Article by: Ottawa Free Tour
For a city of only 1 million people, Ottawa-Gatineau is fortunate to have such a large concentration of some of the best breweries in Canada. What a better way to get to know the city than sampling its unique flavours at the breweries in and around town.
While there are many more breweries than can be discussed in a single blog article, we’ve picked our favourites to highlight for visitors.
Founded in 1996, The Clocktower is Ottawa’s original craft brewery and Ottawa’s oldest brewery still in operation today. While it’s true that 1996 isn’t that long ago, it was well before the craft beer revolution hit North America. As a result, The Clocktower was the only place in Ottawa that was serving unique local micro brews for years and it maintains a special place in the hearts of many locals.
They have expanded over the years and now have 7 locations across the city, but the original location is the Brew House at 575 Bank Street in the Glebe.
Our favourite: If you happen to visit in October, definitely the Pumpkin Beer, otherwise the Bytown Brown.
Founded in 2006, Beau’s Brewery emerged at the forefront of the craft beer revolution in Ottawa and has been making incredible microbrews since. Located about an hour east of Ottawa in Vankleek Hill, Beau’s has established itself as a staple in many pubs across the city. Beau’s prides itself on being a family run, employee-owned organic brewery. So much so that if you happen to stop by for a tour, you’ll notice a number of cats walking around the brewery which they use as organic pest control!
Beau’s has become especially famous for their Oktoberfest celebration each fall. If you happen to be in the area at the time make sure to stop by for fantastic beer gardens, nightly concerts, DIY carnival games, and keg toss competitions!
Our favourite: The Country Vibes Amber Lagered Ale
Beyond the Pale (or as locals call it, “BTP”) started in a dingy storefront in 2011 in a rough part of town. Over the years they quickly outgrew their facility and had to move to a new location complete with a storefront, beer garden and event hall. Beyond the Pale is always experimenting with different styles of beer and collaborating with others to develop unique flavour profiles. It ensures that the lineup is different on almost every visit.
There’s always something fun happening at BPT, whether it’s an axe-throwing competition, a massive outdoor screen showing an Ottawa Senators playoff game, or just friends enjoying a great beer on their patio. Definitely worth a visit!
Our favourite: The Breaking Bitter Extra Special Bitter
Just across the Ottawa River in Gatineau you’ll find Les Brasseurs du Temps (“BDT”, not to be confused with “BTP”), a great way to experience the best beers Quebec has to offer. Quebec has its own brewing tradition and its beers are quite unique – often stronger in both alcohol content and flavour profiles.
BDT offers upwards of 30 beers at any given time, all brewed in house, to showcase the different flavour profiles from the various regions of Quebec. If you’re up for a particular unique challenge, you can try “l’horloge” (“the clock”) which consists of 12 samplers arranged in a circular pattern (make sure you’re not driving, some of these samples can be upwards of 12% alcohol by volume!).
Our favourite: Au Pied du Courrant American IPA