Does anything pair better with the promise of summer than a crisp craft brew? We think not, and that’s why it’s the perfect time of year for a beercation here in Ontario, Canada.
We’ve rounded up a list of toast-worthy trails and tours on tap to some of our fav craft breweries, all within a short drive of Toronto or Ottawa. All you need to do is choose between an all-in, fully guided trip or draw straws for the designated driver on a DIY adventure. Cheers!
FULLY GUIDED TOURS
Don’t worry about the planning and driving. Just focus on the suds.
The Beer Bus
Explore the amazing flavors brewed from Ontario’s fresh grapes, apples and hops on an all-inclusive winery, cidery and brewery tour in Toronto or The Blue Mountains (100 miles north of Toronto). Tours go well beyond just door-to-door transportation; you’ll also get essential facts and fun back stories, on-board snacks and refreshments.
Follow your guide to some of Ontario’s finest microbreweries for behind-the-scenes peeks of the brewing process, facility tours, plenty of samples from seasonal flavors and core brews, snacks, meals, and scenic routes along the way. The Toronto Series (Junction Jitney and Westend Wallop) both begin at Henderson Brewery Co (in the city’s trendy west end). The Barrie Brews & Bites begins at Redline Brewhouse (about an hour north of Toronto). And the Muskoka Edition launches at Sawdust City Brewing Co. (about 2 1/2 hours north of Toronto).
Brew Donkey Tours
Best described as a field trip for adults, Brew Donkey Tours are Ontario’s beer tour trendsetters, with regional tours of local breweries in the Ottawa area and Kitchener-Waterloo (about an hour west of Toronto), both hotbeds for great brews. They’ve even partnered up with BATL Axe Throwing to up the adventure ante with Sip, Axe and Relax, part of a collaborative monthly event series.
Ride the Bine
(1-2 hours southwest of Toronto)
Owners, and Norfolk natives, Amanda and Susan share their passion for local wine, beer and cider of Norfolk County, London, Brantford and Hamilton in style; travel in the comfort of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter complete with complementary snacks and water.
Born to Ride
(2 hours north of Toronto)
Consider this the Ironman for brew fans – a beer-athon! The Georgian Bay Spirits, Vista View, Cycle & Swim guided day trip leads you to breweries, cideries, wineries and great lookouts (aka: rest stops) by bike. Lunch and a swim are included.
WE Trolley Tour
(about 3 hrs southwest of Toronto)
One of Ontario’s prettiest wine regions also has a notorious brewing and bootlegging past. Explore the history and local craft brew culture in the Windsor Essex region by trolley (so retro!). Stops include The Grove Hotel in Kingsville, a boutique inn that houses a microbrewery, otherwise known as the beer-lover’s shangri-la.
Feel free to detour along these DIY tours.
Temperance and Temptation Tours
In suburban Toronto, the York Durham Headwaters region invites you on an experiential food and drink adventure unlocking secret stills and storied tales from the prohibition past. Meet modern bootleggers, brewers and winemakers on three different self-guided tours.
Niagara Ale Trail
(about 90 minutes south of Toronto)
Niagara is for lovers … of great ale. In a sea of wineries, the Niagara ale trail is a beacon for beer lovers with featured flavors, seasonal menus and brewery tours.
Photo credit: Elora Brewing
Waterloo-Wellington Craft Collective Ale Trail
(about an hour west of Toronto)
The Kitchener-Waterloo and Wellington area could arguably be classified as the birthplace of craft microbrewing in Ontario thanks to Waterloo Brewing (previously named Brick Brewing). Keeping true to their craft beer roots, today the area boats 12 amazing breweries and one cidery. Cheers to that!
Cottage Country Beer Trail
(about 2 1/2 hours north of Toronto)
Nothing says cottage vibe quite like lounging on the dock with a cold one. The pristine wilderness and picturesque lakes of Muskoka, Ontario’s iconic cottage country, have inspired local brewmasters to create flavors that embody the ultimate spirit of chill. Plan your refreshing getaway with beer-inspired itineraries around local festivals, live music, and new product launches.
Bay of Quinte Craft Tour
(about 2 hours east of Toronto, 2 1/2 hours southwest of Ottawa)
With over 25 options from the Bay of Quinte across to Prince Edward County, welcome to Canada’s largest rural craft beer and cider region. In a happy coincidence, it’s also home to world class cheddars, so add some artisan cheese to your craft tour.
Brewery Discovery Routes
Reward a hike, bike or paddle with seasonally inspired craft brews and locally sourced food. Ontario breweries, cideries, distilleries, Feast ON-certified restaurants, markets, and more in and around Ontario’s Greenbelt have added even more notable stops and activities to these trails celebrating great food, craft drink and outdoor fun:
Windsor Essex Barrels, Bottles & Brews
HOP thru Ontario’s Southwest
Saints and Sinners, Georgian Bay
Taps, Tastes & Trails, Guelph area
True Brew Path, Hamilton Halton Brant
Rural Roots & Dirty Boots, Durham Region
Brews, Bites & Barns, Kawarthas
Artisan Food & Beverage Region, Eastern Ontario
Backroom Deals & Muddy Wheels Trail, Ottawa
And like the simplest pilsner to the most complex ale, Ontario offers accommodation options that suit every palate. Find your digs at ontariotravel.net.