Beer to the Ground: Ontario’s new brewery news, Fall 2023 edition


You may have noticed that Beer To The Ground was absent from the last issue and that was for good reason. The number of brewery openings in the province has slowed in 2022 and 2023. According to Beer Canada’s statistics for the calendar year ending 2022, the number of brewing licenses in the province remained static at 380. If you assume that each of those breweries makes 10 beers a year, you’ll have to make do with something like 4000 beers to choose from.

I can hear you now: How many of those are IPAs?

It’s worth acknowledging some of the moves that have happened since the last time this column ran. Amsterdam Brewing has been purchased by Denmark’s Royal Unibrew. Waterloo has been purchased by Denmark’s Carlsberg. Beau’s is now owned by Steam Whistle, Henderson’s beers are being brewed at Bench. Black Oak was purchased by Silversmith. Barncat Artisan Ales, Rhythm & Brews, and Bell City have all closed their doors. Whitewater and Calabogie have entered a partnership.

It’s all getting a bit hectic, really.

Barrel Heart Brewing

Barrel Heart Brewing in Ancaster is a labour of love on the part of accomplished brewer Mark Horsley who had a hand in the success of both Nickel Brook and Bench Brewing. Specializing in saisons and fruited variants made with local produce, Barrel Heart occupies a truly delightful niche and is well worth your attention.

Bridgewater Brewing

Located in quaint downtown Welland, Ontario, Bridgewater offers an accessible lineup of beers brewed on site in addition to a full lineup of wines and cocktails. Why not try their Ciderita, which marries the great taste of apple and lime in a single glass? Best of all, it’s canal adjacent meaning that you can bring your bicycle or just go for a pleasant stroll while the lakeboats slouch by.

Cold Bear Brewing Co.

Arnprior’s Cold Bear Brewing answers the question, “What temperature is the bear?” Fortunately the beer is the same temperature as the bear, and you’re not too late to be a part of their Founder’s Club. You can find their beer, which is made exclusively with local ingredients, at the Cheshire Cat Pub and at their taproom.

Glasstown Brewing Co.

Located in Wallaceburg, just about halfway between Chatham and Sarnia, Glasstown was founded by Todd Shepley who jumped ship from the tool and die industry. The brewery’s taproom features the largest wood burning stove in Wallaceburg, and a familiar menu of pizza options. We wait with baited breath to see whether their beers will be available at the local curling club, but people who live in Glasstown shouldn’t throw stones.

Goldenfield Brewery

Just a stone’s throw from the Peek Freans factory and Muddy York Brewing in East York, Goldenfield has launched after three years of prep with a lineup of conventional styles including a witbier and an IPA. It will be interesting to see how they settle into the neighbourhood. If you visit, don’t sleep on Sultan of Samosas down the block. The Mutton is a perfect fit for Witbier.

Old Flame Distillery District

You’d have to be crazy to take on Mill Street Brewing on their home turf. Fortunately for Old Flame, they have experience opening in historic locations. Port Perry and Newmarket have prepared them to bring their unique selection of lagers to one of Toronto’s most prominent tourist districts. Some difficulty in licensing has resulted in a delayed opening, but with equipment on site, progress is being made.

Wrinkly Bear Brewing Co.

After a brief period of hibernation, Wrinkly Bear Brewing departed its original location after just over a year and a half and settled on a larger cave in Guelph. Over the course of the winter, the business has changed its focus from brewpub to taproom, meaning that the food menu has shrunk somewhat.

York Brewery

Long ago, in the before times, there existed Brew Your Own facilities. Some of them were so successful that they lasted until the modern day. York Brewing, which up until recently was The Brew Kettle has made the conversion to commercial brewery and is offering the people of Richmond Hill premium quality craft beer.

Comments? Questions? Opinions about which bear would win in a fight between a Cold Bear and a Wrinkly Bear? The Cold Bear would probably be at a disadvantage just based on not having warmed up first. Although, a Wrinkly Bear would probably be easier to grab by the pelt and it might have just gotten out of the bath. If they teamed up, could they take on the Dragon from the Kingston Brewpub?

Email us at with your outlandish theories about the outcome of a battle between two such titanic forces.

You may also like