While the Oktoberfest celebration in Kitchener-Waterloo is a hot ticket in fall, it doesn’t mean that London isn’t a hub for beer enthusiasts. In fact, plenty of pints are poured here all year round.
Make no mistake, beer brewing heritage runs deep in London. Carling Brewing Company was founded here in 1818. And the now global giant, Labatt Brewing Company, was founded in 1847. In more recent years, London has been enjoying a renaissance when it comes to the craft beer industry.
Meet the city’s new generation of craft breweries:
Indeed that's just a small sampling of what southwestern Ontario has on offer. Other great brews to check out include; Black Swan (Stratford), Blue Elephant (Simcoe), Cowbell Brewing (Blyth), Half Hours on Earth Brewery (Seaforth), Railway City (St. Thomas), Refined Fool Brewing (Sarnia), Stonehouse Brewing (Varna), Stratford Brewing (Stratford), Strathroy Brewing (Strathroy) and Upper Thames Brewing (opening soon in Woodstock).
You may very well find a few of these brews at London’s most popular eateries. Restaurateurs are big fans and more local and regional craft beer has been making its way onto bar menus over the years.
Three of my favourite spots are worth noting for their ongoing commitment to the local and regional craft beer industry; The Morrissey House, Milos Craft Beer Emporium and The Root Cellar (who also shares a roof with the London Brewing Co-Operative). It’s also worth noting that all three promote and serve amazing local fare in addition to the tastiest of beverages.
Mark Serre, founder of The Morrissey House, went all-in on craft brews and he announced his plans to stop serving the big brews in favour of filling his taps with Ontario craft beers.
So it’s safe to say that the craft brewery industry in London, and in its surrounding communities, is thriving. London has also become a hub for celebrating the amber nectar – a special type of lager.
The Best Beer Festivals & Tours
Every June, the Western Fair entertainment district hosts the hugely popular Beer & BBQ Show and, just this past August, London celebrated the highly anticipated return of the annual Forest City Beer Fest. While attendees at the Beer & BBQ show can always expect to see the standard brewing giants, one can also expect to see some of the smaller breweries. On the other hand, the Forest City Beer Fest is a singular celebration of the microbrewery scene. Both festivals offer a great mix of food, with a focus on London’s local food establishments at the Forest City Beer Fest.
While beer fans are welcome to tour the operations of local craft breweries (be sure to call first as some require you to book a tour in advance), two brewery tours that really stand out for me are; Labatt Brewery Tours (London) and Railway City Brewery Tours (St. Thomas).
So let’s raise a pint to the growing craft beer industry that’s creating demand in the marketplace, creating jobs, and good times right here in the Forest City.