Beer to the ground: Ontario’s new brewery news, Spring 2022 edition

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The fall and winter have seen the addition of a number of breweries to the province, at least three of which are brewing at a scale of a hundred litres a batch or below. Of course, it’s not the size of your brewhouse that matters; it’s how you use it. Some of the entries in Beer to the Ground this time around are long-awaited. Bar Volo has finally got their brewery up and running, resulting in a number of casks being available on site at all times. If that’s not a step in the right direction, I don’t know what is.

Bar Volo

Toronto (fall 2021) While Bar Volo’s new location has operated as a bottle shop throughout the pandemic, an entire section of Ralph Morana’s flagship pub sat idle. The brewing equipment has finally been put to use and the charmingly branded stubby bottles are flying off the shelves. Brewer Chris Evans and the Morana family have been working to determine what the flagship brands will be. While it is currently a toss up between a traditional IPA and an Italian Pilsner, who knows what styles might emerge from a brewpub that features six separate cask taps. For the adventurous, there’s even cask in four litre boxes to go.

Barnstormer Brewing

Alliston (fall 2021) Barnstormer now has a second location, meaning that you no longer need to make the trip to Barrie if you’re interested in ordering their fantastic pizzas. Spicy Flying Pig is a personal favorite, and it goes perfectly with the Flight Delay IPA.

Focal Brewing Co.

Hastings (spring 2022) Joining the trend of breweries attempting to use local ingredients to produce the majority of their beer, Focal Brewing Company is the brainchild of hop grower Brandon Bickle. Try their Welcome To Ontario Pale Ale, which is made entirely with ingredients grown within the province.

Ganaraska Brewing

Port Hope (fall 2021) Featuring Heriot-Watt trained brewer Alex Nichols and the extremely versatile Chef Z, Ganaraska has ten beers on tap and is one of the very few breweries actually advertising flights for sale in 2022. Why not try the seasonal specialty, Dachshund Through The Snow? Or, to put it another way, get a long little doggy.

Garage Time Brewing

Wellington (fall 2021) One of Ontario’s smallest breweries, Garage Time is located in a one car garage in PEC. The patio is available on days when it doesn’t rain and they are able to get the chairs out on the driveway. By all accounts the Margarita Gose is an early favourite amongst the locals.

Hop Society Brewing Co.

Acton (winter 2022) Also located in a garage, Hop Society was founded by Jeff Murphy and Kris Brown as a response to the strictures of pandemic life. They are organizing their first annual Cornhole tournament for April 23rd, meaning that it’s finally worth the drive to Acton. Try the beer named after that statement! And why not visit the old hide house? You’ve always been curious.

Lakehead Brewing Company

Thunder Bay (fall 2021) With an old school mentality at play, Lakehead is owned by the brewers and serves their beer directly from the brite tank, ensuring quality and freshness. With the kitchen duties filled by their neighbour, Tomlin Subdivision, Lakehead is content to focus on getting beer to the public in its freshest possible form. While the styles available are straightforward, it’s still early days.

Lost Craft

Toronto (winter 2022) Shehan DeSilva started Lost Craft with just an MBA and a dream to bring Kolsch-style lagered ale to the people of Ontario. However, although they have been contract brewing at Brunswick over the last few years, the transition to a physical location has been a long term goal. Their new partnership with High Park Brewery in Toronto’s west end allows for renewed interest in both brands as we head into the spring season.

Oranje Son Brewing

Caledonia (fall 2021) Operating out of a TWO CAR garage, Oranje Son is the brainchild of Stephen Rodemond, a deeply Dutch man. Although the brewing system tops out at fifty litres per batch, Rodemond has won an Ontario Brewing Award for his efforts, which just goes to prove that quantity isn’t everything.

Slate Island Brewing Company

Terrace Bay (fall 2021) Occupying the role of sole brewery on the long stretch of highway between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, Slate Island has focused on fruited beers in the early going with an Imperial Blueberry Ale and a Golden Ale they’re using for their in-house Sangria. You can really appreciate the vibrant colours through their clear glass bottles.

Something in the Water

Toronto (spring 2022) Projected to open in May of 2022, Something in the Water is the latest entity to switch from contract to bricks and mortar. Choosing to do it in Liberty Village means that their flavourful line of sour beers will find exposure to one of Toronto’s hippest neighbourhoods. Steve Waugh’s brainchild will certainly give Big Rock’s Oliver and Bonacini backed venture a run for their money.

Still Fields Brewery

Meaford (fall 2021) A farm brewery in the Georgian Bay region, Still Fields specializes in Belgian styles, mixed fermentation, and wild beers. With plans to use the 22 acre property to cultivate stone fruit, herbs, and flowers, Still Fields looks to be a destination estate brewery for years to come.

The Grist Craft Kitchen and Brewery

St. Davids (fall 2021) With a significant focus on the kitchen (including a muffuletta sandwich and a tantalizing selection of pizzas), The Grist’s beer selection has something for everyone from a London Fog style White Stout to a Red Cream Ale. You will want to check their hours before you go as they’re closed a couple of days a week for brewing.

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