For our very first documented brewtrip, we decided to stick close to home in Hamilton.
Like so many towns around the country, Hamilton is experiencing a beer revolution. It just so happens to coincide with an overall revitalization of the city. Before moving to Hamilton, neither of us knew much about the city. As with many people, Hamilton was little more to us than the industrial skyline seen while driving over the Burlington Skyway.
We knew almost nothing about what was behind the factories and steel mills. How we ended up in Hamilton is a story for another day, but we were shocked at what we found when we arrived. Our preconceived opinions were all wrong.
The city of over 520,000 has so much to offer residents and visitors alike!
From its downtown, full of independent stores and restaurants, to a collection of over 100 waterfalls spread throughout the city, the Bruce Trail and Niagara Escarpment, Hamilton finds a way to always surprise you.
And then there is Hamilton’s beer scene. When we arrived in 2012, we didn’t hear much about local craft beer. That has changed a lot in these last few years.
You can now find taps around the city pouring Hamilton beer. Some of those local options available right now are:
- The Hamilton Brewery (currently being brewed and packaged by Railway City Brewing Co.)
- Garden Brewers
- Nickel Brook Brewing Co. (yes, it’s Burlington based, but we’re counting it!)
And there are at least three more coming soon that we know about. Stay tuned for when we explore the new breweries as they open!
But now to the actual brew trip. We wanted to go low-key with this one. We weren’t looking to rediscover our adopted home just yet. So we decided to start in Dundas, a formerly independent town on the western edge of Hamilton.
A hankering for local peaches always leads us at Dyment’s Market & Bakery. In addition to delicious, local fruit, veggies and baked goods, Dyment’s also has a dairy bar and free mini putt course. The mini putt may be meant for children, but we’re kids at heart. Their dairy bar serves Hewitt’s ice cream from nearby Hagersville, which we couldn’t say no to. Some very helpful advertising led to us walking away with butter tarts too.
Be sure to stop at the look off on Sydenham Road going to or from Dyment’s. It’s a beautiful view of downtown Hamilton, the Dundas Valley and Niagara Escarpment.
We’re suckers for antiques. We’re able to resist spending all of our disposable income on antiques (we save that for beer), but we love spending a few hours looking. Valley Antiques in Dundas is a great spot for anyone who shares the same love/affliction.
The other benefit? Valley Antiques is right across the street from Shawn & Ed Brewing Co., a brewery slated to open this coming fall. We’re really excited for this one. The building is the former Dundas Curling & Skating Club and dates back to the 1860s. Be sure to follow their journey on Twitter.
Also, check out this growler sample that Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. tweeted in June!
Then came the main event. We stopped at The Cat ‘N’ Fiddle at the corner of Augusta and John. Augusta Street is a safe bet for craft beer fans stopping over in Hamilton. The street hosts several great restaurants and pubs, including one of our favourites – The Ship. And you can’t go wrong with The Winking Judge either.
Despite our goal to showcase locally made beer, this first brewtrip was mean to replicate how we really started enjoying craft beer. Our love for craft beer didn’t really take hold until recently. And it was places like The Cat ‘N’ Fiddle that helped foster it.
The Cat ‘N’ Fiddle has limited tap options. There were no Hamilton beer options, unlike if we’d walked down the street. Instead we went with a Mill Street Tankhouse Ale and a Beau’s Lug-Tread Lagered Ale.
Mill Street and Beau’s were the gateway breweries for us. Early on, we ordered them because they were different.
“Never heard of that one!” was a pretty common thing to hear from us before placing an order.
So there was no better way for us to start this blog. Right where the seed was planted; a classic watering hole style pub with two beers that showed us beer could be more than ice cold, tasteless lagers.
It was a great meal of pub food – burgers and chicken fingers – and delicious Ontario made beer. That is how you put smiles on our faces.