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, February 15, 2008

Family Day Road Trip

So what are your big plans for the first Family Day holiday? Some people will be doing home repairs, others will be taking it easy in front of the tv, but might I suggest something?

Why not plan a road trip that revolves around some of the Ontario craft breweries in your region? Load up a vehicle (make sure you have a designated driver) and head out in search of beer at its freshiest.

Theh OCB website has a very detailed OCB road map to help you plan out your route. For the Toronto area you can plan on visiting Steam Whistle at their historic roundhouse brewery right next to the Skydome (pardon me, I mean the Rogers Centre). Steam Whistle has developed a great tour and the amount of samples they provide is great. After Steam Whistle, head over to the Mill Street brewpub in the Distillery District for some lunch and try to 13 beers they brew on-site. New right now is their Winter Bock. C'est What is close by for lunch and here you can drink a variety of OCB beers while in the comforts of a warm pub. After lunch, head over to Amsterdam Brewery, then to the Granite Brewery where Ron just may be brewing a new batch behind the glass wall, then head off to Cool Brewery off the Gardiner Expressway and end up at Great Lakes Brewery where you can go on another tour and sample their assortment of beers. That is just Toronto.

Maybe a trip up North is what your after. If that's the case, stop in at King Brewery in Nobleton, ON, just a few kms off the 400hwy. Talk with brewmaster and owner Phil to learn some interesting facts about beer and brewing techniques. Get back on the highway and drive straight to Barrie where you can visit the Robert Simpson Brewery on the shore of Kempenfelt Bay. From here you may wish to take a detour and drive to Creemore where you are transported back to a Norman Rockwell painting. Visit the Creemore brewery, a brewery that helped start the ball rolling in Ontario. Have lunch at a small cafe and dine on local produced and hand made foods. Back on the highway and up to Bracebridge to visit Lakes of Muskoka Brewery, a small building just off the main street.

If you want to head west, you can stop and visit F&M and Wellington in Guelph, Brick Brewery in Waterloo have lunch at the beautiful old Heuther Hotel Lion Brewpub. It is one of my favourites. Then head over for an experience of a lifetime with a visit to Neustadt Brewery in Neustadt. Val and Andy may even take you into the cellar's to see where it all started.

The golden horseshoe that surrounds Toronto, Oakville, Burlington and Hamilton is full of terrific craft breweries dying to treat you to a good time. Start at Black Oak where you can purchase some Double Chocolate Cherry Stout, then head over to Cameron's where the fella's will treat you to a good time. Nickel Brook, Old Credit, Trafalgar, Niagara's Best and Taps can all be included and lunch can be had at Trafalgar tied house.

And finally to the East. Start in Pickering at County Durham, try the hop head and hop addict. Get back on the highway and stop at Barley Days Brewery, Church Key Brewery, Heritage and Beau's. There is a lot of driving for the East tour, but you'll be rewarded with fresh beer. Have lunch at the Kingston Brewpub on your way through the area.

So there you have it. Something to do during this 'Family Day' long weekend in February. Call the breweries ahead to ensure they are open for tours and/or that their retail store will be open.

Buckle up and please don't drink and drive.


Anonymous said...

I was in the Craft Brewery website recently (through a link on your Blog) and saw that there are 3 breweries in Oakville.
Once the weather is nice, 4 of us are going to take the "Go" down for a week-end of tours and sampling.

Troy Burtch said...

How did it go? It is always a good time to go brewery tour hopping.

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