Ottawa’s Craft Beer Scene
Whether you’re brand new to the craft beer scene or you’re an experienced connoisseur, Ottawa’s bursting craft brewery scene is sure to surprise and delight. From emerging breweries, to beer festivals and special events, Ottawa’s craft beer scene continues to thrive and grow, offering a vast array of brews and interesting places to enjoy them!
If you’re looking for an initiation to the local craft beer scene or if you’re looking to simply broaden your beer horizons, a Brew Donkey tasting tour is a must! These tours typically take place on the weekend and have a duration of 5 hours with a complimentary snack at the end at either a brewpub or a craft beer bar.
Hop on the Brew Donkey bus from a central, west or east Ottawa area pick-up location. While you’re on the bus, learn about the different ingredients used to make beer. Once you get off the bus, visit with local craft brewers and the best part, enjoy free samples of their trademark or new beers! Brew Donkey tour prices range from $70 to $75 per person. (Brew Donkey also offers a craft beer delivery service for Ottawa residents.)
New for summer 2014! Brew Donkey will offer a shorter, visitor-friendly tour option during the week with pick-up available from a central downtown location, close to many hotels.
Mill Street Brew Pub Ottawa
Mill Street Brew Pub opened in January 2012 and is located on the banks of the Ottawa River inside a 170-year-old historic grist mill, just steps away from the Canadian War Museum. Complimentary evening brewery tours are offered daily, while 14 craft beers are available on tap. Mill Street Brew Pub’s beers are only available in Ottawa and reflect the traditions, culture and history of the area. For example, Mill Street’s Portage Ale is made in the style of LeBreton Flats breweries from the 19th and 20th centuries.
This building has a lot of historic charm and is a great place to be on Thursday nights when live bands perform and Mill Street offers its Cask & Cheese evening. Sample local artisan cheese paired with great craft beer! Also during the summer months, enjoy your beer on Mill Street’s patio. Take in the summer air and enjoy your beer while the constant, relaxing bubbling of the Ottawa River plays on in the background.
Clocktower Brew Pub
There are 4 Clocktower Brew Pub locations in Ottawa, which makes good craft beer only a few steps away! Clocktower’s flagship beer is Kölsch, which offers an aroma of cereal grains with a light floral note at the end. Kölsch is perfect for those who are experimenting with craft beer for the first time! Clocktower is also known for its Pumpkin Ale –a local pumpkin-flavoured favourite that is only available in the fall. The original Clocktower location is at 575 Bank Street in the Glebe, the second location is at 422 Mackay Street in New Edinburgh, the third location is at 89 Clarence Street in the ByWard Market neighbourhood and the newest location is at 418 Richmond Road in Westboro.
The 3 Brewers
This restaurant and microbrewery is located at 240 Sparks Street, close to most of Ottawa’s downtown hotels and offers 5 “classic” brews, as well as a special monthly brew. The 3 Brewers menu offers an array of gourmet dishes that can be paired with its blonde, amber, white, brown and IPA brews. With its large windows, this bright and airy establishment allows patrons to enjoy great craft beer while watching the hustle and bustle of Sparks Street, one of Ottawa’s most significant heritage streets.
Big Rig Brewing Company
Located in Ottawa’s west end, Big Rig Brewery and brewpub is co-owned by Ottawa Senators player Chris Phillips. The name is actually based on Phillips’ nickname: Big Rig. At Big Rig, craft beer lovers can choose from a selection of 16 different craft beers all in one place! The brewery’s flagship beer is Big Rig Gold, which uses Canadian and German malts.
Kichesippi Beer Co.
Named after the original Aboriginal moniker for the Ottawa River, Kichesippi is located just south of Ottawa’s Westboro Village neighbourhood. This brewery is dedicated to brewing craft beer in Ottawa for Ottawa. Its signature Natural Blonde beer can only be found in the region. Free brewery tours are offered every Saturday at 2 p.m.
Beyond The Pale
This brewery, which is not quite 2-years-old, is located in Ottawa’s trendy Hintonburg neighbourhood, just minutes west of downtown Ottawa. Beyond The Pale offers different types of craft beer, including the creatively named Party Animal and Imperial Super Guy. Becoming popular in a short time, this nanobrewery tries hard to keep up with the demands for its craft brew! We hear a move to larger Beyond The Pale premises in the neighbourhood may be coming soon.
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company
Visiting from Montreal? Stop at Beau’s in Vankleek Hill, located at about an hour’s drive east of Ottawa, which might be on your way into the city. Beau’s is a family-run business and is one of the largest craft breweries in the Ottawa area. Beau’s offers more than 13 different craft beers on a regular basis, as well as a series of special seasonal brews. Their signature brew, Lug Tread Lagered Ale, is deliciously refreshing and has won several awards, including Best Beer in Ontario at the Golden Taps Awards!
More recently, Beau’s has teamed up with Ottawa-born comic Tom Green to produce a milk stout called The Tom Green Beer! Jimmy Fallon raved about the beer when Tom appeared on his show.
Beau’s offers brewery tours daily, as well as merchandise including their popular hockey jerseys. Beau’s brewery also hosts the annual Oktoberfest, one of the region’s biggest beer festivals. This festival offers Bavarian-inspired food provided by some of the best restaurants in Ottawa, Beau’s Oktoberfest beer, live music and family activities. It takes place from October 3-4, 2014. Beau’s beer can be found and enjoyed at many of Ottawa’s restaurants and throughout Ontario. By the summer, New York residents will also be able to enjoy Beau’s beer as the company begins its expansion into the U.S.!