Jon Johnson
COLUMNIST

Summer means it’s prime time to get out of town for a bit and probably to drink a few beers wherever you end up. With the ever expanding number of craft breweries around Ontario, that combination is better than ever. Once you’ve piled all your gear and friends/ family into your car, there’s likely a brewery you can visit no matter which direction you’re headed. With a little planning ahead, you can turn a boring drive into a fun brewery road trip and pick up some local beer.

This July I had a chance to revisit one of my favourite places from my childhood up near Haliburton. Planning what I might do while there, I visited the Ontario Brewer’s Directory on momnhops.ca and discovered that a tiny brewery called Boshkung Brewing Co. had popped up 10 minutes from my destination. A little more looking at the map showed that if I planned my route right, took some back roads and some extra time, I could probably visit 10 breweries along the way. In the end, I pared it down to four breweries, started my vacation with the journey, not the destination, and had a great time.

Aside from giving yourself a break from driving, visiting breweries can be a rewarding experience for many reasons. If you’ve got time, and the brewery offers them, you can take a tour and learn a little about the brewing process. I highly recommend the Flying Monkeys tour if you find yourself in Barrie.

For me though, the best part of visiting breweries is getting to try local beers, and specifically beers that I may not have been able to try otherwise. Boshkung is currently small enough that their beer is only available to purchase at the brewery. They only had two beers available while I was there, but they were both great. And most small breweries are constantly trying new things. Even though some one-offs and experiments make it to wider distribution, some of them are still only available by buying direct. The nice offshoots of that are supporting the local economy and thumbing your nose at the big multinational beer companies.

My little brewery tour ended with a car full of unique beers from along the route, and all it took was a little planning. If you’ve got a long drive (or even a short drive) coming up, I highly recommend planning ahead and seeing if there’s any brewery stops you can make on the way.