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Five Breweries to Visit in Northern Ontario

No matter your brew of choice, Northern Ontario’s thriving brewery scene offers a range of outstanding craft beers – from classic to experimental styles. Whether you’re a beer geek or a casual drinker looking for a great craft beer experience, here are five breweries that are worth exploring on your next road trip to Northern Ontario.


Split Rail Brewing Company

31 Water Street, Gore Bay ON
splitrailmanitoulin.com

Manitoulin Island’s first craft brewery, Split Rail Brewing Company has been making naturally brewed craft beer since 2015. Split Rail brews are inspired by local ingredients – hand-picked hawberries go into their signature Hawberry Ale and Hawberry Black Cherry soda, oats from LoonSong Farm are brewed into their stout, and grapes and sumac flavour their Grape Sumac Soda.

After a day spent seeing the sights of Mantoulin Island, you can enjoy a pint on their rustic patio overlooking the lake. The brewery, taproom, patio and bottle shop are open year-round.

What to Drink: LoonSong Oats Stout
Beautiful dark pour and a thick creamy head with tasting notes of dark roasted malt, salted caramel, dark chocolate, and coffee, this stout is as distinctive as the call of the loon. We also recommend their signature Hawberry Ale – a ruby red, subtly tart ale made with Manitoulin Island hawberries.


Northern Superior Brewing

50 Pim Street, Sault Ste. Marie, ON
northernsuperior.org

A Sault Ste. Marie institution, this small brewery dates back to the early 1900’s. Soo Falls Brewing Company, the brewery’s original name, was constructed in Sault Ste. Marie in 1899 by Casimir Kocot and Andrew J. Short and was later purchased by the Doran, Mackey and Fee families in 1911. Today, the brewery is owned and operated by three local entrepreneurs who are passionate about keeping Sault Ste. Marie’s brewing traditions alive.

Northern Superior Brewing offers carefully crafted, premium lagers and ales made with both locally sourced and imported malts and grains. You can visit their taproom for a tasting or arrange for a tour by calling ahead.

What to Drink: Northern Superior Lager
One of their best-sellers, this crisp lager is brewed with Lake Superior water which gives it a fresh and clean aftertaste.


Sleeping Giant Brewing Co.

712 Macdonell St, Thunder Bay, ON
sleepinggiantbrewing.ca

 

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Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. has been dropping seriously good beers since its inception in 2012. Water from Lake Superior, locally malted grain and a lot of time and care go into each one of their barrel-aged, seasonal and core beers.

You can enjoy a pint and local snacks in the taproom overlooking towering, stainless tanks in the adjacent brewhouse or outside on the patio. And be sure to visit their onsite store – besides beer, they sell beer themed merchandise and unique local products.

What to Drink: Northern Logger
This award-winning, easy-drinking Golden Ale is lightly hopped with Bravo hops, giving it a little extra bitterness to counteract the sweetness.


Gateway City Brewery

600-612 Gormanville Rd. Unit 206, North Bay ON
gatewaycity.ca

Gateway City Brewery was founded by three North Bay friends with a passion for beer. But beer isn’t their only passion. They share a deep sense of pride for North Bay and are committed to supporting the local community the best way they know how – through beer!

Visit the taproom for a tasting or pop into the onsite bottle shop to pick a pack of their great tasting, fresh craft beer.

What to Drink: Baroness von Dunkel – Dunkelweizen
Brewed in collaboration with the Beer Baroness Society – a Northern Ontario social hub that promotes women in beer – this special brew is a cross between a German-style dunkel and a Hefeweizen with tasting notes of sweet malt, chocolate, banana and clove. A portion of the proceeds go to the Beer Baroness Society Scholarship Fund which provides financial assistance to Northern Ontario women entering a Post-Secondary Education in Brewing.


Lake Of the Woods Brewing Company

350 Second St. South, Kenora, ON
lowbrewco.com

Ontario’s northernmost brewery, Lake Of the Woods Brewing Company occupies a 109-year-old firehall in downtown Kenora where they craft small-batch beers using only the freshest hops, premium grains and fresh Lake of the Woods water. The brewery features an impressive 10Hl copper kettle system, a 101-seat taproom with a wraparound bar and a delicious taproom menu (it’s family-friendly until 10pm!), a spacious patio and a Whiskey Room. Tours of the facility promise to educate visitors on craft beer brewing and the history of the building and the original Lake of the Woods Brewery that operated in Kenora from 1898 to 1954.

What to Drink: Sultana Gold Mine
Named after the legendary Sultana Gold Mine on Lake of the Woods, this clean, crisp, ale is naturally carbonated using an old-world brewing technique called Kräusening.

For something truly special, try their ‘Deep Six’ Limited Edition Belgian Tripel finished with Champagne yeast and Trappist Candi sugar. It’s aged 20 feet under the ice at water temperatures ranging from 4 -10 degrees Celsius, for 6 months. Each bottle is hand numbered and packaged in its own custom printed container. Just 2,000 bottles have been produced at the Kenora brewery for release in spring 2022. You can pre-order it online.