Are you an Ontario craft beer fan looking to sip through the best Barrie Breweries?
Do you live in Barrie and find yourself looking for a new watering hole to meet other craft beer aficionado’s? Or do you regularly drive past Lake Simcoe when adventuring to cottage country from Toronto to Muskoka and need a new lunchtime rest stop?
Our comprehensive guide to the craft beer scene in Barrie features detailed information on all three breweries in the city: Flying Monkeys, Barnstormer Brewing and Redline Brewhouse.
Each of the breweries in Barrie offer visitors access to a retail store, brewery tours, restaurant and taproom.
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David Ort is a celebrated Ontario craft beer expert who is the author of the Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook and editor at The Growler. We chatted with Ort about the history of Barrie’s breweries. Ort explains, “The first Barrie brewery to have any lasting success was Robert Simpson’s Simcoe Steam Brewery. I believe it opened in the 1840s in downtown Barrie. Not sure how long it lasted but may have still been operating until Prohibition in the 1920s.”
Do the Barrie breweries have a unique craft beer history in Ontario? “Historically, Barrie was further away from the US than other 19th-century Canadian towns and that meant no significant military garrison—typically the best customers for breweries, especially before about 1840 when immigration really picked up. So, breweries had to cater to the settlers who were coming to Lake Simcoe for new opportunities. That said, Simpson’s Simcoe Steam Brewery was one of three breweries when Barrie became a town in the 1870s and Simpson was enough a part of the community that he was elected Barrie’s first mayor,” says Ort.
The Canadian Craft Beer Cookbook author continues, “The second phase of Barrie’s history with brewing focusses on Molson’s giant brewing facility. Formosa Spring Brewery expanded to Barrie (from Formosa, ON) in 1967 and built a large-scale brewery on the outskirts of town. It was bought by Molson in 1974 and continued to be a major employer in Barrie until 2000 when it was closed. In some ways, that was fortuitous timing because craft beer hadn’t taken off yet so Barrie was an open playing field for new breweries. Peter Chiodo and his partners opened the first craft brewery, The Robert Simpson Brewery in the early 2000s. By 2009, they rebranded as Flying Monkeys and have continued to be one of Ontario’s most successful independent breweries.”
Ort describes the growth of Barrie’s craft beer scene, “Flying Monkeys got in at the right time to establish themselves as Barrie’s craft brewery and for a while they were the only game in town. They’ve done a good job of keeping themselves in the headlines with extreme beers, special holiday releases and by staying on top of craft beer trends. They’re also one of the few Ontario craft breweries that have succeeded at exporting their beer.” He adds, “In 2014, Barnstormer joined the Barrie brewing scene and Redline followed in 2015. Both have found popular success in a wide range of beer styles.
Best Barrie Hotels
Planning a trip to visit the best Barrie breweries and need a hotel suggestion?
- Holiday Inn Conference Centre 3 STARS: Barrie’s premier full-service hotel and conference centre. Check reviews.
- Best Western Plus 2 STARS: offers spacious guest rooms, plush bedding and stylish bath amenities. Check reviews.
- Monte Carlo Inn Suites 3 STARS: offers a romantic getaway for couples with Jacuzzi suites. Check reviews.
- Travellodge 2 STARS: a convenient location with indoor pool and spacious guest rooms. Check reviews.
107 Dunlop Street East in Barrie, 705-721-8989
The Flying Monkeys Brewery is an independent, locally-owned, Ontario craft beer mecca in Barrie. It’s regularly celebrated for helping launch the province’s Craft Beer Revolution.
The popular Barrie brewery first opened its doors in 2005 as the Robert Simpson Brewery. It was named in honour of the first mayor of Barrie, who was also the owner of a local brewery in the 19th-century. The company changed its name to Flying Monkeys Brewery in 2009. It was the perfect leap for the quirky craft beer brand, giving the brewery a makeover that was more in-touch with its outside-of-the-box personality.
There’s no better way to describe Flying Monkeys Brewery’s interior design aesthetic than trippy. Stroll through the Barrie brewpub and tap room and you’ll find plenty of funky decor including an eclectic mix of music posters, neon signs, colourful chalkboards, painted seats, vintage telephones and a wall of antique radios.
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery offers beer tours on weekdays (2pm), Saturdays (on the hour from 1pm-5pm) and Sunday (on the hour from 1-4pm). The brewery tours are free, so don’t include a set tasting. Guests usually linger after the tour to enjoy beers in the Tap Room or on the patio in summer. The free beer tour in Barrie draws approximately 70,000 curious imbibers each year!
Barrie Breweries Craft Beer: Flying Monkeys
Flying Monkeys employs 89 people and exports to over 23 countries making it the largest international shipper of Ontario craft beer. If you’re visiting Barrie, skip over to the Flying Monkeys Brewery bar and you’ll find 16 different taps frothing with fresh beer. Eight are core or seasonal beers, while the remaining taps are small batch pilots the brewing team are tinkering with. Some one-off brews offer unique flavours that you might only experience at the brewery in Barrie.
- Antigravity Lager: light lager with brush of Noble hops
- Sparkle, Puff, Galaxy Starfighter: triple dry hopped triple IPA citrus peaches
- Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale: toasted biscuit with amarillo and cascade
- Smashbomb Atomic IPA: explosion of citra hops at 72 IBU
- Juicy Ass IPA: highly hopped unfiltered IPA at 69 IBU
Flying Monkeys Brewery Menu
Chef Paul Tingley is responsible for the menu at the Flying Monkeys Brewpub in Barrie, featuring fun sharables and beercentric dishes. Chef Tingley explains the Barrie brewpub’s food philosophy, “Craft beer creates little communities at each table, so lots of our fresh, homemade food is designed with sharing in mind. And because we’re a brewery, naturally we use our beer in much of our menu. The menu at Flying Monkeys Brewpub is small, creative and fresh, just like our craft beer. Folks love our fat pretzels, sprawling sheet nachos, and famous burger. A particular favourite seems to be the Yardbird, which is a crispy, buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with fresh fennel slaw and spicy, beer-infused sriracha mayo.”
- Garbage Pail Tots: crispy tater tots loaded with cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, crispy bacon chunks topped with spicy melted cheese and sour cream.
- Pickle Pizza: crispy flatbread slathered in garlic and dill bechamel, topped with crispy bacon, dill pickles and mozzarella cheese.
- The BF Pretzel Board: house pretzels served with Netherworld beer cheese sauce and housemade Hoptical Illusion Whole Grain Mustard.
- The Yardbird: crisp buttermilk fried chicken topped with fennel slaw, crunchy lettuce, tomato, slathered in spicy siracha-mayo on warm brioche bun.
- Sprawling Sheet Chorizo Nachos: toasted on a one-layer baking sheet. Crumbled chorizo sausage, black beans, sweet corn, shredded lettuce, chipotle salsa, cheddar and jack cheeses, drizzled with garlic cilantro sour cream.
431 Bayview Drive 8 & 9 in Barrie, 705-881-9988
Redline Brewhouse opened in July 2015 thanks to The Williams family who own and operate the popular craft brewery and restaurant.
Redline Brewhouse’s Marketing Manager Darci Williams explains, “Doug had a crazy dream of opening a restaurant for years. Through his previous job he visited many breweries and gained a passion for craft beer. When an opportunity arose to purchase a 10,000 sq ft space in Barrie, the family jumped on board to open Redline Brewhouse.”
Car racing fans will appreciate the story behind this Barrie breweries name as Redline derives from the tachometer in a car, pushing its speed past the ‘red line’. Skip through Redline Brewhouse’s front door and you’ll find a sky-high interior featuring racing memorabilia and a mural depicting a parade of vintage cars. Guests are greeted by a spacious retail shop selling swag and plenty of fresh beer cans to take home. The restaurant’s dining room spreads out across two floors, overlooking a choir of stainless steel brewing tanks.
Redline Brewhouse offers brewery tours on Friday (4pm-8pm) and Saturday (12pm-8pm). Friendly guides run guests through the entire brew process, explain the difference between ingredients, describe how each beer is made based on style and what each tastes like. The bartender also offers a guided flight experience for $11.
Barrie Breweries Craft Beer: Redline Brewhouse
Redline Brewhouse offers four core beers as well as 6-7 seasonal brews at all times. The Barrie brewery releases at least one beer a month in cans and on tap. They fill all 12 taps but also have one or two guest taps to support other brands in the Ontario craft beer industry.
- 5:01 Golden Ale: Saphir, Strisselspalt, and Willamette hops provide the aroma and flavour of fresh oranges, and pepper with a soft floral character.
- Check Engine Amber Ale: Aromas of caramel and toffee with fresh bread and light floral hop character.
- Clutch APA: Pours a hazy straw colour and thanks to a large dose of flaked oats it provides a luscious and soft mouthfeel.
- Idle Coast Pale Lager: Classic Munich Helles Lager pouring a pale gold colour.
Redline Brewhouse Menu
Shane Beauregard is Redline Brewhouse’s Executive Chef, who worked at Kingston Yacht Club and the Iron Duke of Wellington before moving to Barrie. Chef Beauregard’s menu offers the perfect crunch and munch paired with bitter and bright beers.
- Big Block Nachos: cheese blend, jalapeños, olives, lettuce, scallions, lime salsa, chive sour cream.
- Roadhouse Burger: beef patty, mushrooms, crispy onions, smoked mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and Clutch APA BBQ sauce
- Blue Hawaii Pizza: herb cream sauce, mixed cheese, pineapple salsa, pulled pork, bacon, and Clutch APA BBQ drizzle
- Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding: shaved roast beef, caramelized onions, BBQ jus, crispy onions, horseradish mayo
- Chili Chili Bang Bang: chili topped with mixed cheese, chive sour cream, and scallions. Choice of chicken, pulled pork, bacon or beef. Served with tortilla chips and lime wedge.
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384 Yonge St #3 in Barrie, 705-481-1701
Barnstormer Brewing was opened in 2015 by founder Dustin Norlund. His unique background featured a passion for aviation and brewing craft beer. Skip inside Barnstormer brewing and you’ll find a spacious retail shop, cozy dining room and beer bar featuring windows that allow guests to peak into the brewery out back.
The interior of Barnstormer Brewing features an homage to the founder’s love for flying, decked out with vintage airplanes and designs inspired by fantastical flight. The Barrie breweries name offers a hat tip to sailing sky high as Barnstorming refers to a form of entertainment where stunt pilots performed tricks—either individually or in groups called flying circuses. Devised to impress people with the skill of pilots and the sturdiness of planes, it became popular in the United States during the 1920’s.
Curious to learn about the craft beer making process? Barnstormer offers brewery tours Saturday and Sunday afternoons between 1-4pm free of charge. If you’re looking to enjoy an entertaining night out in Barrie, head to Barnstormer Brewing on Saturday night for live music or Wednesday for trivia night!
Barrie Breweries Craft Beer: Barnstormer Brewing
Hop up at the beer bar at Barnstormer Brewing and you’ll find 17 taps pouring freshly brewed suds. The award-winning Barrie brewery offers 6 core bears as well as 11 rotational taps.
- 400 Blonde Ale: subtle notes of hay and citrus zest.
- First Class Lager: underlying citrus notes with a clean finish.
- Windshear Watermelon Ale: refreshing ale with watermelon, a perfect thirst quencher for a hot day.
- Billy Bishop Brown Ale: mild-bodied and smooth with a toffee caramel sweetness.
- Flight Delay West Coast IPA: tropical fruit and refreshing citrus with a smooth and bitter finish.
Barnstormer Brewing Menu
Barnstormer Brewing’s Executive Chef David Hastings studied at George Brown College, later working in the kitchen at Holiday Inn and The Barrie Country Club. Chef Hastings explains, “I love to make soups and sauces and am inspired by Southern cuisine and BBQ. I like to follow and stay current on food trends so we refresh the menu at least twice a year.”
Barnstormer Barrie also offers daily and weekly specials as well as Beer Pairing dinners.
- Fish Tacos: three grilled tortillas, 400 Blonde Ale battered haddock, fresh cabbage slaw, pineapple salsa, cilantro, crema, lime.
- Charcuterie Board: three cured and smoked meats, three artisan cheeses, pickled vegetables, chutneys and fruit compotes, grain flatbread.
- Beer and Cheddar Soup: first class lager, aged cheddar, double smoked bacon.
- Fried Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich: buttermilk marinated chicken thigh, spicy Nashville spice blend, dill pickle, lettuce, charred onion aioli.
- Cat III White Out Pizza: garlic cream sauce, mozzarella, grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, mushroom, caramelized onion, arugula.
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