Ottawa’s Micro-Brews

Ottawa, and area, has quite a few micro-breweries, if you know where to look.  Luckily, I do know where to look so I’m going to help you out, and give you a few ideas of where to hit up.  A few things to remember:  the drinking age in Ontario is 19, and drinking and driving is just a stupid, idiotic thing to do.  Take public transit, walk, take a taxi or have a dedicated driver.

First up is our not-so micro-brewery breweries.  Mill Street was started up originally in Toronto in 2002, and opened up a brew pub/restaurant located in an old mill just off of downtown a few years ago.  It’s remarkably easy to get to by walking, and a wonderful walk along the way.  Head down Wellington street, past Parliament Hill, and the Supreme Court.  It’s the old stone building just across the street, on the banks of the Ottawa River.  It can get busy for dinner, but if you go around 3 or 4, for pre-dinner snacks and a pint, it’s easy to get a table.  I’m a fan of their Tankhouse and Organic beer.

3 Brewers (or Les Trois Brasseurs) is a new import in Ottawa.  Originally started in Quebec, they have very recently, within the past year, opened up two new brewpubs in Ottawa.  One is conveniently located at the corner of Sparks and Bank Streets.  This place is very busy for lunch – they open at 11:30, and are packed by 11:45.  But if you delay arriving until 1:00, the place has thinned out as the public servants return to work.  Their flammekueche are excellent (I love their Moulin Rouge and Italian versions) and so are the burgers.  They often have a seasonal beer on tap as well.

Lastly is another brewpub chain in Ottawa, the Clocktower.  There are 4 locations in Ottawa – one in Westboro, one downtown in the Market, one in New Edinburgh and one in the Glebe (with the clocktower, and where the brew house is located).  I like their Bytown Brown and their Clocktower Red beers.  They’ve also got delicious food.

There are a few straight breweries in and around Ottawa. Just out of town to the east is Beau’s All Natural Brewery Company (aka Beau’s) in Vankleek Hill (directions available on their web page).  They have tours, a patio in the summer, and celebrate Oktoberfest in October (because when else?)  Best part, if you’re here for Oktoberfest, is that they have a shuttle from Ottawa.  If you can’t get out their brewery, you can still support them by buying a pint in one of the many pubs and restaurants around town that carry it.  Try a Lug-tread!

Hidden just north of Westboro is the Kichesippi Brewery, at 866 Campbell Ave.  They offer free tours Saturdays at 2 pm. Bus 85 will take you close.

Because of course, there’s a brewery, Big Rig, owned by a local NHL player, Chris Phillips.  Located near the IKEA, in Ottawa’s west end, it does take a bit to get to.  Take bus 94 to Iris, or buses 93 or 96 to Pinecrest and walk towards the giant IKEA signs.  You can also take bus 67 to Greenbank/Iris.  There’s a restaurant attached to the brewery where you can enjoy some food with your microbrew.

Beyond the Pale is another small brewery located in Hintonburg (to the east of Westboro), at 5 Hamilton Ave.  They open at 12 on Friday, Saturday and Sundays.  All of the 90 series buses will take you to Tunney’s Pasture bus stop, the brewery is located a few blocks north.

Out in the south end is Broadhead Brewing Company, difficult to get to without a car, although bus route 116 will get you close.  I just found out about this company, and I’m eager to try their beer.  They have tours Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 6 p.m, but they do mention emailing them to set up a tour.

And lastly, there’s Hogsback Brewing Company.  The trick with this company is that they don’t have their own brewery – they contract out to various local craft brewers.  So you can’t actually visit their brewery, although you can try their beers in many local pubs.

 There are other breweries located outside of Ottawa.  I haven’t visited them all, but a local newspaper, The Ottawa Citizen had a great review of 5 breweries located just outside of the city.

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Ottawa Year-Round

I’ve been living in Ottawa for quite a while now (I moved here when I was 18) and I have to say that as a city to live in, it’s fantastic.  To visit……maybe not so much.  Or rather – there’s plenty to do here, but we don’t really advertize that fact.  Because Ottawa is like an apartment that you finally got the way you like it, so you go out to the parties, but don’t ever throw any at home, because then something would get broken, and you’d just have to clean up after other people, and who wants that trouble?

I’m breaking that rule.
 
Apart from the museums, and Parliament Hill, what do we have in Ottawa year round?  Other than just hitting up a random bar (not a bad plan) what is there to do to wile away the hours of the evening?  I’ve got just the things…..

Have you ever wanted to party in a  museum, shaped like a castle, and full of bones?  If you’re over 19 (the drinking age in Ontario), one Friday a month the Canadian Museum of Nature hosts “Nature Nocturne” a dance party in the museum itself.  Tickets cost $20; and the museum is easy to get to from downtown (bus routes 1, 5, 7, 14, or walk along the canal).

TimeKode, also on Fridays (the third Friday of every month) features music, turntables and dancing.  

Spins & Needles is great for those of you who craft and love music.  Why not combine the two?  If you don’t have a craft on the go, or didn’t bring one with you, they often provide material for something there.  In the same vein, every Tuesday night, Raw Sugar Cafe hosts Beats and Boards – Djs with a side of board games.  (Alternately, if you’re not here over a Tuesday, hit up Monopolatte – Ottawa’s only board game cafe.)

Barrymore’s Musical Hall has a retro 80s night every Sunday.  Some come dressed in their 80s best, and others come in comfortable shoes.  Show up early to get in the door, the line has been known to snake around the corner.  In the winter, there’s a coat check available.  Last time I was there, they had 80s movies playing (silently) to accompany the music.  Right on!  Hop on the 1, 2 or 7 and hop off at Somerset street.  Walk a half block down and you’re there.

 Shanghai Restaurant on Somerset has karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights with China Doll.  Dog & Pony also has karaoke at various places – always an entertaining show.  I’ve been to O’Briens with friends, although I saved everyone’s ears.

If you’re looking for something less thumpy-thumpy, and more of a laid-back get together, and you’ve got oodles of useless trivia swimming in your brain, come on out to a trivia night at a local pub.  Most locations are within the downtown core and easy to get to.  Bonus if you come to Pints and Quarts (Ps&Qs) on a Sunday night – yours truly is the host.

If you’re looking for something more intellectual, check out The Gladstone, GCTC or Arts Court for local theatre productions.  There’s also the National Arts Centre for larger productions.  The Gladstone has some pretty interesting Art Deco architecture, if you’re looking for some interesting buildings to check out.

If you’ve got your walking shoes with you, you can always hit up Ottawa’s Haunted Walk.  Tours run year round, and will educate on the city’s seedier side with their stories.  Bonus points if you stay in the Ottawa Jail Hostel – it’s rumoured to be haunted!

Street and Nye (or StreetnNye)

Order in ranking, Street number 31, Nye number 45.
 
The same weekend that I climbed Rocky Ridge Peak, I also climbed Street and Nye.  Unlike the day before (Rocky) when I hiked up and out with the whole group of us camping, this time it was back to the Dynamic Duo, as Steph and I set out together for our own hike.

 

Signing in.

 

 

Neither Street nor Nye has much of a view from the summit, so we figured the other women might not be interested in spending the day with us; especially considering we were trying to get them hooked on the hiking the 46.  They went off to hike Phelps instead, which has a fantastic view.

 

 

Steph and I set out around 8 – not fantastically early, but certainly not a late start either.  The trailhead to Street and Nye can be reached a few ways – we walked towards the Loj, and took the path marked “Mount Jo”; alternatively, you can head out past the parking station attendant booth, and take the path there marked “Mount Jo”.  The two paths do meet up eventually, at the register.
From there, you follow the path as it leads around the Lake, eventually splitting off from the Mount Jo path, and another Old Nye Ski Trail.  Shortly after this, there’s a large sign stating that the trail is no longer maintained nor marked past this point.  It should be noted that the trail is quite easy to follow, mostly.
I say mostly because when you get to the large river crossing, there are paths that lead from the trail down to the river bank.  We took the first one, assuming it to the trail, and crossed the river only to lose the trail on the other side.  (After much back and forth – both along the banks and back across the river – did we finally pull out the compass and use it while reading the guide book, realizing that we had crossed before the river swings north and needed to go back and get on the trail again.)  To save you this time and trouble, it’s important to note that a) there are two false paths to the river before the true trail leads down, and b) the true trail and river crossing are marked with cairns on both sides of the river.  If you don’t see a cairn on your side or the opposite side, don’t cross!

Follow these across the river.
We pulled out our river shoes to cross – I had already fallen once on the rocks and bashed my knee good, and the water was just deep enough to give me pause about walking (again) in wet boots.  The water was surprisingly not that cold – it actually felt quite nice on our feet. 
Abandoned cans, all rusty and un-usable.
From there, the trail was easily discernible as it led along the river bank, past a large meadow (and later on a beaver dam) eventually reaching the abandoned lumber camp.  Here we decided to leave a few things – it had been cold when we started out, and we had worn long pants at the beginning of our hike, so we left our pants, and water shoes, with a note stating that we had gone to Street/Nye and would be back later on that day for our belongings.  (And yes, they were still there when we got back.)
Street and Nye have a great hike up – it’s not too demanding (even the steep section is – compared to Basin, Haystack and Giant – not that bad). One thing that did surprise us – everything we’d read and Street and Nye talked about the steep bit before the trail splits for the two summits.  While there is a steep bit before the split, there’s also a not so steep section after the steep section but before the split.  So basically – once you hit the steep section, you’re just over half-way to the split.  You’re going to go through a section of what looks like deadwood, and things are going to look like you’re coming to something summit-y, and then you’ll go around a corner and….there’s still path in front of you.  
 
I can almost….reach….
We went to Street first, as we figured get the further one out of the way.  It was fairly flat for a short bit, then it got a little steep as we wound our way up.  It’s good to note that there are several paths, as people have meander their way to the summit – try to stick to the one that is the most defined to avoid trampling the surroundings too much.  I think it took us maybe 40 minutes to hit the summit – not too long, really.  Once we got there, I sat to treat a blister that was forming (duct tape over a band-aid easily solves this problem), while Steph took a few photos from the lookouts.
We quickly headed back to the split, and up Nye; it was a very quick 10 minute walk over to the Nye.  There was some gentle up and down, but the real problem was grabby branches from the bushes lining the path.
Great day for a rocky beach….
Once we hit Nye, took a few photos (of us, and the couple that we had been following to and from Street), we headed back to the split for some lunch.  There’s a nice clearing with plenty of shady places to sit at the split, which was great on a bright, sunny day.  We chatted with a few hikers (there were lots out – we met over 30 hikers, which surprised us as neither summit has a view) and then headed out – making a push to hit the lumber camp and retrieve our gear (which we hoped was still there – it was.)
We took a break by the river crossing – sitting and sunning on the rocks, and drying our feet after dipping them in water.  From there we pushed on towards the trail register, and then to the Info Centre to pick up our patch (Street and Nye share a patch.) 
Total climbing time: 7 hours and 40 minutes
Left trailhead at: 8:15, returned at 3:55
Summitted Street at 12:25 (left summit at 12:31) summitted Nye at 1:08