In many ways, the growing popularity of craft beer is like going back to our roots, before Prohibition 100 years ago when small breweries were the norm.
Today, the resurgence of micro producers speaks to a desire to go both local and organic, to appreciate quality and ambiance, and to have choice – lots of choice.
There are dozens of small local craft breweries in the GTA, and in Ontario the sector has grown by more than 13 per cent a year for the past five years.
Since summer and beer are such a natural pairing, and since Ontario Craft Beer Week is coming up June 10-18, followed quickly by the Toronto Craft Beer Festival on the 23rd & 24th, we’ve highlighted some of the most-talked-about breweries in and around Port Credit to tempt your palette.
Port Credit. Small but effective is how this brewery’s offerings are described. Old Credit focuses on the simpler pleasures, and making beer refreshing and locally, from all-natural ingredients.
Oakville (and other locales). Although a chain of breweries, 3 Brewers follows the craft beer philosophy of brewing in-house, in small batches. To add a uniqueness to the chain, each location has a neighbourhood brew – in Oakville it’s the Punch Clock Vanilla Stout, in a nod to the Ford assembly plant.
Burlington. Nickel Brook describes itself as a leading player in the Ontario Craft Beer movement since 2005. It’s core beers are award winners and it offers a selection of seasonal and one-off speciality beers to satisfy a sense of adventure among both its brewers and its patrons.
Etobicoke. It’s one of the oldest independent brewers in the city, started in 1987, and has won honours as both the Ontario and Canadian Brewery of the Year. Fun brews include Pompous Ass English Pale Ale, Swamp Juice, and the limited release Harry Porter.
Etobicoke. Black Oak started out in Oakville in 1999 before moving to Etobicoke a decade later. It’s best known for its signature Pale Ale and Nut Brown Ale, but is increasingly adding seasonal brews.
Oakville. This family-run and award-winning brewery was founded in 1997 and focuses on ales and lagers. A fun one to try: The Early Bird Breakfast Barley Wine, which includes maple syrup and cold steeped coffee to get your day started.
Oakville. One of the newer operations around, All or Nothing (which began in 2014 as Underdog’s Brewhouse) has a mission to be the No. 1 wheat beer producer in Canada. It recently expanded its operations into producing spirits, meads and ciders.
Etobicoke. This is another chain, with headquarters in Alberta, yet this veteran of the industry (it started in 1985) still adheres to the philosophy of making beers that founder Ed McNally would want to drink, not that would become popular. Even still, one of his original brews, Traditional, was an instant hit and continues to win praise and converts today.
There are plenty of other craft breweries to check out as well. You can find more here.
Not sure what type of beer you might want to try? Several pubs across the region specialize in craft brews, giving you many options to sample.