Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Friday, August 24, 2007

Cellarman's Ale House: Midland, ON

Midland, Ontario is a village on the edge of Georgian Bay that is home to 16,800 residents who take pride in the town's clean apperance, tidy store fronts and attractive historic properties. With the help of some friends, I found a tresure, tucked away off the main road in downtown Midland called the "Cellarman's Ale House" on King Street. Established in 1997 by Nicole and Dan Lamers, they named their cozy pub after the cellarman; "the keeper of fine draught in a public house". In early times, pubs had to store their beer in cellar's to keep it cool and fresh and it was the cellarman who was responsible for bringing up the casks, or carrying jugs of beer up from the cellar.

The building isn't hard to miss as the pub is situated behind two other buildings that are seperated by a walkway. If it wasn't for the large sign on another storefront signalling us towards the pub, we could have walked the entire downtown looking for it. But a hunt for a good pub builds excitement and anticipation.

Walking up the to front door was just a treat in itself. Old wooden doors with no windows greeted us at the main entrance and once opened, a ray of sunlight dashed into the dimly lit pub. It felt like one moment you were in the 2000's but as we pulled open the door we were taken back to a simpler time.

Once inside, you'll notice the bar to your immediate left where the 12 draught towers were situated. There draught menu consisted of Kilkenny, Harp, Smithwicks, Guinness, Strongbow, Hockley Valley Dark, Keith's, Keith's Red, Stella Artois, Bud Light, Hoegaarden and a house brewed called Cellarman's Lager produced by Ontario's Great Lakes Brewery. Nothing too spectactular, but plenty of choice between some decent macro's and good micro's in Hockley Valley and Great Lakes. Prices were pretty fair for a pint, and the food was excellent (Chicken Feta sandwich). The bar is surrounded by 10 stools and bar seats which suits the "L" shaped bar and just enough to keep everyone comfortable.

The decor consisted of old beer memorabilia like European bar towels, beer banners, mirrors, bottles and along the back wall books were placed behind the bench seating. The chandliers were wrought iron, the style you would find in a castle and gave off a light amber glow. They were perfect for this pub. Chalk boards with specials, prices and promotions were above the bar along with other old collectables. There is a wall that seperates two rooms but has 3 arched openings and old maroon carpeting covers the floor.

Our server Jen, who was very pleasent and knowledgable, informed us that the building once housed a car garage and most recently a pizza shop. Although she couldn't provide a year for when the building was erected, I estimate that it was build around the 1950's. The music consisted of easy listening and the volume was kept to a relaxed volume. During the summer months the pub has a live band every Friday night and once a month when summer dies down. There was only one television in sight and Jen mentioned that it's used for hockey playoffs and big sporting events only.

Overall: The Cellarman's Ale House is a great little pub in a very attractive water-front village. There were regulars chatting with Jen which is always nice to see, which tells me that the locals support the pub. The food was great and the beer tasted fresh. It was a nice comfortable visit in a warm and inviting pub. It would be a nice place to bring a group for beers and socialize or go by yourself mid afternoon for some peace and quiet with a book. Whenever I find myself passing through Midland again, I will be sure to stop by and have a pint.

337 King Street
Midland, ON

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