Fancy a brewski? You’re in luck because today we’re going to plunge head-first into the world of breweries in Ottawa!
If you’re feeling tired of the usual commercial beers, I highly recommend going for something local and with a distinctive taste. Of course, you’re going to have to know where to look first, so that’s what we’ll do.
I’ll be giving a rundown of five of the best breweries of Ottawa based on customer ratings. We will also take a closer look at what they have to offer to beer lovers, along with their pros, cons, and reviews.
How Much Do Breweries in Ottawa Charge?
To understand how much a craft brewery visit will cost, you must first know about Ottawa’s unique culture and drinking habits. Believe me when I say the two are closely intertwined.
Being a truly multicultural city has allowed people who visit and live in Ottawa to enjoy a wide variety of food from all over the world. And how best to pair delicious meals from China, the Middle East, Latin America, India, and other countries than with local craft beer?
The average Canadian drinks around 80 litres of beer in a year. Roughly translated, that’s enough to fill up nearly a thousand Olympic-sized pools – with over 80% of that beer being products of Canadian craft breweries.
So yes, it’s safe to say the Ottawans love their beer. As further proof, there’s an Ottawa Beer Fest that’s been around for nearly a decade now.
The festival features over 40 Canadian craft breweries, along with fun activities like the 5K Craft Beer Fun Run/Walk and beer pong. Apart from local and domestic craft beers, attendees can partake of some wine, ciders, imported beers from Europe, and other specialty brewskis.
This yearly celebration has put Ottawa firmly on the beer destination map. It’s also succeeded in shining the spotlight on local craft breweries, along with the best international cuisine paired with them.
A 20-piece ticket sheet to sample different beverages and food at the Ottawa Beer fest costs $20. Of course, it’s up to the vendor to price their samples, usually served up in 12, 8, or 4-ounce cups.
There’s also an active Ottawa beer tourism industry organized by Brew Donkey and other groups. Depending on customization preferences, a private tour can cost anywhere between $25 to $100 (+ tax) per person.
But how much will a locally crafted beer set you back? Let’s take a look at what the most popular breweries in Ottawa have to offer.
|Beyond the Pale||Pale Ale Project $3.10 (473 ml./4.9%) |
The Darkness $3.10 (473 ml./5.6%)
|Tooth and Nail Brewing Company||Tenacity Pale Ale $3.00 (355 ml./5.5%) |
Fortitude Stout $3.00 (355 ml./5.4%)
|Stray Dog Brewing Company||Shaggin’ Wagon $3.98 (473 ml./6.4%) |
One Hop Wonder: Eclipse $4.56 (473 ml./6.4%)
|Waller St. Brewing||Tiger Milk (White Stout) $6.50 (500 ml./4.5%) |
Black DIPA $8.00 (500 ml./8.5%)
|Bicycle Craft Brewery||Velocipede IPA $3.50 (473 ml./6%) |
Mr. Templeton’s Wee Heavy $3.54 (473 ml./7.5%)
Take note that the prices typically reflect the volume of beer per container, as well as the alcohol content by volume. However, other factors such as packaging, ingredients, branding, advertising, and brewery practices could affect the final price tag.
The Best Breweries in Ottawa
Now that you have an idea how much a uniquely crafted local beer costs, it’s time to take a closer look at the breweries behind them. I will mention the different factors that will make them worth a visit (or at least an online order).
1. Beyond the Pale
|PRODUCTS||Beyond the Pale craft beers in bottles and cans, BTP Smoque House takeout food, gift cards, house wine, beer glasses, T-shirts, toques, tank tops, hot sauce|
|ADDRESS||Beyond the Pale Brewing Company Unit 108, City Centre Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario K1R 6K7|
|CONTACT DETAILS||(613) 668 2337|
|OPERATING HOURS||11 AM – 8 PM|
We previously mentioned how some breweries in Ottawa seem to have hit the sweet spot of combining tasty craft beer with delicious grub. Beyond the Pale is a shining example (and definitely within bounds of acceptable behaviour!).
Not all microbreweries offer food along with their menu, but this one does it with pride. Beyond the Pale has an onsite restaurant with a menu bursting at the seams with spicy appetizers, smoked meat entrées, sides, sandwiches, and even kids’ meals and milkshakes.
A bestseller on the menu is the Pale Ale Project — the refreshing and flavourful result of a year’s worth of trial and error using a variety of combos. Then there is The Darkness, which uses hops, some roasted barley, and chocolate malts to come up with a stout that’s bold and full-bodied.
The brewery is open seven days a week from 11 AM to 8 PM. Boasting a large, “socially-distanced” patio to accommodate diners and craft beer aficionados, Beyond the Pale also offers its food and specialty brews in their online shop as an added COVID safety measure.
Care to know what customers have to say about their Beyond the Pale experience? Read on!
“They have a good selection of craft beers. We had a few snacks which were good. Although the place is pretty big, it was quite packed on a Saturday afternoon. There are tables outside. Good service.” – Seat13C
“A microbrewery with a good selection of beer, and quite a good menu. Had chicken tacos (super spicy) and pulled pork sandwich (excellent). Very good IPA, aromatic and tasty.” – 572kamilp
2. Tooth and Nail Brewing Company
|PRODUCTS||Tooth and Nail pub packs, Tooth and Nail crafts beer in cans, T-shirts, tote bags, sweatshirts, jerseys|
|ADDRESS||3 Irving Ave, Ottawa ON K1Y 1Z2|
|CONTACT DETAILS||+1 613-695-4677 |
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday to Saturday 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM |
Closed on Sundays
If there is a brewery specifically designed for people-watching, it would be Tooth and Nail Brewing Company. It’s conveniently located in a decidedly hipster part of town where many tourists and visitors gather and mingle.
The brewery itself is accompanied by a beer bar that offers up the usual bar chow of chips, nuts, pretzels, and olives. However, those looking for a fuller meal to go with their favourite stout, pale ale, or lager could also order pastrami or country ham and pickle sandwiches.
But for those who wish to stay at home and enjoy their craft beer, Tooth and Nail Brewing Company’s website offers a catalogue of its bestsellers. Curbside pickups and Ontario-wide shipping can give you peace of mind as you sip on the aromatic and flavourful Fortitude Stout.
In stark contrast to its bare-faced website, Tooth and Nail have quite an active Facebook page. Customers can see updates and brewery announcements on the feed, as well as send private messages in real-time.
Read some feedback from people who have tried what Tooth and Nail Brewing Company has to offer:
“Being outside of our normal stomping ground, we had not gone in here for a sit-down. Finally made it on a beautiful fall night. They have Community seating outdoors, which is a great way to make new friends. Friendly crowd. The overall noise level is on the louder side, but in a good way. We had a great waiter, and have a great beer. I ordered the pretzels and they were not what I was expecting – and I loved them.” – Dawn M.
“Enjoyed drinks here with friends on Saturday night. Really liked the interior, it’s big but still felt cozy. Service and beer were both good! The beers I tried were hoppier than I expected but I’d definitely go back again to try something different. Quite a few beers on tap as well as one cider (not their own). I had a flight of 3 beers which was reasonably priced at about $7. Cool spot in the neighbourhood!” – Lindsay K.
3. Stray Dog Brewing Company
|PRODUCTS||Stray Dog craft beers in cans, shirts, beer by keg, beer glasses, beard oil, mugs, hats, sweaters, dog plush and leashes, beer soap, gift cards, hot sauce, coffee, marinade, salsa, socks, patches, hoodies|
|ADDRESS||501 Lacolle Way, Unit 4, Orléans ON, K4A 5B6|
|CONTACT DETAILS||613-830-7364 (SDOG) |
|OPERATING HOURS||Sunday to Thursday 12 noon – 6 PM |
Friday to Saturday 12 noon – 7 PM
If you’ve ever wanted to hit a pub but don’t want to leave your beloved furry pal behind, you’re in luck. Stray Dog Brewing Company is a dog-friendly brewery where Spot, Snoopy, and Scrappy are welcome (as long as they are properly leashed, that is).
The company’s microbrewery offerings are nothing to turn your nose up at, either. A sip of the creamy (yet refreshing) award-winning Shaggin’ Wagon New England IPA will make you realize why this hidden space has bar habitués flocking to it.
Stray Dog also offers seasonal and one-off craft beers. If you fancy a full 30-litre keg of your favourite brew, they can fill that up for you as long as it’s in stock.
Should you become (or are already) a fan of Stray Dog Brewing Company, you’ll be glad to know that the company has an impressive range of non-beer merchandise at their online shop. There are clothing and grooming items for humans, and dog plushes and leashes for their canine companions, too!
How do dogs (and their humans) find Stray Dog Brewing Company, you ask? Find out below!
“We enjoyed a wonderful evening, nice cold beer, brought our dog who enjoyed the atmosphere and friendly staff. Great beer, friendly people all around. Water for my dog, treats, it was excellent.” – Joof C
“As part of the Brew Donkey brewery tour here in Ottawa, I discovered this gem hidden in an Orleans industrial park. The brewery has won numerous awards and it shows. The space is very inviting, clean and modern. This is a great spot to chill after a long day fighting traffic on the Queensway to get home. The staff were super friendly and very knowledgeable of their many offerings. I highly recommend the Jeanne D’Ark Oatmeal Stout and the Summer Slam Cucumber Wheat beer (it sounds like a weird combination but it was super refreshing). Check it out. You won’t be disappointed.” – Ottawa Andy
4. Waller St. Brewing
|PRODUCTS||Waller St. craft beers in bottles, beer glasses, stickers, shirts, beer carriers, dog treats, magnets, growlers, gift baskets, gift cards|
|ADDRESS||14 Waller St. Ottawa, ON K1N 9C4|
|CONTACT DETAILS||[email protected]|
|OPERATING HOURS||Open for pick-up only Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 10 AM – 3 PM |
Friday to Saturday 2 – 6 PM
The founders of Waller St. Brewing envisioned a speakeasy-like atmosphere for their microbrewery. Taking inspiration from the Prohibition era, they set up shop in a small basement which can only be accessed by a steep flight of stairs.
Today, it’s become the cozy little underground brewery that is hard to keep under wraps. Though it currently does strictly curbside pickups and deliveries only, the full catalogue of craft beers can be viewed and ordered online.
If you’re looking for something big, bold, and with hints of roasty chocolate and licorice, you can’t go wrong with the Black DIPA 8.5%. On the other hand, the Tiger Milk White Stout will give you a pleasantly creamy mouthfeel with hints of cocoa and coconut.
It’s also great to note a seemingly minor but important process the brewers throw in with their Bottle Return system. With just a click of a button, bottle deposits are encashed (the money is enclosed in an envelope) when delivery staff comes around to pick up the bottles.
Thinking of giving Waller St. Brewing a try? Get to know what previous customers have to say about it, first:
“A small brewery with a large selection and wide array of different beers. One of the best in Ottawa.” – Ryan G.
“This little underground gem is everything I read about and more! It had history, tons of character, great friendly staff and best of all fantastic microbrews of various flavours! It brought my pallet to new places with ingredients like beets in beer which was out of this world for me! But all others we equally as fantastic too if you are a craft beer lover like me! I’ve told other microbrewery owners across the country about this place as a best practice place to check out for sure! Keep making us want great beer!“ – Viking TravelGuy
5. Bicycle Craft Brewery
|PRODUCTS||Bicycle craft beers in cans, T-shirts, jerseys, socks, keychains, hats, tank tops, toques, hoodies, sweatshirts, beer glasses, coasters, snacks|
|ADDRESS||#12 850 Industrial Ave.Ottawa Ontario K1G4K2 Canada|
|CONTACT DETAILS||[email protected] |
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday to Saturday 11 AM – 7 PM |
Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM
24/7 online shop
Beers and bikes – never the twain shall meet, you say? The founders of Bicycle Craft Brewery would beg to differ.
The brains and brewmasters are a husband-and-wife team with a love for both craft beer and bikes. The pair are careful to choose only all-natural, locally sourced ingredients whenever they can.
This effort has resulted in a craft beer catalogue that’s fresh, all-natural, and a pleasure to the palate — just like a bicycle ride in the country. The Velocipede IPA is a great showcase for this process with its harmony of citrusy and caramelly flavours.
Of course, the Bicycle Craft Brewery site also has apparel merchandise, ranging from bike jerseys and shirts to socks and caps. If you’re feeling snacky, some Jamaican Jerk nuts and Canadian beer nuts are available for pairings with your favourite beer, too.
Interested in pedalling over to try Bicycle Craft Brewery brewskis? These are just some reviews from past customers:
“After sharing a yummy flight — we even liked the IPAs — we split glasses of their Songbird Pale Ale and Vinternat Licorice Stout. Top-notch beer!! We also enjoyed a fresh-baked pretzel and mustard made for the brewery and brought home a jar of the mustard as well as two four-pack cans of the brews. The environment is open and friendly. We’ll definitely be back!” – Patrice E.
“I was first initiated to the Bicycle Craft beer at the Orléans craft beer fest this past summer. I haven’t actually visited the brewery itself but I had to come here and comment on the most amazing beer I’ve had the chance to sample … over and over again … I basically used up all my tokens on this beer. The jalapeno beer, WOW what a treat! I didn’t know what to expect and boy was I happy I tried it. It’s spicy but not burning your mouth spicy it just works … it’s sooo good. Way to go guys for thinking out of the box and coming up with an amazing brew! I will definitely be coming around to get some for home. The guys told me they were about to run out in May so my question is when will you make this part of your regular rotation! I need this beer in my life for good!” – Skichick79