Joe and Lindsey Mrav love Hamilton. If you have any question about that after a conversation with the co-founders of Grain & Grit Beer Co., you clearly weren’t listening!
Scheduled to open in Fall 2017, Grain & Grit is truly a labour of love for this dedicated couple. They, along with head brewer Alex Sporn, couldn’t be more excited about being able to build a brewery in the city they love so much.
So, to help you plan your brewtrip to Hamilton, the crew at Grain & Grit has created a handy guide to the city with all their favourite things to do and see!
And when you’re done planning your visit, why not grab a Founding Membership? With only 100 available, Grain & Grit is offering some very unique benefits to member. Yes, you get beer for a year, but you also get access to their recipes, can taste their pilot brews and help them decide which beers to produce, and get first crack at their new releases (to name just a few). Plus, you get to say you supported a passionate group of people, determined to bring more beer to southern Ontario! You can buy your membership on their website!
What would you tell someone who’s about to visit Hamilton?
Hamilton is full of mom-and-pop-style entrepreneurs (like us!) running creative, dynamic and inspiring businesses. One of the reasons that we wanted to start a business in Hamilton is that it has such a strong community vibe, and it’s full of people who are as passionate about their city as we are. When you visit the city, you’ll be able to feel this energy and you’ll want to keep coming back for more!
Best place to get a great meal?
Dinner with friends at Nique (order the sushi nachos & hummus to share!), a date night dinner at Aberdeen Tavern, breakfast and coffee at Detour, tacos at Mezcal. Our favourite lunch in the city is from Pokeh in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market (get the cucumber noodles! Do it!)
Where can someone find amazing local beer on tap?
The Winking Judge, The Ship and The Brain have amazing local beers on tap, and the recently opened Rust City Brewery also has an impressive tap list and bottle selection. If you’re into live music, The Casbah has great bands and craft beer.
Best spot for the shopaholic?
What about the people that want to escape to nature?
There’s nature in every direction around Hamilton, which is one of the big draws for us!
We live in Dundas and our favourite hike is just steps from our house in Spencer Gorge where we can see three waterfalls (it’s called the Webster’s Falls side trail).
We also love hiking to Dundas Peak from Tews Falls for beautiful views of the Dundas Valley (it’s especially beautiful in the Fall). It gets very busy on weekends, but they’ve just changed the parking situation, so hopefully it’s better this year.
If you’re looking for a hike that’s close to our brewery, then check out the trails in Cootes Paradise. You can access the Ravine Road Trail from Churchill Park in Westdale. Take it to the Ginger Valley Trail to loop back to the park. This is a shorter hike that’s ideal to do with kids, and you end up at a nice park where they can play.
We use a handy app called All Trails to navigate all of the hiking and waterfalls in Hamilton.
How do you like to relax with friends around Hamilton?
A great way to spend a Saturday afternoon with friends is to start at the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, grab a coffee from Smalls and browse the shops on James St. N. (and we would pop in at MERIT Brewing for a flight and a sausage afterwards!)
We also love biking into Hamilton from Dundas with friends for dinner and drinks. We just hop on the rail trail and cruise into the city (visitors can rent a SoBi, our bike share program — look for the blue bikes throughout the city).
What are some hidden gems that visitors need to experience in Hamilton?
If you love coffee and/or cycling, you should definitely visit Grupetto in Dundas for an espresso and a chat with the friendly owners.
We love affordable adventure, so what are some great free or low-cost things to do in Hamilton?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the hiking around Hamilton is so good! The only cost would be parking at any of the Hamilton Conservation Authority lots.
Bayfront Park is also free, and you can easily spend a couple of hours strolling or biking on the waterfront.
Last but not least, one of the best free things to do in Hamilton is to attend Art Crawl along James St. N on the second Friday of each month. It’s a lively street festival that features open galleries/studios and shops in this vibrant neighbourhood.
Here’s a tough one: What’s your favourite locally made beer in Hamilton that isn’t from Grain & Grit?
Joe and Alex are big fans of Collective Arts’ Ransack the Universe. MERIT Brewing and Fairweather Brewing just opened their doors and they both have incredible beer, so they’re top on our list as well!
Wow! You don’t have an excuse to skip Hamilton now!
Huge thanks to Grain & Grit for taking time to talk with us about their community.
And keep your eyes open for our feature length article about the Grain & Grit team and the beer they brew!