A Father's Day Cruise Like No Other
There is no doubt that we all get busy with life, work and everything else in between. Sometimes we have to remind our loved ones to take some time out to smell the roses, or in my case, the exhaust of a 4-stroke Suzuki SV650!
“Drop everything. We’re going riding.” I didn’t give my Dad much of a choice that day. It’s not often that we get the opportunity to go out riding together so I took full advantage of our makeshift Father's Day ride. Given our busy schedules we just couldn’t connect on actual Father’s Day. By a lucky chance, it was the beginning of this year's Ontario Craft Beer Week, so we both got suited up and headed out for a craft brewery tour around Niagara!
Craft breweries have been around for quite some time, but I learned that many closed following the Depression. They experienced a resurgence in the 1980s, and started to grow in popularity in the early 2000s as beer enthusiasts began to crave the unique tastes, creativity, and community feel that they offered.
There are currently seven craft breweries operating in the Niagara Region. However, our trip on this day took us to only three: The Oast House Brewers, Silversmith Brewing Company and Brimstone Brewing Company. I gave Dad a quick synopsis of the route I wanted to take and we set off on our journey with big smiles on our faces.
Cruising along the Niagara Parkway is always a great ride. With the rushing water of the Niagara River on one side and a smooth bicycle trail on the left, this is the one place where boats, bikes, bicycles, runners, and more can connect and be one with the Parkway.
We took the Niagara Parkway all the way to Niagara Stone Road located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and as advertised, we found the Oast House down the road, past an old Oak, in the big red barn.
The rustic barn doors welcome us with open arms, and we immediately felt like we were at home. Maybe it was my country roots or maybe it was the friendly staff, either way I knew I wouldn’t want to leave this place later. We enjoyed a small tour of the brewery and checked out the upstairs party room dubbed the "Hay Loft."
The brewery features a variety of beer, and also offers live music on Friday nights. Dad and I both looked forward to returning for samples another time when we weren’t riding. Before leaving, we took a picture with a man wearing a turkey hat (amazing the people you meet on the road!) who was celebrating his retirement.
Next stop was a quick jaunt down the road to the Silversmith Brewing Company which is located in an old church originally built in 1894. This brewery also had its own unique vibe with an ivy covered exterior and wood and brick interior.
I could hear the loud echo of voices before I even walked through the front doors. This place was packed! Rightfully so, we were told the beer was cold, fresh and brewed from local ingredients, which is a primary draw for local beer enthusiasts.
In addition, the Silversmith Brewing Company offered some great food selections from wings, Po Boy sandwiches and oysters from the Tide & Vine Oyster Company. Live music and a DJ also frequent the church on weekends, offering brew fans even more to enjoy while sampling their favourite beverage. With a few good-byes and promises to return for samples, we made our way to our final destination.
Dad and I rode along Four Mile Creek Road to York Road in St. Catharines, and then cruised down the familiar windy Pelham Road and Decew Road. From there we rode along the Welland Canal to Chippawa Creek Road and then took a few backroads to get to The Brimstone Brewing Company located along the South Coast of Niagara, in a small town called Ridgeway. It was definitely a bit of a jaunt to get to this brewery from Niagara-on-the-Lake but it was a relaxing day, and I was enjoying cruising with Dad.
The Brimstone Brewing Company is located in the lower level of the Sanctuary Centre for the Arts, in a 20th-century re-invented church. The gothic style décor adds to the brewery’s theme, hinting at the importance of distinguishing between good vs. evil, light vs. dark and summer vs. winter, which they boast is incorporated into their brews. The brewery has a full patio complete with a fire pit, games and even sand toys! In addition, the Sanctuary hosts a variety of events, including concerts featuring local and international talent. A great spot to visit if you want to venture to Niagara’s South Coast!
After a few hours of riding and touring breweries, we both decided it was time to venture home to finally enjoy a beverage of our own with the motorcycles safely parked in the garage. With a beer in hand, we "cheersed" over a great father-daughter ride, and shared a moment of appreciation for the lifestyle and family togetherness that riding motorcycles has brought to us.
Want to take a tour of your own? Click here for a list of all Microbreweries in Ontario including the best motorcycle routes to get to them! and click here to check out Jessica's mother-daughter wine tour of the Niagara Region.