While sharing a pint with my friend Glenn some weeks back, he mentioned how great it would be to go on an organized bike tour of some of the microbreweries around town. Yes indeed! So I came up with the following route that includes stops at a fair number of those presently in operation. Thus was born the First Annual Ottawa/Gatineau Microbrew Bike Tour! We managed to assemble four riders including myself, Glenn, Robert and Giacomo to test it out.
All of the breweries serve small 8 oz samplers. I also brought along plastic shot glasses which gave us the opportunity to divide the samplers into four smaller portions. That way we could taste and appreciate the brewmaster’s craftsmanship, while avoiding any wibbly-wobbly riding. I was amazed at the selection and variation of brews in the region. It was great to see how the local craft is thriving and expanding.
The blue line on the following map below identifies the planned route.
And away we go! Robert, Giacomo and I started off from the Clocktower Brew Pub on Bank St. Good place to begin our adventure – nice patio, fine place for cyclists to assemble. Great service too.
For the first leg of our journey, we cut across the Glebe towards Dow’s Lake and headed up Prince-of-Wales Drive towards our second destination: Broadhead Brewing Company, located in a business park along Auriga Drive. Super friendly folks with an obvious passion for their craft – making delicious beer.
Glenn joined us at Broadhead, completing our touring foursome.
We then headed off towards our next stop – the Big Rig on Iris St. We followed the bike lane along West Hunt Club Road to a bike path that starts west of Merivale Road. The path took us to Woodroffe which we followed north until Navaho Drive where we crossed over the transit way to get on the bike path.
The short section of red line line on the map is a slight deviation we should have taken. That’s because, contrary to what Google Maps suggests, the bike lane along Woodroffe suddenly ends at Norice St. There’s a path on the west side of Woodroffe where Norice meets Woodroffe that leads to Centrepoint Drive – a much safer option.
We rode up to the Big Rig Kitchen Brewery at the end of Iris, across from the entrance to Ikea. Perfect timing, because we were all getting pretty hungry. We settled in to a table on the patio and had burger type meals to accompany our sudsy samples.
Next stop – Kichesippi Beer Co. To get there we rode east along Iris until it crossed the NCC Experimental Farm Pathway. After climbing the path behind the Carlington Heights Reservoir we cut north by riding down the old ski hill. I had recently tested out riding down the hill and knew that, although a bit steep, it is very manageable on a bike. Once arrived at the bottom of the hill, however, it was suggested that I owed replacement brake pads to my fellow tourers.
We then rode under the Queensway along Clyde into a small industrial park where lives the Kichesippi Beer Company. We missed their 2 o’clock tour, as we were quite a bit behind schedule, but both Glenn and Giacomo had already toured the place. Suffice to say, they do give tours to those interested. They also have a custom built bike on display that can be used to serve beer on tap. Bravo!
The next section travelled between Kichesippi Beer and Beyond The Pale took us close to Glenn’s so he seized the opportunity to switch bikes, while Giaccomo unloaded a couple of growlers at his place. The map shows the route as planned, versus these slight detours, in case someone else wants to try the tour.
Beyond The Pale is located on Hamilton Ave N close to the Parkdale Market. UPDATE 2017: Beyond the Plae has moved! They are now a few blocks east in City Centre! The map up above has been updated accordingly. Started up in 2012 by a couple of friends from the neighbourhood, it’s got a great friendly atmosphere, and a nice selection of some fine brews.
We rode down Parkdale and got on the Ottawa River Pathway which took us right to our next stop, the Mill St Brew Pub. UPDATE – 2017: Mill St was bought out by Labatt’s, so not sure it qualifies as a micro-brewery anymore… Located in a 140 year old heritage building that was once a grist mill, it has a fine selection of home brews, a beautiful patio, and is easily accessible by bike, situated as it is right off the bike path.
Our final destination was Les Brasseurs du Temps on Rue Montcalm in Gatineau. It too is a brewery/restaurant located in a 19th century heritage building along the Ruisseau de la brasserie, a stream that flows from the Ottawa River towards Lac Leamy. It houses a brewing heritage museum, which we didn’t have time to visit, but I will definitely try to check out soon. It is normally accessible from the Ruisseau de la Brasserie bike path, which is presently being repaired along the stretch between the brasserie and the Voyageurs Pathway. We had our final samplings of the day on it’s recessed terrace.
So there you have it – the First Annual Ottawa/Gatineau Microbrew Bike Tour! Lots of fun had by all. Having underestimated the time we wound up spending at each brewery appreciating their craftsmanship, methinks next years tour, already in in the planning stages, will have fewer destinations. Four, maybe five. We’ll see. Cheers!