While Niagara’s wine industry may get most of the attention, some really exciting things have been bubbling up in the region’s beer business over the past few years as well. Like the little brother who surprises everyone when he quietly catches up to his big brother’s size and stature, Niagara’s beer scene has definitely reached its fighting weight. Here are some of the best bet breweries along the Niagara Ale Trail that are definitely worth a trip and a sip this fall.
Bench Brewing Company | Beamsville
Bench Brewing Company takes a farmhouse approach to craft brewing with a healthy dose of inspiration from Niagara’s winemaking industry.
Must-Try Brew: Specially crafted to highlight the unique water profile of the Beamsville Bench, Lincoln Lager lends perfect minerality to the style. Noble German hops create a balance of bitterness and malt.
Must-Try Chew: Overnight Porchetta with roasted peppers, caramelized onions, pecorino cheese, parsley and arugula pesto served on fresh Ciabatta from De La Terre.
Lock Street Brewing Co. | Port Dalhousie
Lock Street Brewing Co. keeps things simple. Following the German Purity Law of reinheitsgebot, they focus on four key ingredients in the brewing of their beer: water, malt, yeast and hops. Should a particular beer require something additional, they source an option that is from Niagara and 100% organic.
Must-Try Brew: Port Side Pilsner is a very light, clean, crisp-bodied beer with a noticeable earth and spicy presence of hops.
Must-Try Chew: Shareable plates and boards from local caterer, CHZPLZ, make for delicious pairings with your pint.
Coldbreak Brewing | St. Catharines
Coldbreak Brewing’s 15-barrel brewhouse serves up interesting, consistent, sessional and great tasting beer to a 125-seat taproom and spacious patio.
Must-Try Brew: Niagara Vice IPA’s bright citrusy orange and grapefruit pith blend with dark tones and spice for an IPA that is both refreshing and satisfying for those craving hops.
Must-Try Chew: Honey Butter Hot Fried Chicken
The Merchant Ale House | St. Catharines
A founding father of Niagara’s craft brewing scene, The Merchant Ale House has been crafting signature brews in their downtown St. Catharines location since 1998.
Must-Try Brew: Drunken Monkey Oatmeal Stout is one of the brewery’s original house beers, and there’s no question as to why it has withstood the test of time.
Must-Try Chew: The delicious Smoked Mushroom Sandwich is proof that “The Merch” stands behind its commitment to vegan meals that feel right at home beside a pint of craft beer.
Keep On Sipping!
Niagara’s many cideries make a fun addition to an afternoon of beer tasting and touring. Great options nearby include Fielding Craft Cider, Vieni, Tawse, Redstone and Rood Apples.
Stay A Little Longer
These craft breweries and cideries are just a sampling of what’s happening in Niagara’s buzzing beer scene. In order to have time to check out some of Niagara’s other breweries and wineries, consider booking an overnight stay to stretch out your travels over two days. With this awesome Stay One Night, Get One Night Free promotion, it’s a great time to book a fall Niagara getaway.
Round out your stay with additional restaurant, winery, shopping and activity suggestions from Tourism St. Catharines and Shop Lincoln. You can also read our latest blog posts on touring Niagara wine country, finding new Niagara Escarpment waterfalls, Niagara’s culinary scene, exploring the Town of Lincoln, and fall cycling in Niagara for more trip inspiration.
To help protect the health of yourself and others, please remember to bring and wear your face mask, wash and sanitize your hands regularly and practice physical distancing of at least 2 m/ 6 ft. Contacting the places you wish to visit in advance is recommended to check to see if reservations are required.