8 January 2016

Niagara-on-the-Lake Beers with Nana and I

As I have wrote so many times since I started the Drunk Polkaroo, I want to get out of my comfort zone and explore the world. What better way to do this than by visiting where the brews I love come from and getting some tasty Ontario Craft Beers straight from the source.
Having a day off during the week is advantageous when you want to visit a brewery because it isn't quite as busy and you can really take your time. My mom was off, so I asked her if she wanted to come along on my first trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
I didn't plan ahead for doing any tours, I just wanted to go out, grab some new brews and head on home. When I started looking at the websites for Oast and Silversmith, I noticed that the latter was a brewpub and figured we could grab a bite as well. Off we go.
You can't miss this.
First up was the Niagara Oast House Brewers. It is located at 2017 Niagara Stone Road in a converted big red barn. Easy to spot and only about 40 minutes from my house. An open space that somehow feels quite warm and inviting as you as you open the door. The staff member who greeted us was cheerful and very engaging. She took the time to explain each beer as we inquired about it and was very informed. My mother is not a beer drinker, but she is willing to at least try them, taking a sip of mine. I tried the Chestnut Brown Ale and the Saison in the tasting glasses. The Ale was quite flavourful and had a biscuit and malt flavour that was light and refreshing, so sad it doesn't come in bottled form. I thought the Saison was sharp and earthy, but quite lovely overall. When the bartender found out Mom didn't really like beer, she poured her a taste of their sour beer, which she explained was a lot closer to wine with its acidity. What good customer relations it is when you can draw a non-consumer of your product in with a positive vibe and make them curious to see what you are offering. She liked it and when I took a sip, I found it quite tart, but complex. Needless to say, I purchased a bottle. Actually , I bought one of everything they offer. Not to worry, I didn't break the bank, they only have five different beers in their distinctive corked 750 ml bottles. Prices are in the $10 plus range, but you're getting a larger bottle with about two pints in each, so it is pretty reasonable. I am looking forward to getting into their take on Farmhouse Ales.
We will be coming back for a tour on a Saturday or Sunday in the near future. I hope I can expect to encounter this passionate level of commitment to the customer and great beer at all my stops.
Nana bought me some glassware to help
with the tasting later on.
As I said earlier, our next stop was for lunch and it was a good choice.
Great logo. Look for the Ivy
covered church.

 Besides the red barn, another iconic small town Canadian building is the church. Silversmith Brewing is located at 1523 Niagara Stone road in a converted Anglican one and the bar is the kind of a pub that makes me want to move to this part of Niagara. It is a nostalgic space that makes you want to sit down, put your phone away and have a deep conversation with your company and maybe a pint or two. Mom and I both loved the design of the interior and if I hadn't been having such a good time talking, I would have remembered to snap a couple of photos. Next time I'll try, but I'm not really sorry because we were having fun. Go check it out, you'll see.
I don't go out much and haven't really been a bar guy in long time, but this space is perfect for lunch or dinner. The staff are friendly and upbeat, with the whole atmosphere being geared toward helping you enjoy the people you are with. We both ordered the Bratwurst for something to nosh on and when they brought it out, I thought no way mom could finish it. Great portion and the bun was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The picture doesn't do it justice. So damn tasty!
I had the sauerkraut and the mustard made with their Black Lager on mine and it was very good. I was pretty shocked to see that my mother had finished hers as well. It was that good. Since we were having something to eat I decided to grab a pint. Only $5 on a Thursday, imagine that. Good beer at a reasonable price. Or go pay $2 more than that for a watered down Bud at a sports bar. Your choice. I picked the Dam Buster British Pale Ale to drink with my meal and was I glad I did. It is a fantastically made beer with all the hallmarks of the best British Ales. Bready malt flavour with caramel notes and a slight bitter flavour made me smile every time I tilted it back. Good beer does that..
We lingered and talked about anything that came to mind. The layout allows for you to actually hear your friends and as I have been adamant about doing, I was being present. No need for phones, or writing about my beer, I just enjoyed the company. The bar was starting to fill up as we left and I noticed the people were reacting much as we did, enjoying each others words and not their chains to technology. Wonderful.
I bought all four of their signature beers and am most looking forward to trying their Black Lager. It is a German style beer that I have encountered before from other breweries and loved. I have no doubt their take on it will be great. Reasonable prices for both the beer and lunch. It was about $6 for each of the brews in 600ml. bottles and lunch for the two of us was only $30. Friendly staff, good food, great beer and an amazing space make this a place I will be returning to. If you want to go, book your brewery tour ahead of time online. We will be doing that next time, when hopefully dad and Mrs. Polkaroo can join us and see all that Silversmith Brewing has to offer.
Looking forward to this one tonight.
This year is getting off to a good start and I have high hopes for all the other places we are going.
 Look out Ontario, the Polkaroos are coming for a visit!

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