This week we’re crossing Ontario, Canada, from Newmarket to Ottawa with a stop in between at Lindsay. It has become my job to find a brewery, pub or restaurant where we can sit down for a breather and have a decent meal and a flight or pint of ale. So if you happen to be staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Newmarket, where we stayed, here are a couple of easy stops to get the job done within a 10 minute drive.
We needed some nearby choices because we were a bit tired after a five hour drive and found ourselves in the middle of a little snow storm, so we didn’t want to venture too far from the hotel. Market Brewing Company satisfied our first requirement: a cold craft brew stat! The brewery is just a mile, sorry 1.6 km, from the hotel and well worth the stop.
Grizzly bears no longer roam this particular section of Canada but they’re still here on draft and in cans, who can resist a Bear Hug IPA with a grizzly bear logo on it? I can’t. Damn good beer too!
Bartender Lindsey was friendly, even though they close at eight and we walked in at 7:40. It was only a mile to the place but it took us a bit to find because we were driving on slushy roads and weren’t aware that the brewery is hidden behind a Hyundai dealer. The road-side signage has no lighting so we passed it two times.
Market Brewing Co. is a large open space, converted warehouse really, with a large bar, plenty of seating and a huge window view into the brewery section.
Good beer! We ordered a flight of four brews… obviously the pale ales: Single-Minded Columbus and Single-Minded Ekuanot. Plus a Bear Hug IPA and Metropolitan Porter. All around decent ales with solid flavors.
Thanks to Lindsey for sticking around while we sipped our beers. Kept her there until about ten after eight before heading over to our next stop for our second requirement, a cool place for dinner.
Hungry Brew Hops Gastro Pub is just the place for those who appreciate higher end dining and a decent beer choice. Located on historic Main Street in Newmarket, Ontario, Hungry Brew Hops has 37 rotating beers and wines on tap including local craft brews, wines, as well as selections from greater Canada, US craft breweries and other imports.
Sadly there is not enough time in a day to enjoy all of the beers on tap here, let alone a late night dinner. I had to make some tough decisions and select four beers for a flight. My choices were all local Canadian breweries: Beau’s All Natural Kissmeyer Nordic Pale Ale, Halcyon Barrel House Gravity Well sour and Infinity Mirror Brett IPA, and Dieu Du Ciel Aphrodisiaque Stout. Cindy ordered a Founders Breakfast Stout, not that it’s a bad thing.
To say Hungry Brew Hops is a nice place to go for dinner is an understatement. For foodies who love a big selection of beer and wine it is the perfect place to go. We enjoyed a huge arugula salad, cauliflower fritters and a grilled veggie pizza. Everything prepared perfectly and a nice presentation.
If you like a sports bar kind of atmosphere you can hang up front near the bar but if a quieter dining experience is your thing there is a nice section tucked away around the corner in the back complete with cushy leather seating against the wall, closer to the kitchen.
After our short one-nighter in Newmarket we took an hour or so drive eastward to Lindsay, Ontario. Another short stay, and snowy conditions kept us from getting too fancy or straying too far, but we did have a good meal and a couple of beers at The Cat & The Fiddle in Lindsay.
The Cat & The Fiddle is a cozy and dimly lit British-style pub with a fun sign and a comfortable dining area. The beer selections are a little basic but they do have some “local” Canadian brews on tap and at least some good import offerings to support the British pub theme. The menu is a little difficult for budding vegans like us but I found a nice veggie burger and had huge basket of onion rings. Don’t know what kind of oil they were fried in, don’t care, they were delicious.
Late evening diners that we are we kept the staff there a little later than they may have wished, though our server was very attentive and polite. It was snowy and sloppy out so let’s face it, who wants to be stuck late at work on a cold night with only two people in the dining area? We closed the place.
Then it was back to the hotel for the night. In the morning we’d be hitting the snowy roads for Ottawa.
And snowy is an understatement! There was this so-called Texas Low bringing moisture north through the area, most of the northeast US, Great Lakes area, north and eastward for that matter. We left Lindsay right around noon and headed northeast through seriously treacherous road conditions for nearly four hours. The trip took us about thirty minutes longer than it should have with the snow, and a few stops.
The last stop, just about forty minutes prior to arriving at our hotel in the Ottawa area, was in a little town called Perth. Perth Brewery to be exact. Cindy spotted their sign along the road and yelled from the passenger seat, “Perth Brewery! Pull in here!”
I swear I’ve never heard her so happy to see a brewery. I’m sure part of it was the need to stretch her legs, mine were cramped too, but most-likely it was due to the excitement that we were close to done with our white knuckle drive. I was ready for a cold one too. We’d have to wait to sample these brews though. After a quick stop to use their restroom, and a peak at the brewery we selected six of their finest and hit the road again.
Those are the highlights. I had a few brew pubs selected in Ottawa proper, but that’s about a half hour from where we stayed, so with only one night in the area and a snow storm seriously raging most of the night we decided to stay in and dine at the hotel bar instead. Which wasn’t a bad idea.
We’re at the Brookstreet Hotel in Ottawa and there’s this little jazz lounge just off of the lobby. They feature live jazz from 7-11 most nights so we got lucky. Small but okay selection of beers on tap, great food and a very cool stage we sat right in front and listened to Brian Browne and Kelly Craig for a couple of hours. Great players doing some great jazz selections with piano and trumpet.
We head back to the US later today, our next stop Watertown, NY, before heading back home tomorrow. I’ll touch base if we find anything worth mentioning, and we probably will.
Until next time, safe travels and a happy life!