Are you a fan of craft breweries? Microbrasseries? Brew pubs? Beer in general? Then think of this article as a scavenger hunt for the National Capital Region beer aficionado. Despite all the back-to-school sales and frosh week prep going on, there is still some summer left and hunting down a quality pint is a good way to spend it.
In honour of National Capital Craft Beer Week, we’ve assembled a list of local destinations for discerning beer fanatics. This list is a pastiche of beer landmarks across the National Capital Region. It includes microbreweries, brew pubs, quality dépanneurs, watering holes and bistros that are known to serve an interesting pint along with some fantastic food. We’ve also included a handy map to help you find each of these spots.
This list is certainly not exhaustive, so if you know of something we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments!
With files and concept from Yasmin Nissim.
View Great Ottawa Beer Guide in a larger map
Ashton Brewing Company
113 Old Mill Road
Ashton Brewing Company is a brew pub that operates out of the reputedly haunted Old Mill at Ashton near Carleton Place. Those familiar with local brewing history will be happy to know that Lorne Hart, who once operated Hart Brewing Company out of Carleton Place, is heavily involved. For those who can’t make it out to Ashton, these brews are available on tap at Patty’s Pub (1186 Bank Street) and Quinn’s Ale House (1070 Bank Street) in Old Ottawa South.
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company
10 Terry Fox Drive
Vankleek Hill, ON
While not the oldest brewery on the list, many consider Beau’s to be the granddaddy of the region’s craft brewing scene. It’s hard to argue: Beau’s quickly ingratiated itself by providing solid beers, great parties (their Oktoberfest is unmatched) and some smart marketing. Small wonder it’s found on tap in most of the city’s watering holes.
Beyond the Pale Brewing Company
5 Hamilton Avenue North
Beyond the Pale is currently nothing more than a warehouse, some equipment, a website and three guys with a passion for beer. These guys plan to take that passion public this fall when they launch with four challenging, high-alcohol brews. The plan is to start out as a small-batch brewery, with beers available for sale directly from the warehouse and a few local pubs. This is worth keeping an eye on.
Big Rig Brewery
2750A Iris Street
Big Rig Brewery feels like a slightly upscale sports bar, which makes sense as Senators’ defenceman Chris Phillips is a principal investor in this west-end brew pub. They offer competent beers and a location that is conveniently close to IKEA. Anyone up for tipsy furniture shopping?
Bistro L’Autre Oeil
55 Rue Principale
This is more pub than bistro. In fact, Bistro L’Autre Oeil can likely lay claim to being the best pub for beer enthusiasts in Aylmer by a long-shot. Think of this as a more relaxed version of Pub Italia, with a beer selection that numbers in the hundreds, including many available on draught.
Broadhead Brewing Company
81 Auriga Drive, Unit 27
Broadhead’s founders describe it as a scrappy little beer company that aims to do big things. They’re quite new to the scene, and so options for trying the beer are limited to a small selection of pubs and restaurants. You can also head to their south-end location to pick up a growler, keg or kegerator.
Brothers Beer Bistro
366 Dalhousie Street
While Brothers Beer Bistro doesn’t make their own beer, it has quickly become something of a landmark for beer lovers in the region. The brothers serves a wide variety of brews from near and far, and they even use beer in every tasty morsel of food that they serve. A must for anyone looking for a top-notch meal with their pint.
Cassel Brewery Co.
715-C rue Principale
Cassel opened its doors in June of this year, but it’s quickly making a reputation for itself with its Golden Rails honey brown and White Fog brews. At the moment, you’ll need to head to the Wellington Gastropub to give these brews a shot if you can’t make the trip out to Casselman.
137 Murray Street
Along with a free jukebox stacked with wicked music, Chez Lucien offers great local and imported beers on tap. My personal fave is Blanch de Chambly, a fantastic witbier from Unibroue in Quebec. Like the Manx, the food is solid, but expect to wait for a table on high-traffic evenings.
Clocktower Brew Pub
575 Bank Street
418 Richmond Rd.
422 MacKay Street
89 Clarence Street
The Clocktower has likely been around for longer than many of our readers can remember. The head-start has allowed them to branch out to four locations, including a new Westboro spot with a massive patio. It’s the perfect spot for west-enders looking to while away the fading days of summer with a pint.
43 rue Front
Dépanneur Rapido was recently brought to my attention by some friends from Aylmer. They had become mesmerized by the wide selection of brews offered in this corner store’s surprisingly well-appointed “Beer Cave”. I looked into it and I can see why. The brews available here are mostly Quebecois in origin, which is nice to see as many of these brands don’t make it across the Ottawa River. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Aylmer.
*Not listed on the map
Billed as the Unofficial Official Beer of Hintonburg, not much is currently known about Hintonbrew. But there is a website, and it sounds like there are plans to launch a full-fledged brewery operation sometime in the near future. We’ll be keeping our eye on this one.
Hintonburg Public House
1020 Wellington Street West
A relatively recent addition to the Hintonburg landscape, Hintonburg Public House follows a well established formula of tasty pub-grub and a strong selection of local beers.
*Not listed on the map
To our knowledge, Hogsback doesn’t have a retail outlet or brewpub that is open to the public, so we couldn’t include it on the map. But that doesn’t stop it from offering its tasty brews through other channels, like the LCBO and on draft at various establishments around town. To find out where to try Hogsback beers, visit this page.
Kichesippi Beer Co.
866 Campbell Avenue
Kichesippi Beer Co. burst onto the scene in 2010, quickly swallowing up local breweries Heritage Brewing and Scotch-Irish Brewing. They now offer a variety of tasty brews, but foodies should note, this is not a brew pub! While they do offer tours and a limited brewery store, food is not on the menu.
Les 3 Brasseurs
240 Sparks Street
Les 3 Brasseurs is a chain of resto-breweries based in Québec. Plans are in the works to launch an outlet at 240 Sparks Street this fall.
Les Brasseurs du Temps
170 Montcalm Street
819-205-4999, ext. 1
If you don’t often venture beyond Ottawa city limits you may not be familiar with what is, in our opinion, Gatineau’s prime beer destination. Located in a historic building that once held an 1800s era brewery, it features a great patio and a wide selection of adventurous in-house beers. If you enjoy the vibe of Mill Street Brewery, Brasseurs won’t disappoint!
370 Elgin Street
Known for its quality pub fare, the Manx attracts a fairly regular crowd of local musicians and artists. To stereotype for a moment, this crowd typically appreciates a good brew. The Manx does not disappoint in this area, offering up a good selection of beers from Quebec and Ontario. It’s best to arrive early; the place is usually packed to the rafters.
50 rue Begin
Marché Omni (formerly known as Marché Jovi) is a relatively easily accessible dépanneur that should appeal to Ottawa beer enthusiasts who are looking to get more acquainted with various Québécois styles of beer. They also had a pretty decent selection of branded beer glasses on our last trip.
Mill Street Brewery
555 Wellington Street
Mill Street arrived in Ottawa from Toronto in 2011, taking over the historic LeBreton Flats building where the Mill restaurant had fizzled out some time earlier. It was a good fit that quickly became a hit. Expect to have a difficult time getting a seat due to the droves of people who flock there on a daily basis. Nevertheless, beer enthusiasts will want to try their tasty Ottawa-exclusive brews and enrol in the MBA program (Master of Beer Appreciation.)
434 Preston Street
Pub Italia is another Ottawa beer landmark that has been around for years. Located in Little Italy, people come in droves for imported and trappist beers. There’s less of an emphasis on local beers, but brew-heads will definitely find something to like here.
1325 Wellington Avenue
More bistro than watering-hole (some people take exception to calling it a true gastropub) this fantastic eatery takes beer seriously. For years it has offered up a rotating cask of craft beer, and more often than not they select an interesting Ontario beer that locals might not be familiar with. The rest of their beer menu is nothing to sniff at either. Don’t skip out on a meal, as the food and service are always top notch.