Great Beers, Golfing & Gastronomy
Muskoka Brewery just outside of Bracebridge, Ontario is, to me, the epitome of “cottage country.” While these guys didn’t create the concept of sitting on a dock and drinking a beer while watching the sun set, they sure perfected it by pumping out some of the best beers in the province.
Friendly staff put on a great tour as well. Walking through their large facility you pass by rows and rows of barrels, many containing special one-off beers planned for future beer festivals and events.
Fermenters, towering skids of cans, and a nearly non-stop canning line are all on display as you pass around the brewery. If you’re a beer nerd, then you’ll be like a kid in a candy store, especially since they’re more than happy to let you sample all of their regular beers plus special barrel-aged and limited brews before and after your tour.
As a beer nerd myself, the top beers I suggest trying from Muskoka Brewery are the Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout, Mad Tom IPA, Legendary Oddity and Craft Lager. The lager is one of the best I’ve had in Ontario and definitely works better for all day sessions or while out on the golf course enjoying a few brews.
Speaking of golf, you can’t spend your entire day at Muskoka Brewery, but luckily it’s conveniently located close to a number of great golf courses. Whatever your level of skill or passion for the game, there is a course in Muskoka for you to enjoy (over 25 actually in the great district). The nearby Muskoka Highlands Golf Links is just outside of town on the way to Port Carling, the Bracebridge and South Muskoka Golf Clubs are each a short drive away, and the Taboo Muskoka Golf is a quick drive down the highway to Gravenhurst.
It’s easy to turn a beer getaway in Muskoka into a weekend or week-long golf and beer vacation! And an extra bonus stop for beer lovers heading to Bracebridge has to be the Griffin Gastropub, located at 9 Chancery Lane.
This pub is a hidden gem, literally. Located up an alley atop the main street of town, a friendly local will give you directions if you have a hard time spotting it. Inside, it’s a cozy little establishment that serves great food and offers suggested beer pairings for all the items on their menu. (I recommend the bison burger!) Live music later in the week is also featured.
The Griffin Pub has the best beer line-up found anywhere in Muskoka. Both draft and bottle selections here highlight the best of local breweries, plus some other great finds.
What most people don’t know though is that the Griffin Pub also makes its own beer, which can only be found in bottles at the pub. Oddly they don’t really promote it, so be sure to ask if they have any Griffin beers available when you visit. I dare say they’re on par with anything from the bigger craft brewers too. (Their OJ IPA is a fantastic juicy, not overly bitter, IPA.)
I had only planned to visit the pub for a couple of quick beers, but met so many interesting and friendly people at the bar that it turned into a five hour session, so plan to stay the night. And if you’re planning a visit to the area in summer, the guys at Griffin also put on a local beer festival called Session Muskoka, which happens in early August. I know I’m planning to be there next year, so perhaps I’ll see you there?
IF YOU GO: Complimentary tours of Muskoka Brewery occur Wednesday to Sunday at 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm. If you have a large group please contact [email protected] to arrange a date and suitable time. Telephone: 705.646.1266
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About Red Hunt
Red is a veteran travel writer who has written over 600 articles and newsletters to date about his adventures all over the world. Though he enjoys discovering lesser-known spots across the globe, he also enjoys trips into Ontario’s great outdoors. A big fan of craft beer, Red is known to sample local brews wherever he goes. For more information, visit www.redhunttravel.com