on-site retail store has made this a popular business and destination in the area. 
Region: Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington 
Opening winter 2014...
Grand River Brewing, Cambridge, ON
Focussing on producing full flavoured beers with alcohol contents less than 5% for today's growing population concerned with over indulgence. The Galt Knife Old Style gets good reviews among those in the Cambridge area.
Block Three Brewing Co., St. Jacobs, ON
A new microbrewery in the small village of St. Jacobs in the Waterloo area proving that good things come in small batches. Tours and tastings are complimentary but make sure to call for groups larger than 10.
Stratford Brewing Company, Stratford, ON 
Renowned for it's theatre, fine food and cultural advantages, Stratford, Ontario is also home to a first-class producer of premium microbrewed beer. The company's signature beer is Stratford Pilsner—perfect for sipping from a patio or backyard BBQ. 
Recommended Route: Ride the Counties
Experience this downtown Waterloo restaurant featuring a newly renovated cavern, a remnant from the brewery that operated at this location in the 1800's. They're brewing Canadian and European style craft beers on the premises now and it's a worthy destination for a trip to the area.
Recommended Route: Ride the Counties
A new award winning brewery in Waterloo Head featuring a range of guilty pleasures. Head over to Northfield Drive to take a tour and sample some of this beguiling beer at black walnut bar, handcrafted by the owner.
Recommended Route: Ride the Counties
For more on where to find quality beer in Huron, Perth, Waterloo and Wellington check out the Ale Trail Map   

Ontario's Southwest

St. Thomas Elephant
Railway City Brewing Co. in St. Thomas brews an ale in tribute to Jumbo the Elephant
Bayside Brewing Co., Erieau, ON
They must have had motorcycling in mind when they picked the location for this, Chatham-Kent's first microbrewery. Spend the day cruising the great roads of the Erie Shore then head to Erieau to refresh yourself at the recently refurbished Bayside Brewing Company Brew Pub and Restaurant. The Long Pond Lager goes well with their fresh-made pizza fired in a wood-burning oven. Amazing!
Recommended Route: Cruise the Coast
Was this place created with motorcycle tripping in mind or what? Ontario's first (and only) Brewery Farm can be tricky and a joy to find—bring a GPS to navigate those gorgeous Norfolk County roads. Once you get there you'll find this is an actual working farm with crops growing, a hop garden flourishing and lots of activity. Ideal as a place to stock up on supplies for a trip to PD13. Try their Country Pilsner along with a bag of their homemade Kettle Chips.
Recommended Route: Ride Norfolk Route
Two biologists and an engineer walk in to a bar...the result of this story is no joke. These 3 local homebrewers have delivered some seriously flavourful brews to the Forest City. Visit the brewery (contact at info@forkdrivebrewing.com  or 519-913-2337) and take home some big flavour with their Riptide Rye Pale Ale—ideal for your next summer BBQ.
Recommended Route: Friday the 13th Route
Norfolk's only "Tied House" (pub and microbrewery) has been serving local and international-style cuisines, relying on fresh, locally-grown ingredients, since 1992. The addition of a microbrewery in 2012 has made this a popular spot on Southwestern Ontario's Ale Trail. Their Sweet Leaf Brown Ale won the 2014 Great Ontario Hop Competition.
Recommended Route: Ride Norfolk Route
Growing up from a local pastime this has become a full-fledged business serving small batch craft beer to Southern Ontario. Almost operating like a club, you have to check out the website to get an idea for what's going on here. Their inspired brews are available 7 days a week only from their on-site retail outlet. 
Railway City Brewing Co., St. Thomas, ON
The pride of St. Thomas, this brewery is doing so well they're moving to new digs across town to accommodate their growth. Tours (with samples!) are available starting an hour after opening 7 days a week. Try the award-winning Dead Elephant India Pale Ale—brewed in recognition of Jumbo the P.T. Barnum's circus elephant who died in 1885 after being struck by a locomotive at the St. Thomas railway yard.
Located only blocks away from the historic the original Walkerville Brewing Company the current incarnation aims to become the social fabric of the community. Take a tour of the brewery and see how the beer is handcrafted in small batches with the highest quality ingredients. Pick some up from their Retail Shoppe before heading back out onto Southern Ontario's famed motorcycle roads. 
Brewing a family of craft ales inspired by movement and evolution. Ideally paired with a burger from the restaurant, also located at 888 Erie Street. 
For more on where to find quality beer in Ontario's Southwest check out the Ale Trail Map  
blue elephant microbrew-taste-spectrum
Taste Spectrum courtesy of the Blue Elephant in Simcoe, Ontario 
Got a brewpub or microbrewery that should be on this list? Let us know using the comments feature at the bottom of the page or email us at ian@thewnewbusiness.ca. And for more on the mouth-watering world of Ontario beers check out Ontario Craft Brewers
About Staff Writer, What A Ride

What A Ride covers stories, events and perspectives from the worlds of motorcycling, snowmobiling, ATVing and boating. Motorized adventures, full-tilt, 24/7.

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