Niagara Breweries: Best Craft Beer From Falls to Fort

Looking to visit the best Niagara breweries?

Our comprehensive guide to Niagara breweries features detailed profiles for the best craft beer producers in Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines and the South Coast.

Ontario craft beer lovers can easily visit these popular breweries in Niagara region on a Toronto weekend getaway or day trip.

Sip some of the best craft beer in Southern Ontario, from magnificent Niagara Falls to historic Fort George!

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Niagara Breweries History

Dobbernationloves sat down with Niagara brewery expert Jordan St. John to chat about the region’s brewing history. St. John is the co-author of the Ontario Craft Beer Guide, head of the Beer Certificate at George Brown College and hosts a popular Toronto brewery tour.

“There are breweries in the Niagara region in the first couple of decades of the 19th century, but there’s a dry period through the consolidation of breweries in the 20th century. By the 1980’s, there’s one of the province’s first brewpubs: The Atlas Hotel in Welland. The Brewmaster, Jon Downing, is actually the head of the brewing program at Niagara College in a full circle sort of a way,” said St. John.

Niagara breweries have a unique history in Ontario, “Niagara Falls had one of the best breweries in Canada in the 1980’s and 1990’s: The Niagara Falls Brewery. They made an Eisbock which was highly regarded. So much so in fact that the brewer collaborated on a beer with Chouffe in Belgium which periodically comes into the LCBO around Christmas time. N’Ice Chouffe is a sort of spiced Belgian Strong Ale and quite the thing for a Christmas eve contemplation, paired maybe with some tourtiere. Of course, there have been other less successful breweries, but the Niagara Falls brands persisted well beyond the demise of the brewery and beer aficionados from around the province still talk warmly about the Eisbock,” said St. John.

Niagara is the driver of the Ontario craft beer boom given the presence of Niagara College’s brewing program. St. John said, “They turn out students into the industry a couple of times a year and they go on to found breweries, which change the landscape of the province. That said, the growth has been very impressive. One of the most recent additions is Counterpart Brewing, which features excellent beer and food that’s just as good. Whether they’re serving a Pilsner or a hazy IPA, the flavours are going to be spot on.”

St. John exclaimed, “They joined a number of very good breweries on the Niagara Stone Road like Silversmith, Oast House, and The Exchange. Bench Brewery is a little further afield, but did produce one of the world’s best sour beers in 2019: Plum Grove.”

So what tips does St. John offer first time beer lovers to Niagara region? “Find someone to drive you and show up hungry. The breweries have taken their cue from hospitality wineries. There are sampling opportunities and also fairly complex food menus. It’s a funky and diverse array of options in terms of beer styles and other fare. If you want to hit a number of them in a day just to get a sense of the region you will absolutely need a little help doing it,” said St. John.

So what are a few of St. John’s favourite products coming out of the Niagara breweries? “Oast House does a Dutch Pale Ale called a Koyt, which features oats. Bench Brewery does a lot of things really well, including foeder aged Belgian selections (seriously, try anything in the Grove series), but I like their White Ale. Counterpart Brewing does incredible Hazy IPAs, something that no one else in the region really manages because they’re so focused on other things. You’re spoilt for choice. It’s great,” said St. John.

Niagara College Teaching Brewery is where many of Canada's top brewers learn their craft.
Niagara College Teaching Brewery is where many of Canada’s top brewers learn their craft.

Visit The Best Niagara Breweries

In recent years, Niagara has become one of Ontario’s most celebrated craft beer producers. The region’s youthful vibe offers a creative space for entrepreneurs to launch art shops, friendly restaurants, hipster coffee shops and trendy beer bars.

For a relaxing sud-sloshed adventure, we’d suggest splitting the craft breweries into a two day itinerary. On day one, focus on visiting the breweries in Niagara on the Lake, St. Catharines and Beamsville. On day two, enjoy a craft beer tour of Niagara Falls and the nearby south shore.

For craft beer lovers in the GTA, Niagara region offers an idyllic weekend getaway!

Beamsville & Niagara on the Lake Breweries

Looking to discover the best Niagara on the Lake breweries? We suggest starting your beer hopping tour of the region in the heart of Ontario wine country so you can dabble in fine wine and cider too!

The best Niagara on the Lake breweries are located within Twenty Valley on the Beamsville Bench and the drive to historic Old Town.

Niagara Oast House Brewers offers a craft brewery and restaurant in Niagara on the Lake.
Niagara Oast House Brewers offers a craft brewery and restaurant in Niagara on the Lake.

Niagara Oast House Brewers

2017 Niagara Stone Rd, 289-868-9627

Niagara Oast House Brewers was the first craft brewery to open in Niagara-on-the-Lake in November, 2012.

The big red barn was originally raised in the late 1800’s, with its original framework and beams still holding the barn doors up. Cian MacNeill, the founder of Oast House worked tirelessly to make Oast House a warm, welcoming environment where people can come to kick back, enjoy exceptional brews and have great times. 

The name Oast House came from a traditional, important part of the brewing process. An Oast House is a building where freshly picked green hops were received to be dried, cooled and pocketed prior to being dispatched to brewers or hop merchants. The word “Oast” itself means “kiln”. Oast houses date back to the 17th century in England. When choosing a name for the brewery, the team really liked how Oast Houses represented the old agriculture-centric style of brewing in Europe and saw parallels with Niagara.

The popular Niagara on the Lake brewery produces a variety of craft beers, with most of them being seasonal.

Niagara Oast House Brewers’ Emily Walker explained, “Being situated in one of Canada’s most famed agricultural regions and as a pioneer in Farmhouse-style brewing, we remain steadfastly focused in creating premium beers that reflect both our land and our obsession for craft. Our Farmhouse Ales are aged and bottle conditioned brews that were traditionally, an early form of fuel on the farm. Portable water was often unavailable so developing a safe, drinkable beverage was essential for the livelihood of the farmers and workers. Farmers brewed Farmhouse Ales in the winter months so that it would be ready to enjoy in the heat of the summer. These bottle conditioned beers are aged for at least 1 year before they hit your beer glasses.”

The Niagara on the Lake craft brewery truly brews with the seasons. In the heat of the summer, they brew with fresh local Niagara fruit. Strawberry Rhubarb, Sour Cherry Berliner Weisse, Apricot IPA and Oak Aged Peach Hefeweizen are all juicy and refreshing brews that offer a true, authentic taste of Niagara. In winter, they release warming beers like Icewine Infused Eisbock, Roasted Chestnut Brown Ale and a Toasted Walnut Bourbon Porter.

Niagara Oast House Brewers is also the home of Brushfire Smoke BBQ. The Niagara on the Lake brewery restaurant focuses on vibrant, bold flavours that take traditional BBQ and give it a European and South East Asian twist. The kitchen is open year-round and in the summer months the patio is transformed into a back-country cookout. Brushfire Smokehouse BBQ’s signature dish is a 14-hour slow smoked brisket.

You’ll also find a retail shop open 7 days a week. Beer lovers passing through Niagara can pick up 4 packs of cans, bottles, growlers and even kegs. The retail shop is also home to a tasting bar featuring 12 rotating beers on tap and 3 bottled Farmhouse Ales to be sampled for just $2 each.

Best Niagara Breweries: Silversmith Brewing in Virgil is located in a historic church.
Best Niagara Breweries: Silversmith Brewing in Virgil is located in a historic church.

Silversmith Brewing Company

1523 Niagara Stone Rd, 905-468-8447

Silversmith Brewing Company is located in Virgil, across the street from The Twisted Vine and The Pie Plate. The Niagara on the Lake brewery first opened its doors on Canada Day in 2012.

Silversmith Brewing Company was originally conceived by two friends while on a rock climbing trip in Nevada.  After a day of climbing they headed into the local Whole Foods and discovered a Mecca of craft beer in one of the coolers and realized there was a market for such products back in Ontario.

The popular craft brewery is located in a historic Anglican church that dates back to the 1890s. Push through Silversmith Brewing’s front doors and you’ll find a sky-high space featuring exposed wooden beams, brick walls, stained glass and bar made from reclaimed barn wood. The craft brewery also seats 20 guests during the warmer months of the year on its pretty patio.

Behind the bar you can peak into the Virgil breweries production area, which features a parade of massive fermentation tanks. Silversmith Brewing is one of Niagara’s most popular craft breweries, with popular beers including Breakfast Wheat, Mind’s IPA, Born Again Helles Lager and Sentinel’s Gift Grisette.

In the winter of 2020 Silversmith Brewing’s kitchen got a marvellous makeover. Known as “The Altar Kitchen,” the tiny cooking space sits perched over the church’s former pews, now a friendly beer hall. The menu is managed by Oddbird, with menu highlights including fried chicken, brisket burgers and haddock sandwich.

The Exchange Brewery is the only Niagara on the Lake Brewery located in historic old town.
The Exchange Brewery is the only Niagara on the Lake Brewery located in historic old town.

The Exchange Brewery

7 Queen St, 905-468-9888

The Exchange Brewery in Niagara on the Lake was founded in January, 2016 by Robin Ridesic. 

Ridesic is a passionate beer drinker and home brewer who fell in love with hoppy IPAs and sour beers. Her enthusiasm for delicious and unique brews evolved into a deep desire to create the world’s best versions of these niche beer styles.

The Exchange Brewery takes its name and beer numbering system from the Bell Telephone Exchange that the building once housed, in the 1880s.

With great consideration for the building’s history, renovations were made with the help of Williamson Williamson to preserve the past and create a modern, functional brewery. When possible, the building was restored back to its original state: removing decorative trims, refurbishing old floors to build our bar and tabletops on the 2nd floor and restoring the facade to replicate how it used to be in 1880s. The building won the 2016 Canadian Interiors Best of Canada Award and a Peter J.Stokes Heritage Commendation.

Skip inside The Exchange Brewery in old town Niagara on the Lake and you’ll find a rotation of 8 beers on tap. Since its creation, the brewery has produced 60+ different craft beers including Amber Ale, White IPA, Foreign Exchange Stout, 10 Double IPA, Peppercorn Rye Saison and Flanders Red.

Feeling peckish on your tour of the Niagara breweries? The Exchange Brewery offers snacks and sharing platters. The most popular is the Beer & Cheese Pairing board featuring 3 beers thoughtfully paired with 3 locally-sourced cheeses

Be sure to browse through the retail shop selling branded t-shirts, sweaters, glassware, hats, face masks, socks. bags and beyond!

Niagara College Teaching Brewery features a tasting room and retail shop managed by students.
Niagara College Teaching Brewery features a tasting room and retail shop managed by students.

Niagara College Teaching Brewery

135 Taylor Rd, 905-641-2252

Niagara College Teaching Brewery first opened in 2010 to support the Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management Program at Niagara College. The program was initiated by the Ontario Craft Brewers Association looking for trained professionals in the craft beer industry.

The open-concept state-of-the-art 1,500 sq ft teaching microbrewery facility offers students of Canada’s first Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management program extensive hands on training. Students produce a variety of craft beers, which are available to taste and purchase on-site.

Steve Gill, General Manager of Niagara College shared, “We manage 5 pilot brewhouses along with our production brewhouse, which make us very unique. There are 10 taps at the bar, featuring 5 regularly produced craft beers and 5 student made craft beers.” Niagara College Teaching Brewery brews around 10 beers year round, with Butlers Bitter and the Beer 101 brews being the most established.

Those looking to explore the best Niagara breweries can enjoy a unique educational experience at the regions top college. Visitors can enjoy educational brewery tours and unique seasonal experiences for beer lovers. If it’s your first visit to Niagara College be sure to also visit the nearby Teaching Winery and Teaching Distillery.

Wayne Gretzky Estates produces small batch craft beer served on a seasonal Beer Garden.
Wayne Gretzky Estates produces small batch craft beer served on a seasonal Beer Garden.

Beer Garden at Wayne Gretzky Estates

1219 Niagara Stone Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1-844-643-7799

Canada’s namesake hockey celebrity opened his self-titled winery in Niagara on the Lake in 2017.

Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery was designed by award-winning architect Gren Weis. The 23,000 square foot facility includes a winery, distillery, beer garden, tasting areas, retail and hospitality spaces, and barrel cellar.

The design is a modern barn-like structure with immense glass walls to allow for uninterrupted views between the interior spaces and the landscape beyond. The building’s materials also plays homage to the surrounding agriculture lands using light metal roof, stained wood siding and a mixture of concrete and stone interventions.

Most Canadians have a story to tell or a memory of The Great One that they hold dear. Throughout the estate, guests have the opportunity to see cherished family pictures from Wayne Gretzky’s childhood growing up in southern Ontario from the family’s private collection, as well as historic hockey moments that define The Great One.

Of all the Niagara on the Lake wineries, Wayne Gretzky Estates is by far the most popular for visiting tourists. Thanks to the owners fame as well as the winery’s excellent tourism experience. Guests can enjoy wines here of course but we love the concepts unique craft distillery tasting bar for whisky fans and al fresco beer garden for hop heads.

Relax at the Wayne Gretzky Estates Beer Garden with an ice cold pint of No. 99 Premium Lager, Pale Ale or Session Ale and challenge your friends to a game of pool, ping pong or bocce ball. You can pair your pint with items on the delicious menu by Chef Maurice Desharnais.

Brewer Laura Milukow does small batch craft brewing in the barrel cellar and periodically releases her experiments on tap for the public.

The Beer Garden at Wayne Gretzky Estates is open on weekends during the warmer months of the yeas. It typically closes in early October for the season.

Bench Brewing offers a spacious patio, indoor dining room, beer bar and retail store in Beamsville.
Bench Brewing offers a spacious patio, indoor dining room, beer bar and retail store in Beamsville.

Bench Brewing Company

3991 King St in Beamsville, 905-562-3991

After 25 years spent working in big cities, Beamsville’s Bench Brewing founder Matt Giffen was drawn back to his passion for farming and agriculture, a lifestyle he knew and loved being raised in London.

Anthony D’Aprile, General Manager at Bench Brewing Company explained, “Matt had always been fascinated with the influence climate and soil have on growing wine grapes, and as a beer lover, he always wondered why only a few beers were focusing on the concept of terroir in their brewing process. That was how the idea started, and from there he developed his vision to build a unique craft brewery in the heart of Ontario’s wine country.”

Bench Brewing officially opened its doors to the public in June, 2018. The name pays homage to the Niagara breweries location in the sub-appellation of the Beamsville Bench.

D’Aprile added, “Our taproom is located in the historic Maple Grove Public School in Beamsville. Originally built in 1944, we wanted to preserve as much of the building as possible given its historical significance in the community.  The exterior walls are still intact, and if you’re driving down King St., the building is still clearly the old schoolhouse. During the construction, our brewers were literally taking bricks from inside the schoolhouse and cleaned them up so that they could be brought back into the building to rebuild walls.”

Hop up at the beer bar at Bench Brewing and you’ll find 12 taps featuring the brands core beers and rotating seasonals. D’Aprile explained, “We have a core range of four beers that include our Short Hills Hazy IPA, Jordan Harbour Pale Ale, our flagship Ball’s Falls Session IPA, and Green Fields Dry Hopped Sour.”

They are also constantly innovating with seasonal and small-batch releases.  Bench Brewing has an extensive barrel program where popular barrel-aged fruited sours are made. Their Wildwood series in particular has been a big bit. These barrel-aged sour beers use only locally sourced fruits. Peaches, plums, cherries and even wine grapes are all sourced from neighbouring farms all located within 5kms of the brewery.

The Beamsville craft brewery’s Chef Justin Lesso runs the food program for the Kitchen at Bench. While he incorporates locally sourced, seasonal ingredients from the region, Justin takes inspiration from worldly flavours. Dishes are specifically created to pair with Bench Brewing beers, sometimes even incorporating them as an ingredient like Chef Lesso does with his house made beer mustards.

Craft beer tanks line the walls of the dining room at The Grist in Niagara on the Lake.
Craft beer tanks line the walls of the dining room at The Grist in Niagara on the Lake.

The Grist Craft Kitchen & Brewery

78 Four Mile Creek Rd, 289-296-9199

The Grist first opened its doors in St. David’s near downtown Niagara on the Lake in the summer of 2021.

The family-owned Niagara craft brewery was founded by Robert and Danielle Begin, a couple with years of experience in the hospitality industry, including owning a pizza restaurant and working for several breweries and wineries.

Located in a historic converted barn on Four Mile Creek Road, the labour of love took 3 years to bring to life. The Begin family went to great lengths to honour the roots of the barn, once used as a fruit packing shed by the Fedorkow family. The walls of The Grist are decorated with wood slats and panels repurposed from the original building, while the elaborate custom lighting and bright red, state-of-the-art pizza oven provide a modern contrast. 

Skip inside the interior of The Grist and you’ll find an eye-popping dining room with open concept kitchen, sun-soaked patio and craft beer bar with an impressive inverted canoe chandelier overhead.

Craft beer is brewed onsite two days a week, which is when the dining room is closed as a parade of brewing tanks flank the wall of the space.

Though The Grist offers a full menu, the focus is primarily on pizzas and items that complement the fresh beer brewed onsite. The Niagara brewery has 4 signature brews: a Secord stout, a red cream ale, an Italian pilsner and an IPA called Burning Down the House, which honours the history of St. Davids during the War of 1812. They are complemented by four or five seasonal brews, as well as guest taps reserved for other local brewers. 

St. Catharines Breweries

Looking to discover the best Niagara breweries in and near St. Catharines? These popular craft breweries are located between Beamsville and Niagara on the Lake, the gateway to Ontario’s most celebrated wine country.

Best Niagara Breweries: Lock Street in Port Dalhousie offers a beer bar and backyard patio.
Best Niagara Breweries: Lock Street in Port Dalhousie offers a beer bar and backyard patio.

Lock Street Brewing Company

15 Lock St, 905-935-2124

Wolfgang Guembel is the founder of Lock Street Brewing company. The Niagara craft brewery is located in the scenic waterfront town of Port Dalhousie.

Guembel explained, “Initially I started a project to purchase and restore two heritage buildings in Port Dalhousie with the intention of hosting businesses like Balzac’s Coffee and a space dedicated to Ontario craft beer and VQA wine. When I did not find the right candidate to open the space as I had envisioned I approached my business partners in the building at the time and asked them if they’d like to go in on a craft brewery with a focus on being handmade and all natural.”

Guembel acquired the buildings in 2015 and by the summer of 2017, Lock Street Brewing Company was open in its first phase. The brewery in Port Dalhousie has grown twice since, acquiring an adjacent unit in the building to install six additional fermenters and a 6-head canning line.

Guembel is a dual Canadian-German citizen and has lived in Munich several times. He respects how German breweres have the ability to make various styles of beers while still abiding by the Bavarian Purity Law. 

“When I started the planning for Lock Street Brewing Company I had just retired from racing Ironman Triathlon professionally for over ten years. I looked forward to a quality product that I could enjoy in a balanced active lifestyle. I still swim, bike, and run and I enjoy my down time with quality, all natural, craft beer,” said Guembel.

So where does the Niagara brewery’s name come from? The building is located at 15 Lock Street in Port Dalhousie. The tiny town in Niagara region was the origin of the first 3 Welland Canals and the birthplace of shipping commerce in the Great Lakes. Lock Street Brewery celebrates that entrepreneurial and visionary history.

The brewery is located in a gorgeous historic building, which began construction in 1850 as the Wellington Hotel. Guembel added, “The building predates many significant moments in history. It’s fascinating to think of the people who would have been staying at the hotel at the time of Confederation or World War I or II.  If the walls could talk they’d have some incredible stories!”

Step inside Lock Street Brewery and you’ll find lots of exposed brick and original douglas fir wood. Hop up at the bar and you’ll find 8 taps serving fresh craft beer. Skip to the backyard patio and you’ll find a quiet oasis surrounded by a lush garden.

Lock Street Brewery offers 4 signature brews that are available year round: Port Side Pilsner, Industrial Pale Ale, The Jealous Mistress Honey Brown Ale and Black Sail Dunkle.

Cold Break Brewing in St. Catharines serves craft beer at a bar and backyard patio.
Cold Break Brewing in St. Catharines serves craft beer at a bar and backyard patio.

Cold Break Brewing

193 St Paul St W, 289-501-0638

Cold Break Brewing is one of our favourite Niagara breweries in St. Catharines.

Housed in a 6,000 sq ft facility, Cold Break Brewing features a full production facility, 15 barrel house, 125 seat tap room, kitchen and picturesque backyard patio.

Founded by tourism and hospitality industry veteran Noel Buckley, the craft brewery’s beer program is managed by Morgan Buckley.

Hop up on a cowhide stool at the bar and you’ll find the current craft beer list scrawled on an overhead chalkboard.

Cold Break Brewing’s strengths are its sours, which are flavoured with local Niagara fruits such as blueberries and raspberries. Other popular Cold Break Brewing beers include Sublime IPA, Outlier Barrel Aged Kentucky Common and Sabro New England IPA.

If you’re feeling peckish, pair a tasting flight with the tasty food menu provided by Righteous Monger. Highlights include a Cheese & Charcuterie Board, Nacho Verde, Double Deuce Burger, Venison Chorizo & Biscuits and Sweet an Sour Pork Belly.

The Merchant Ale House in downtown St. Catharines offers food and drink for craft beer lovers.
The Merchant Ale House in downtown St. Catharines offers food and drink for craft beer lovers.

Merchant Ale House

98 St Paul St, 905-984-4060

The Merchant Ale House is a popular craft brewery and restaurant located in downtown St. Catharines. Originally opened in 1998, The Merchant Ale House offers 4 signature brews: Old Time Hockey Ale, Blonde Bombshell, Drunken Monkey Oatmeal Stout and the Extra Special Bitter. 

The Murray Street Brewing Company is the Merchant Ale House’s own brand of beer that is brewed onsite. The name was forged from the street where the initial vision of the Merchant Ale House began, on Murray Street during the 1990’s.

Affectionately nick named ‘The Merch’ by its local patrons, skip inside the St. Catharines brewpub and you’ll find a moody, dimly lit interior featuring exposed red brick walls. On weekends it’s a popular watering hole for live music lovers.

Wag your finger down The Merchant Ale House menu and you’ll find an extensive list of pub favourites like wings, burgers, nachos, sandwiches and fish & chips.

Nearly 20 years after it first began pouring craft beer to hop heads in St. Catharines, The Merchant Ale House is now a staple of the city’s downtown core, and of the Niagara region’s ever-expanding craft beer landscape.

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Niagara Falls Breweries

Looking to discover the best Niagara Falls breweries? These popular craft breweries sit perched over the wild and wonderful Niagara Falls, one of Canada’s most visited natural wonders.

Niagara Brewing Company is the best brewery in Niagara Falls for tourists exploring the tourist attraction on foot.
Niagara Brewing Company is the best brewery in Niagara Falls for tourists exploring the tourist attraction on foot.

Niagara Brewing Company

4915-A Clifton Hill, 905-374-4444

Niagara Brewing Company opened in June, 2015 a short walk from Niagara Falls on the iconic Clifton Hill.

The most famous craft brewery in Niagara Falls is located on the former site of the Foxhead Inn, one of the most luxurious hotels in Niagara Falls. The hotel was tragically lost to a fire in December, 1932.

Today, the historic address in Niagara Falls has been transformed into a craft beer bar and restaurant. Skip through Niagara Brewing Company and you’ll find two outdoor patios, including a rooftop offering jaw-dropping views overlooking the Falls.

Hop up at the beer bar to sample from 9 taps pouring fresh, local craft beer. Niagara Brewing Company produces three signature beers: Niagara Premium Lager, Honeymoon Peach Radler, and BeerDevil IPA.

One of the Niagara Falls brewery’s most popular seasonal brews is Icewine Beer, a muddling of Niagara on the Lake’s famous Icewine and Niagara Premium Lager. It’s a limited edition that is released just in time for the holidays.

The Niagara Brewing Company’s brewmaster has also crafted seasonal beers in the past including Raspberry Pi, Citra Smash Pale Ale, Chocolate Porter, Pumpkin Spice Ale and Flapjack Maple Wheat.

If you’re playing tourist in Niagara Falls plan a visit to the city’s namesake brewery during lunch or dinner to enjoy a bite paired with fresh brews. Highlights from the menu include a charcuterie & cheese board, chicken sandwich, handmade guac & tortilla chips, chicken wings, meatball sub and warm pretzels with dip.

Pretty patio at Taps Brewhouse in Niagara Falls.
Pretty patio at Taps Brewhouse in Niagara Falls. Photo Mitchell Reilly Pictures.

Taps Brewhouse

4680 Queen St, 289-477-1010

Taps Brewhouse first opened in Virgil near Niagara on the Lake in 2004. The craft brewery moved to Niagara Falls in 2009, adding a restaurant to the new concept.

Taps Brewhouse was founded by Eric Martin and a few other people who moved on to other projects. The Taps Brewhouse founder shared, “We saw the growing demand and had been home brewing for a while. As the craft beer market grew, we wanted to have our own restaurant to be a destination. Be also became know as a live music and events space and have been involved in countless fundraisers for local charities.”

Martin added, “Our building in historic downtown Niagara Falls was originally a GM dealership, built in the 1950s. We wanted an open concept, industrial style building where people are right inside the working brewery. With our focus on local, live entertainment, we have a stage centrally located in the restaurant as well as our large outdoor stage in the parking lot where we do concerts for up to 1000 people.”

Take a seat in the sun at the Taps Brewhouse outdoor patio and order from one of 16 taps at the bar.

Martin described the Taps Brewhouse craft beer program, “We have three core beers: Flying Colours Lager, Elegant Effect Ale and Art Attack IPA. We have 4 regular seasonals: Sundress Wit, Sweater Weather Spice Ale, Black Moon Porter and Pumpkin 3.14. We usually brew another 6 single batch beers throughout the year. Our Pumpkin 3.14 which is heavily spiced, more like pumpkin pie than just a pumpkin beer is probably the beer that we get the most inquiries about. People from all over the world who have had it, start asking in August when it will be ready. It usually comes out around October 1st and doesn’t last long.”

Taps Brewhouse focuses on offering a full service, family friendly restaurant. They have a full menu of traditional pub grub, all made from scratch and using the brewmasters fresh beer in many of the recipes.

Fried Chicken Sandwich and craft beer tasting at Counterpart Brewing. Photo Mitchell Reilly Pictures.
Fried Chicken Sandwich and craft beer tasting at Counterpart Brewing. Photo Mitchell Reilly Pictures.

Counterpart Brewing

3659 Stanley Ave, 905-354-2739

Counterpart Brewing in Niagara Falls opened in March, 2019. Co-founders Greg Gnys and Joe Sartor dreamed up a brewery concept based on a fusion of two ideas that ended up coming together in a rather serendipitous way.

Counterpart Brewing’s Hospitality Manager Eric Klein shared, “Greg was moving home from Burnaby, British Columbia to fulfill his dream of opening a local community focused brewery in his home town of Niagara Falls while at the same time Joe was moving home from Vancouver to open up a restaurant of his own. After learning through family members who worked together in Niagara that not only were they moving home for similar purposes but at almost the exact same time a meeting was set. Joe and his spouse Jerah ended up cooking and hosting an evening for Greg and his spouse Andrea. Needless to say the meal was amazing and as they say the rest is history!”

The name Counterpart by definition is one thing that compliments and completes another. In this case it was the perfect way to describe the marriage of two separate passion projects that together make a strong unified concept.

The Niagara brewery’s space is in a relatively new industrial building located in the north end of Niagara Falls. The inside of the space was conceptualized by the owners with an emphasis on warm finishes including barn board walls and a reclaimed timber from an airplane hanger, that dates back over 80 years. Klein added, “The space continues to evolve with the new addition of a permanent patio this summer.”

Skip inside Counterpart Brewing in Niagara Falls and you’ll find 13 taps at the bar with one dedicated to locally produced Kombucha. Counterpart Brewing’s flagship beers include Pure (German style pilsner) and Flow (hazy pale ale). Klein added, “We focus on styles like Hazy IPA’s, DIPA’s, Fruited Kettle Sours and Stouts. So while it’s very rare to have the same beer on tap for longer than a month or two we always have our customers favourite styles well represented on the tap list while providing new opportunities to try a new recipe or flavour.” 

Feeling peckish? Counterpart is one of our favourite Niagara breweries to enjoy a sud-sloshed nosh. Chef Joe Sartor leads a talented back of house team. The philosophy for the food program is similar to the beer program, featuring an ever changing chalk board menu of feature items alongside a petite main menu. You’ll find classics like Fried Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Fish Tacos and Prince Edward Island Mussels.

Blackburn Brewhouse near Niagara Falls offers a spacious beer bar and patio.
Blackburn Brewhouse near Niagara Falls offers a spacious beer bar and patio.

Blackburn Brewhouse

8001 Blackburn Pkwy, 905-358-0801

Blackburn Brewhouse is one of Niagara region’s newest craft breweries, opening its doors in June, 2020.

Located a short drive from Niagara Falls, Blackburn Brewhouse gets its name from the nearby Blackburn Parkway.

One of the craft brewery’s co-founders George Hantziagelis shared, “Three local owners from varying industries recognized a gap in what they would look for in the craft brewing industry. We built a 40,000 sq ft facility with all amenities, including a bar, restaurant, indoor and outdoor event space for the community as well as full brewing, packaging and cold storage capabilities.”

ACK Architects designed the building shell, while the interior was a collaboration between the owners. Hantziagelis added, “We tried to keep industrial elements central in hopes to bring the back of house production feel into the dining area. We’re currently operating with shipping containers as both our kitchen and fridge.”

Skip inside the spacious Blackburn Brewhouse taproom and you’ll find 16 taps pouring freshly brewed craft beer. The Niagara Falls brewery offers 5 core craft beers: Local Light Lager, Old Scow Lager, Screaming Tunnels Amber Lager, Heartland Haze Pale Ale and White Waters IPA.

Niagara South Coast Breweries

Looking to discover the south coast Niagara breweries? These popular craft breweries sit perched over Lake Erie and are located in the towns of Port Colborne, Ridgeway and Fonthill.

Best Niagara Breweries: Kame & Kettle Beer Works is located in Fonthill.
Best Niagara Breweries: Kame & Kettle Beer Works is located in Fonthill.

Kame & Kettle Beer Works

25 Pelham Town Square, 289-273-2550

Kame & Kettle is a Niagara brewery that opened in November, 2015 in Fonthill. It was founded by long-time friends Todd Barber and Dave Beifuss.

The brewery received its name with a tip of the hat to the local topography, featuring the Fonthill Kame. In nature, kames are often associated with kettles and since Fonthill lacks a glacially formed kettle, the founders of Kame & Kettle say their beer kettle completes this partnership. 

The two buildings that house Kame & Kettle are named ‘The Fonthill Flats and Village on the Kame’.  The creation of these buildings complete with the brewery created an asset for the local community and a sense of home for the residents the now live above the brewery. 

Eager to start, Dave and Todd fired up a 50L brewhouse and fermented with wine demijohns. The process is small batch and about as handmade as it gets. The taproom was carved out of the lower level of a downtown Fonthill building, where expansion has been ongoing ever since. 

The duo have experimented with over 150 beer styles to date. On tap you will find a selection of tasty ales, usually 8 or more, mirrored by retail fridge offerings, freshly canned 946ml Crowlers and 473ml tallboys. 

Skip inside Kame & Kettle Beer Works and you’ll find 8 taps at the bar, with an additional 8 in an overflow taproom. Beifuss shared, “We have six beers that remain available year round but with 8 taps, they may rotate on and off, making way for locally grown fruit beers that we sometimes sour to create a mouth puckering treat.”

Chef Mark Hand was brought in to consult on the kitchen layout (since space was tight) and he never left. Chef Hand added, “The signature Righteous Platter always highlights local artisanal meats and cheeses, and the menu incorporates our beer in recipes wherever possible. I call it Beer Country Cuisine, serious food not taken too seriously”. The Vegetarian Tower of Terroir, and the Big Ash Burrito are a couple of his dishes that speak to my philosophy.”

Niagara Breweries: Brimstone Brewing is located in Ridgeway near Crystal Beach.
Niagara Breweries: Brimstone Brewing is located in Ridgeway near Crystal Beach.

Brimstone Brewing Company

209 Ridge Rd N, 289-876-8657

Brimstone Brewing first opened its doors in June, 2013. The Niagara brewery is located in the basement of a re-imagined 20th century church in the historic village of Ridgeway, which was once a place of worship for Free Methodists until the late 90s.

Brimstone Brewing’s Jamie Gallucci shared, “The Church space is called The Sanctuary Centre for the Arts and has become our event space, where we host weddings, stag n’ does, art battles, birthdays and concerts. The space can hold over 200 people standing and 150 people seated. We’ve had bands such as The Trews, Bif Naked, Jeff Martin (of The Tea Party), Ashley MacIsaac, Fred Eaglesmith, USS, Monster Truck to name a few.”

Jason Pizzicarola and his wife Nadine are owners of the popular Niagara brewery. Jason is also an architect and recently designed a four season patio space with heated floors surrounded by garage doors. The patio area can hold up to 90 people in the warmer months and 60 people in the cooler months. There is a cozy true to church style taproom in the basement area with select church pews sprinkled throughout the space.  Four of the larger harvest tables are made of reclaimed wood from the Welland Canal.

Skip inside Brimstone Brewing and you’ll find 9 taps flowing. The craft brewery offers 3 core beers: Sinister Minister IPA, Enlightenment Blonde Ale and Midnight Mass Chicory Oatmeal Stout. Last Ride Loganberry Saison is the brewery’s most popular summer seasonal and the other taps are available as one-offs or collabs. 

If you’re looking to enjoy a feast with your fresh pint wag your finger down the Brimstone Brewing menu. Gallucci added, “We purchased a smoker and have put a real focus on smoked meats and vegetables. Jessica Wilson is our kitchen guru, she prides herself on fresh ingredients and uses our beer and spent grain as much as possible in recipes. We change our menus seasonally to coincide with the availability of ingredients. Signature dishes include Spent Grain Pretzels, Smoked Pulled Pork Asian Sandwich and the Smoked Brisket Flatbread with housemade Sinister Minister BBQ Sauce.”

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Niagara Breweries: Breakwall Brewing serves craft beer and bites in Port Colborne.
Niagara Breweries: Breakwall Brewing serves craft beer and bites in Port Colborne.

Breakwall Brewing

46 Clarence St, 289-836-8181

Breakwall Brewing in Port Colborne originally opened in early 2018 after a two year build-out. 

The Niagara brewery was developed to bring craft beer back to Port Colborne after a 100 year absence. Owner Fred Davies shared, “we have celebrated that history with recreating several of the old beer recipes from the Jacob North Brewery which opened here in 1863.”

The craft brewery in Port Colborne gets its name from the long breakwall in Gravelly Bay along the Lake Erie shoreline, which has protected the community for 150 years. Davies added, “It is a local icon. While not allowed anymore, in the 40’s through the 70’s, people would load up their boats and BBQs and spend the day lounging on the breakwall, enjoying the calm water inside the bay.”

The building was originally built as a grocery store in the 1940s and has been mostly retail since then. “We were able to salvage the original terrazzo floors when they were discovered under square tiles,” shared Davies.

Skip inside Breakwall Brewing and you’ll find 10 taps at the beer bar. Davies chirped, “All of our core beers are named after iconic local images and are available year round. Shrinking Mill APA, 9o’clock Whistle IPA, Sailor Saison, Hopkins Tomb Stout, Breakwall Blonde. We always have five seasonals on tap to ensure a well rounded offering.”

Breakwall is one of our favourite Niagara breweries to enjoy a beach stroll, cold beer and bite. The brewery has a full service restaurant and bar featuring weekly specials including burgers and pizza that are adored by locals.

Enjoy a romantic craft beer getaway by staying at one of the best hotels in Niagara.
Enjoy a romantic craft beer getaway by staying at one of the best hotels in Niagara.

Hotels Near the Niagara Breweries

Accommodation options in the region include Niagara boutique hotels with spas and handful of chic bed and breakfasts.

Looking to enjoy a weekend getaway to sip through Niagara’s best craft breweries? We suggest spending 2-3 nights in the scenic town of Niagara on the Lake. A weekend will give you enough time to enjoy the village’s historic main street, gourmet restaurants, and award-winning breweries, wineries and cider houses.

Check out our recommendations for Niagara on the Lake’s best accommodations including hotels, inns and bed & breakfasts. We’ve included helpful links to the best hotel booking sites so you can compare prices and availability.

  • Pillar & Post: Pillar & Post is a charming country inn offering guests luxurious suites, fine dining restaurant, gorgeous gardens and Niagara on the Lake’s largest spa.

HotelsCombined | |TripAdvisor | Agoda

  • 124 on Queen Hotel: this resort-style hotel sits perched over Niagara on the Lake’s main street. It offers unique villa suites as well as a boutique spa and award-winning restaurant.

Expedia | TripAdvisor | | Agoda | HotelsCombined |

  • Somerset Bed and Breakfast: is the only accommodation in Niagara on the Lake located on Lake Ontario. The properties 3 luxurious suites enjoy views of nearby Fort Niagara. Ranked as the best B&B in Niagara for a romantic getaway.

Expedia | TripAdvisor | HotelsCombined |

  • The Charles Hotel: is our favourite boutique hotel in Niagara on the Lake. The historic property offers antique adorned suites, fine dining restaurant and a popular verandah that sits perched over North America’s oldest golf course.

Expedia | TripAdvisor | | HotelsCombined |

Niagara Craft Beer Festivals

If you’re an Ontario craft beer fan why not plan your visit around a fun festival featuring the the best Niagara breweries?

  • Niagara Craft Beer Festival: takes place at Rennie Park in St. Catharines and features some of Ontario’s finest small batch beers and ciders. Overlooking Martindale pond, the festival entertains with live music, vinyl sessions, and games as you sip some of Ontario’s best brews.
  • Niagara Food & Craft Beer Festival: A 3 day celebration each July with food, craft beer, live entertainment and family friendly activities.
Visit the best Niagara Breweries on a guided tour with a local expert.
Visit the best Niagara Breweries on a guided tour with a local expert.

Niagara Brewery Tours

There are plenty of great ways to explore the Niagara breweries. Local hotels and tourism offices offer handy Niagara Brewery maps so you can easily plot out your tasting route.

For those looking to get some exercise, it’s easy to hike or bike between the Niagara on the Lake and Niagara Falls breweries. Many of the local breweries offer racks so you can easily lock up your bike while taking the time to enjoy a tour and tasting.

If you’re staying over night, check with your hotel as many offer guests complimentary bike rentals. There are also several bike rental companies in Niagara and guided craft beer cycling tours.

During the warmer months of the year, the Go Train offers a bike-friendly service, so you can easily explore the Niagara breweries by train and then bike from TorontoOakville and beyond!

Keen to book one of the best Niagara on the Lake wine and beer tours? Leave the trip planning to local experts and enjoy an unforgettable sud-sloshed adventure in Ontario wine country!

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