We’ve lived in Ottawa for more than 2 years now. For the last year I’ve been on a challenging quest: to visit all the breweries in the Ottawa area. Epic, right? According to the Ontario Brewers Directory there are 16 breweries in Ottawa alone! That doesn't even include the brewery-happy towns surrounding the city in every direction.
Unfortunately, the idea of writing about my quest only came to me today, after 12 long months of questing and not writing down any notes. The more I think about it, the more it is sounding to me like an acceptable reason to return to the breweries I’ve already visited. In fact, I think I will have to make that sacrifice for you, my faithful readers. You’re welcome.
I’m not in a rush to complete this quest, however; for a number of reasons. The top three being (1) I don’t want it to be over (2) My liver (3) My liver.
The other problem is that once I’ve visited a brewery (and inevitably fallen in love with their beer), I then need to go back and try all the new delicious seasonal and limited edition beers that they seem to be releasing every other week. Plus, have you seen the selection of craft beer at the Lansdowne LCBO? So good! Sigh. Sometimes my first world problems overwhelm me. I wonder if I will ever be able to succeed at my quest with all these libatious distractions popping up.
My taste buds have changed quite a bit over the last year. I am now more into hoppy IPAs, thick flavourful porters and anything Belgian. I love seasonal beers. I am so excited to have a winter ale or dark vanilla stout in the winter, a maple infused brew in the spring, refreshing fruity dock friendly beers in the summer, and the crowning jewel of all seasons: autumnal pumpkin beer! I like just about all beers and I especially love trying a beer that is really different. Even if it is the kind of beer that you are satisfied with after a sample, I very much appreciate tasting something completely distinct and unique. Because, why not? Life's short.
As I write this I am drinking a Jacques La-Lanterne from La Tuque de Broue in Embrun, Ontario. I haven't been to La Tuque de Broue yet, but thankfully this is not against Quest rules to drink their beer before I visit. In fact, it's not even officially pumpkin season anymore (don’t judge me). But when a colleague brings you a delicious beer inspired by the greatest of all seasons from a local brewery that is not available in the LCBO- you drink it. It’s only polite. I’m considerate like that. Its also happens to be a very, very delicious beer. It’s spicy and complex and full of flavour, which can’t be said about all (J: or, most) pumpkin beers. I consider myself at least something of an expert on this topic, as I have tried every single one I could get my hands on last Fall.
Thus far, topping my favourite Ottawa breweries (that I’ve visited as part of the Quest) are:
Bicycle Craft Brewery (great beer, awesome staff, close proximity to my house)
Tooth & Nail Brewery (delightful beer, great pub area with sitting and a great big window that gives an almost patio feel when the weather is great).
When I'm sitting at work, wishing I was instead sitting on a patio I like to listen to the 613Beer podcast. Its like meeting the patio life half way while not getting fired! Quench your thirst! Give it a listen!
Before you start reading my opinions on beer, there are some things you should know about me.
There is absolutely no reason for you to listen to my opinions on beer. I have no official training or in-depth understanding of beer. I just really, really like it. I am super interested in learning about beer until it gets too science-y. And then I just want to have another beer and change the topic to Game of Thrones. However, if you are interested in this, our friend Lasse is much smarter than I am and has an excellent, intelligent beer blog.
I love the Uptappd app and have learned through my hard earned badges there that I tend to rate beers on the higher side.
Great! Now that we've settled all that, let's go to Beau's!