Do you have and Craft Beer brewed in Hamilton, Ontario? This is a question I find myself asking more and more when I visit a city new to me. Word on the street is that Hamilton has an emerging Craft Beer scene that is just starting to take off and I’m going to make it my mission to visit these breweries for a first-hand taste of what they are brewing. They are not located close together so best to spread your Hamilton Brewery Tour over a few days so as not to drink and drive. Of course, all the beers are probably on tap at a fine Hamilton Pub, I just prefer to visit the Brewery directly. You never know what special brew they may have on tap you can’t get anywhere else.
The first brewery I visit is located in Dundas, not far from Osler House where I am staying. It is only two weeks old at the time of my visit and it is called Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. Located at 65 Hatt Street in old town Dundas, the building it calls home has been many things in its history. A foundry, indoor ice rink, and even a bus repair depot. By far my favourite business to call it home is the brewery.
The tasting room looks directly into the brewery so while you enjoy a pint of Lager you can watch the Brewmaster at work. Currently, they brew three Lagers and a Barrel Aged Lager aged in Pinot Noir barrels. I tried them all and they all get two thumbs up. By far my favourite is the Barrel Aged.
Oh, not enjoy will you enjoy some great craft beers beer at Shawn & Ed Brewing Co, but on Monday’s you’ll be able to order artisan Pizza’s to eat in or take out and on Friday and Saturdays you’ll be treated to a fine selection of Food Trucks that drive right into the Brewery.
My next stop on my Hamilton Brewery Tour takes me just outside the city to Burlington and Nickel Brook Brewing Co. Technically, not in Hamilton the vast majority of their beer is brewed in Hamilton. The Burlington location houses the tasting room and is where they experiment with small-batch brews. It is worth the 15-minute drive.
If you can get a tour of the brewery you will be treated to a view of a whole lot of Barrels. Last seasons Barrel Aged brews sold out in just weeks and I bet the same will be true for the 2016 batch.
At the tasting bar, they have a large selection on offer. I tried four of the beers and enjoyed all of them. The stand out for me was the 1105 Imperial Saison. At 11.05% alcohol, it’s not a beer I could drink all afternoon, but it’s the perfect beer after a hard day at the office.
There is a secret at Nickel Brook Brewing Co, well it’s not so secret. They also brew Ginger Beer and Root Beer. They are both so good that the Root Beer has won awards. It is the #1 Root Beer in North America as voted by TAPS Magazine. It is by far the best Root Beer I’ve ever tried.
The third stop on my Hamilton Brewery Tour is Collective Arts Brewing located at 207 Burlington Street East in Hamilton.
Brewed in a former Labatt’s Brewery in Hamilton’s Port, Collective Arts is brewing great beer with a cultural element. Beer labels are designed by local artists and the Tasting Room has an event space that will soon play host to local musicians.
I sampled all the brews on tap and came to find my favourite being the State of Mind, Collective Arts Session IPA. There is a beer for everyone at Collective Arts, from Pilsner to Ale and even a Black IPA.
If you are not able to physically visit each of the breweries I did I have good news for you. Chances are excellent you will find them on the beer menu at every Pub and restaurant in Hamilton. Give them a try and let me know which your favourite is. If you are driving in from Toronto don’t forget to stock up on the Nickel Brook Root Beer, it is the BEST!