Niagara Brewing Company

niagara-brewing-companyWhile walking in Niagara Falls mid July, down in the world famous Clifton Hill district, I am not finding that much has changed over the years of coming to the tourist capital of Ontario. The sounds of circus music, kids screaming along with the same smells of a carnival atmosphere. When all of a sudden a big silver sign beside the Guinness Book of Records caught my eye… Niagara Brewing Company..

Underneath those glorious words were “Ice Cold Beer”. My kind of tourist trap.

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We wandered into the front entrance and were greeted by a friendly staff, who lead us to the outdoor patio on the side of the raised garage doors of the bar. We sat at a table which was surrounded by Clifton Hulls staples such as the MGM Studios and the Rain Forest Café.

The Brewery was just brand new being only three weeks old and the place was bustling to say the least. The beer is brewed onsite and there is another floor where the beer vats are kept. The interior is a very open and modern décor and all I could think was, I wish this was here when my kids were younger, as I could have given them money and sent them on their way into the Clifton Hill playground as this was right in the heart of it all.

The location was brilliant to say the least. And now for what I came for.. The Beer..

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I ordered a pint of Beerdevil (62 IBU) and what a beautiful smash of big hop flavor. It had a smooth finish with a hint of hoppy bitterness. A great beer for all Hop Heads alike. I had opportunity to try the Niagara Premium Lager ( 20 IBU) and the Amber Eh (28 IBU). Both were well crafted beer with the Premium Lager being the perfect thirst quencher for beer fans alike. My wife thoroughly enjoyed the beer and she is picky to say the least, when it comes to craft beer.

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My experience was that of relaxation and enjoyment. In the middle of the never ending hustle and bustle of Clifton Hill, where millions of tourist visit each year was a place where you could relax and enjoy great beer and fantastic food. Where one would expect that in a tourist town of that magnitude the prices of the beer would be more than most other places, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. So when you go to Niagara Falls with your friends or family please take the time to rest your weary feet and have a pint or two at the Niagara Brewing Company. You will defiantly not be disappointed. When you are on your way out you can take a growler or two to your hotel room from their cooler at the front of the brewery.

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Make sure you check out their web site at www.niagarabrewingcompany.com and see their upcoming events and what they have to offer. A welcome addition to the Wicked Pub family.

Cheers Casey

Toboggan Brewing Company

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I had an opportunity while in London,Ontario to visit a relatively new brewhouse the Toboggan Brewing Company in the heart of the bar district. The city is famous for The University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College  in Southwestern Ontario and the nights in this district are legendary, to say the least. As I was heading down Richmond St. with my family, my eyes caught what I thought was a mirage,  glimmering from the sun. But it was no mirage. Two beautiful beer vats shining ever so brightly with the word ToBoGGAN appearing as if it was burnt into the sign underneath. Under ToBoGGAN were the words Pub, Beer Store, Brewery, Kitchen. This my friends has turned into a family outing.

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We entered into the brewhouse and were met by very friendly staff who genuinely appeared to be happy we were there.  We were led to our table eagerly anticipating the hoppy treats that the house was known for.  The interior had a very modern look,  mixed with a ski lodge feel that made us comfortable from the get go.

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Lets get to what we came for….Beer. They had a great selection of many craft beers from other breweries in the area which to me is important because it shows allegiance to supporting craft beer in the area.  I was interested in trying their own beer which was made in house.  I ordered my usual paddle of 4oz tasters when I go to a new brewhouse and it came out in a small toboggan which I thought was brilliant and was a great conversation piece at our table.

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I ordered the Amber(35IBU), the Stout(35IBU), the IPA(40IBU) and the Double IPA(45IBU). I`ve never had a bad beer but I have never been a huge stout or dark beer fan but I was thoroughly impressed with the Stout. It was very smooth and had an extremely clean finish. To be honest I was pleasantly surprised with the clean finish of all 4 beers.  My favourite was the Double IPA.  Its hoppiness was a flavour party that had me return later in the day to have a full pint upstairs in the biergarten.

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Overall I was so impressed with the beer I almost forgot how pleasant and professional the staff were. While I didn’t eat while I was there as we were on a schedule, I will be returning to try their Deviled Eggs, Charcuterie Board, Fondue, amongst other items that I observed in their menu. Please take the time to check out their website www.tobagganbrewing.com.  If you are in London or are planning to go there, please take the time to go and have a pint or a toboggan of tasters, you will not be disappointed. Visit their in house store where you can buy a growler or two to take home and have great merchandise to purchase. The ToBoGGAN Brewing Company is a welcome addition to the Wicked Pubs line up.

 

Mark Casey

mark.casey@wickedpubs.com

BeerFest Tourism

BeerFest 

HeeeeeYYYY!!!… Want to get away for a long weekend or have a special occasion coming up?  How about getting out of your comfort zone?When’s the last time you tried something new?  Want to see a different city that you have always wanted to check out?  Why not try out a Craft Beer Festival?  Places like Denver, Miami,Chicago or Toronto.  You may not know that many large citys and tourist towns in North America are Brewing it up with Beer Fests.

As the Craft Beer Market continues to grow and capture its’ share of the big Beer Pitcher, the popularity of locally crafted brews are on the rise. Beer Fests are a great way to find some hidden gems, new products and seasonal grogs mixed with local food fare.

Last October, the www.wickedpubs.com team travelled to Denver for The Great American Beer Festival.  We were not sure what to expect of Denver or the Festival, but after 3 days in this city and attending the Beer Fest, we knew that we were in love and had to come back.

When I first went to www.greatamericanbeerfestival.com and read about the 600 Craft Breweries and 3000 Beer being poured at the event, I immediatly called the boys and said we are going to Denver. There really wasn’t much of a debate from them and before you knew it we were sitting at The Rock Bottom Brewery in downtown Denver.

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Let the Pub Crawl Begin

We found the downtown to be vibrant,  happening and easy to get around.  Hitting The Pour House, Cheeky Monk,  Old Chicago Market which where we discovered Pizza Rolls and fell in love with  Coconut Curry Hefeweizen  Lips of Faith series from New Belgium Brewing.

We had to ‘paddle’ our way around the downtown;  tasting some of the finest Crafted Beer from Colorado including a stop at The WynKoop Brewing Company for a pint of the Paddy’s  Chile Beer and Cowtown Milk Stout then over to The Great Divide Brewing Company in search of the Yeti. After a couple of hours at the corner of the bar in the tasting room, we not only spotted Yeti but we also found Hercules, Titan and a Nomad.

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One of the highlights of this Wicked Pub adventure was a visit to  Falling Rock Tap House.  The walls lined with a collection of  over 2200 bottles of beer from around the world (maybe the inspiration for where the song came from), 75 beers on tap and 130 + bottled on the list.  The staff were excellent and knowledgeble making The Falling Rock a true Wicked Pub.

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The Festival

Selling out in only a couple of hours, we had to visit Stub Hub to purchase our tickets. Held at the Denver Convention Center located downtown and attracting 49,000 people over 3 days, the Who’s Who of the American Craft Beer Industry are represented and showcasing their art at this annual event.

The sound of bag pipes fill the air, as the Hop Heads march into the hall which is lined with row after row of beer and their makers.  At this point of the day, I thought I was in heaven and I knew that I couldn’t possibly taste every beer, but I would try and do my best.

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From the iconic Dogfish Head Brewery and  Sierra Nevada Brewing to the cutting edge of Right Brain Brewery out of Traveres City,  Michigan, the brewers where there to showcase an assortment of flavors. Everything from Asparugus IPA’s, Peanut Butter Brown Ales, Cucumber Basil Saison, Cherry and Apple Pie Amber Ales, I was blown away with so many creative recipes. The atmosphere was energetic with German Beer Hall Girls, Silent Disco, American Cheese Pavillion and many people dressed in costumes that would give you a good chuckle, all with the common goal to taste great beer.

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A Little Night Cap

To end the day of copious amounts of beer, we stumbled upon the Celtic Tavern and Delaney’s Cigar Bar for a little good night nip.  Leather couches and winged back chairs, I was ready to spend the night, with a great selection Cigars and impressive line up of Single Malt Scotches it was great way to end the day and reflect with great friends.

 

So, if you are looking for that next get away try a BeerFest.  Time it with a concert, sporting event or just be a tourist for a couple of days..

 

Cheers

Wicked Pubs