Cool beer, cocktails, coffee and bubble tea to change the barometer
We’re not even going to try to cover every cortado and ale under the sun and clouds. In fair Winnipeg, the climate invites creative minds to raise the temperature with new options while cooling us off. No pressure, but we hope to expose you to nice, cool drinks you may not have yet tasted. Put on a warm front, as well as your flippy flops and head out to test a few with friends.
Downpour Ahead - Beer with a difference
It’s hard to decide which is better, the fruity, scotch-like flavours, the heady bready aromas, or home-grown Matea Radic’s artwork. You know she’s fun just by looking at the loopy, bug-bothered two-tongued gal on the can.
This burnt yellow-coloured pale ale is the coolest summer beer slash cocktail. It even has coconut in it. Quaff it on the outdoor picnic tables on the premises or order online to enjoy poolside. Plastic palm trees are optional.
While you’re there, taste test the new-for-summer Mango Kettle Sour - a fruity but fairly tart gateway to sour beers that is taking over taprooms across the city.
For lots of bold, fun choices, the brewpub at Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery serves up a banana-y Vakten Belgian Ol Farmhouse Ale - Bière de Garde. Love the tropical fruit notes everywhere. Gluten-free pale ales will be appreciated by many.
A Mix of Sun and Clouds - Cocktails and Mocktails
Heat and weather systems are not the only things stirring up a storm lately. Creative mixologists, too, are stirring up storms in the form of mad and madly good cocktails and mocktails on the Winnipeg scene. These places have great drinks, good visibility, and a pleasant atmosphere.
In the heart of the historic Exchange District, Patent 5 Distillery is well deserving of its spot on Canada’s 50 Best Bars 2020. Patent 5 plays around with its own craft spirits, using gin, vodka, whisky and specialty spirits to serve up original and surprising cocktails and mocktails. In this cool, polished wood, roll-up warehouse door space with a Deadwood vibe, it feels like Calamity Jane might just stroll in looking for Wild Bill himself sitting with his back to the wall.
Classic cocktails are available but why would you when you can have vodka-laced Primordial Punch for two or Starry Eyes with blue curaçao.
Pornstar Martini Patent 5 Vodka, Licor 43, house passion fruit syrup, lemon, Lapsang Souchong tincture, Ms. Better's Bitters vegan foamer, prosecco
The Pornstar Martini is perfect with a light froth, served with a wee glass of prosecco to down separately or pour in the martini. Called the pornstar because the shot is—viewer discretion is advised—the money shot. Servers ask if you are 18 before telling the story, which is nicely odd because you’re in a bar.
Forth Bar can’t be ignored with drinks like the Applejack Rabbit and for Scotch lovers, the Smoke & Choke. Leather-aproned mixologists also love the challenge of crafting a no or low-alcohol drink.
Libations to suit James Bond, divvied up into those stirred and those shaken, appear at cute corner place Langside Grocery. Penicillin, shaken of course, mixes Johnnie Walker Red Label, lemon, honey, ginger and Laphroaig quarter cask scotch spritz.
The Roost is THE place to drink in the treetops along Corydon. Creative, gorgeous drinks, like Puff the Magic Dragon and Blossoming, which has an edible purple begonia on top. Pretty. Pretty nice.
The Roost also has a couple of zero proof mocktails. Punchy blends peach iced tea tonic with lime and dragonfruit syrup and the Soother mixes soda, berry shrub, and sour cherry. Not for babies.
Juneberry, brand new to the Winnipeg scene, pops up with Miso Basil Caesar or Rotating Kombucha in its sunny flower-rimmed space in Old St. Vital. The Pomegranate & Sage Mimosa is so nice.
Strong Winds Brewing - Cool Coffee
Winnipeg is becoming more like Portland, in all the nice ways, with courses to learn how to pour and drink coffee, a flurry of new roasters, passionate—the operative word—aficionados and baristas to advise you on your choices, and seriously nice people serving up clean, flavourful coffee.
Also, temperature alert: cold coffee is cool.
Cyclists will love to breeze into the wee Yellow Derny Café inside Woodcock Cycle and they’ll love the Nitro Cold Brew even more. Coffee infused with nitrogen delivers a strong, heady punch that is less acidic, and perfect for headwind rides.
At its South Osborne location, the first bite of Little Sister Coffee Maker's Tonka Bean Iced Coffee Float feels like eating sweet, cold clouds. You’ll never have a Coke float again. Unbelievably, it gets even better when the cloud melts.
Thom Bargen has two open locations right now, arguably the funkiest one on Sherbrook. They have iced drinks like Bourbon Vanilla Iced Latte as well as cold Rhubarb Soda to swill on the casual, hip sidewalk chairs out front, a light gust happening on by. All goes well with banana cake.
If the heat is downright tropical, head to Pho Hoang for sublime Thai Coconut Iced Coffee. Or, try traditional Vietnamese coffee iced. Coarsely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roasted coffee beans are brewed with a French drip filter and mixed with sweetened condensed milk. A tempest in a tea glass.
How nice is it that we have too many places to include here?
Hail, yah - Bubble Tea aka Boba Tea
Boba tea, bubble tea, or pearl milk tea, called zhenzhu naicha in Taiwan, are all the same thing with a different name.
You may not see boba cupholders slung over shoulders here yet, but bubble tea, Taiwan’s export to the world, is growing in popularity in Winnipeg, and everywhere. Bubble tea is like a chunky drink that could be an iced tea with tapioca pearls or a cup of juice loaded with bits of fruit or tapioca pearls, the boba.
The drink usually includes black tea, milk, ice, and chewy tapioca pearls, all shaken together. Super fat straws are needed to slurp up the pebbles of tapioca.
Bubble tea will hit you like a bolt of lightning or send you running for cover, or both.
At Panda Tea, the first authentic local Taiwanese boba place in Winnipeg, try the Summer Special Watermelon Slush with Tapioca. It is the perfect blend of fresh Taiwanese Boba in Canada. The Double-bang Passionfruit Tea is a bestseller, up against the classic Herbal Jelly Milk Tea.
At Khab Tapioca on Pembina, you can choose your level of sugar and ice, 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%. Experience Supermoon on Ice, lychee tea with fresh lychee bits or an Iced Milk Tapioca and Pudding with house made caramel. Forecast for tomorrow: a mix of sun and clouds with a late-night thunderstorm.
Forecast for nice, cool drinks in Winnipeg: a changing mix of liquid options, with a risk of thunderous applause.
Watch incoming mammatus best from a higher hotel floor facing southwest. Showers optional.
These nice hotel deals make staying overnight an easy decision. Add #WinnipegNice and #CanadaNice to social posts for the chance to be featured.
Note: Check websites or call first for times.