My Barrels Bottles & Brews Adventure
Jessica Dennis | July 29, 2016
Inspired by our 60 reasons 60 days campaign, blogger Jessica Dennis spent a weekend trying out our new Barrels Bottles & Brews Trail. Use #60Reasons to join the conversation, and get inspired by plenty of new reasons to fall in love with Windsor Essex Pelee Island.
I picked the perfect two days for my Barrels Bottles & Brews adventure. Blue skies and 32 degree weather made sampling icy cold craft beers even sweeter.
I started the day downtown with my Barrels Bottles & Brews passport in tow. Before the tour, we made a pit stop at the Downtown Windsor Farmers’ Market on Pelissier. We sampled different cheeses from The Cheese Bar and learned about the health benefits of Kombucha from the owners of The Holistic Guy. The vendors are all so diverse and offer everything locally grown, which is amazing to see in the city. Make sure that you give yourself at least a half an hour at the farmers market because you feel like a kid in a candy store. There are so many amazing vendors that I couldn’t stop looking ahead to see what was next.
After the farmers market, we walked just a minute down the street to our first stop on the tour, which was Craftheads Brewing Co. If you’re an indecisive person like myself, get ready to hum and haw for a while because there are so many delicious choices. We ordered a flight so that we could try four different beers. The Chocolate Peanut Butter is definitely my top pick. When you can make beer taste like a dessert, then we’re talking! We got our passport sticker, and it was on to the next one.
Our next stop was Brew Microbrewery, which looks like a house on the outside but has been totally transformed on the inside. You can see the brewing process happening from the front door, with huge barrels in a room right beside the bar. We ordered a flight, which included their popular Brew Lager, Canadian Maple Brew, and their delicious summer style Brew Light Lime. The owner came over to ask how we were enjoying the beers, and we had a good laugh when we realized that his face was below our drink on a coaster. What a fun idea!
We made our way back and hopped in the car to our next destination: Walkerville Brewery. I was really excited for this stop because I’ve tried so many Walkerville beers, but I had never been to the brewery. We ordered 2 flights, which ranged from light and easy drinking beers to more hoppy ones. I personally enjoyed the less hoppy beers, but I learned that like wine, hoppier craft beer becomes more palatable once you start drinking them more often. Our bartender Troy was extremely knowledgeable, and he gave us a tour of the brewery and explained all the steps it takes to create their products. I learned more about beer in an hour than I have in my whole life. After Walkerville Brewery, I decided that I’m now a craft beer drinker.
After our delicious educational session, we headed to Motor Craft Ales to order some more beer! Our flight arrived in a really fun metal and wood holder, and we enjoyed 4 different styles, including their Indian Pale Ale and Rider Cream Ale. My favourite was the Weiss Ale, which had a fruity taste and was very light and summery. It’s definitely the perfect patio beer.
Our day was coming to an end, so we decided that although we loved this craft beer afternoon, food was our friend, so we drove out to Tecumseh to our last stop of the day at Frank Brewing Co. Frank has a beautiful wrap around patio and is a newer establishment, so everything was shiny and smelled like fresh wood. I ordered their guacamole and chips, as well as a veggie bomb sandwich. Both were delicious, and they used all fresh ingredients. After eating, we were ready for our last beer of the evening and decided on another flight. We ordered the Oatmeal Stout, the Cranky Bastard (which we specifically ordered because the name is hilarious), Stairway to Hef’en, and The No Nonsense Lagered Ale. The Hef’en was definitely my favourite because I’m a huge fan of wheat beers, and this one packed a punch.
We started our next leg of the journey bright and early with a scenic drive to Kingsville to visit Banded Goose Brewing Co/Jack’s Gastro Pub. I’ve heard only amazing things about Jack’s, so I was excited to try some of their famous beers and delicacies on the menu. Jack’s has a Muskoka or cottage type of vibe, and their three patios, located on the porch, in the front, and in the back of the restaurant, provide a space for any preference. As per usual, we ordered a flight of beer and appetizer special that Jack’s had prepared for anyone doing the Barrels Bottles & Brews tour. We ordered their famous Artichoke Parmesan, which we were told was an old family recipe, as well as the Lake Erie Perch and Chips that’s caught and served up fresh daily. The food was delicious, and their blueberry beer was one of the best I’ve ever had. We were told that it was seasonal but always makes a comeback because of its popularity.
After spending a few hours soaking up the sun, we made our way back to Rock Bottom Bar & Grill for a relaxing end of the tour drink and to devour the wings that everyone in the city keeps raving about. Now I understand why they were voted best wings in the city. We had to rock paper scissors over who got the last one! I was tapped out (excuse my pun) of beer for the night, but if you’re looking to sample some beer, order a flight, which comes with eight 7oz glasses of their specialty brews. I watched as every table who ordered one squealed with delight when they saw the huge slab of wood and beer filled glasses spread across the whole table.
We left Rock Bottom with a passport of six stickers, a full stomach, and the sheer satisfaction that we tried over 20 craft beers in two days and conquered the Barrels Bottles & Brews tour.