After a lengthy absence (due to laws that have since been changed) craft beer fans in Winnipeg now have a lot to pore over (or should that be pour from?).
A handful of new breweries have opened within the last year, while most of our already established breweries have added tasting rooms to their repertoire – making it easy to get a pint brewed on premise in areas across the city.
Below you'll find some of those notable new breweries, some that are opening soon, along with tours that can take you and your crew around to wet your whistle.
Barn Hammer Brewing (595 Wall Street) – What a handsome transformation of an auto shop this brewery and taproom is. It's located half a block north of Portage Avenue, fairly close to Polo Park – which is great if you need to kill some time while waiting for someone shopping. They make five signature beers along with an experimental and seasonal beer that frequently changes. Their refreshing Lousy Beatnik Kellerbeir has become my go-to après skate draft at The Common (inside The Forks Market), while their Le Sneak Belgique is a super flavourful wheat beer. Currently, the hours are: Wednesday & Thursday 3-9 p.m., Friday & Saturday 12-9 p.m., and Sunday 1-6 p.m. You can also find Barn Hammer's beers on taps across the city.
Capital K Distillery (Unit 3 - 1680 Dublin Avenue) – Manitoba's first craft distillery makes two incredibly smooth products – Tall Grass Gin and Vodka. They have a tasting room where they make cocktails, while distiller/owner Jason Kang is almost always around to give tours for up to 30 people. You can get the full story on this smooth operation here.
Fort Garry Brewing Company Tour – Winnipeg's oldest microbrewery, Fort Garry first started brewing in 1930, and has since gone through several incarnations with Molson (1990) along with an amalgamation with BC's Russell Brewing in 2007, before being sold back to a Manitoba firm in 2016. Group brewery tours can be arranged to take you through their nine-step process.
Little Brown Jug Brewing Company (336 William Avenue) – It just opened in November and is crafting and serving one excellent beer, the 1919 Belgian Pale Ale, which you can find on many taps across the city. It's a delicious, sweet-yet-sour and refreshing number that pairs well with breakfast on the frozen Red River (as RAW:almond brunchers will recently attest). The tasting room itself is quite the stunner; the building is a former livery that has been completely opened up and made shine so you can see everything – from the brewer working the tanks to the storage areas – while sitting on the teak furniture in the swish tasting area. LBJ also gets green bonus points: all the heat created during the brewing process is captured and used to heat the room in the winter, while the inverse will happen with regards to the brewing cooling equipment that will be converted to air conditioning in the summer. Open Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. Read more about it here.
Half Pints – One of Winnipeg's pioneering independent microbreweries, Half Pints offers tours every Saturday (and by special request), where brewers show you grain to bottle processes. Half Pints brews four main beers, along with fun seasonal selections like their "fruity and fabulous" Queer Beer, which they brew every year for Pride Winnipeg. They also just won "Top Brewer" and "Top Beer" (for their Le Temps Noir Batch Two) for Manitoba from RateBeer.com for 2016.
PEG Beer Co. (125 Pacific Avenue) – The city's newest brewpub opened back in Spring 2016, but they didn't start slinging their own draft until September 11, 2016. It's located right in the centre of the Exchange's theatre district, which means that the atmosphere is always quite lively (plus, they do apropos things like Shakespeare in the Pub) and you can do FREE brewery tours every Monday at 7 and 8 p.m. for up to 25 people. They are currently brewing six full-flavour brews that have hops fans fawning. As an added bonus, because it is also a full service restaurant with great family style fare like a bone-in baked ham and airy, delectable flatbreads, PEG Beer Co. is open until 11 p.m. or midnight every night.
Torque Brewing Co. (330-830 King Edward Street) – You can find their cans and growlers available in liquor stores across Winnipeg, while their beer is also available on taps across the city. Their taproom just opened a few weeks ago and the website RateBeer has just bestowed them with the title of "Best New Brewer" in Manitoba. Plus, at the brewery you can now get custom designed double insulated stainless steel growlers that are both super badass and will keep beer cold and carbonated for 24 hours. They currently brew four regular beers -- a stout, IPA, wheat and lager along with specialty small batches.
Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery (800 Pembina Highway) – The former location of The Round Table has been completely overhauled and converted into a brewpub that just opened on Sunday, March 19. On the beer side of things they are currently brewing a blonde ale and a Bière de Garde "malty artisanal farmhouse beer" (both in collaboration with Torque Brewing), while an English Best Bitter will be ready to pour soon. On the food side of things the menu is extensive, ranging from bar snacks like beet and kale chips, to salads, to a noodle section featuring handmade pastas, to a massive meat section featuring braises and smoked items. You can read all about it on their website.
One Great City (OGC) Brewing Company (1596 Ness Avenue) -- Owners/co-founders Tim Hudek (a lawyer who is the business manager) and Jon Burge (the chef), along with general manager Diego Osorio, have a real gem on their hands at Winnipeg's newest brewpub, located right by CF Polo Park. The large blue, grey and blonde room is rather striking; brewmaster Joshua Berscheid's works currently include a pale ale, extra special bitter, milk stout, and a Belgian wheat; while the food menu provides a little something for everyone, including large mains and small plates like the veal and pork meatballs and beer and cheese soup which have been getting rave reviews. Read more here
Stone Angel Brewing Co.(1875 Pembina Hwy) – One of Winnipeg’s newest breweries already has eight beers on tap, while they are currently perfecting a line of ciders (soon, you can expect up to 12 products on tap). Their cheeky website is also good fun -- owners Paul M., Paul C. and James D., seem like witty fellows, while Paul C. (the Irishman of the lot) gets bonus points for being an LFC supporter.
Trans Canada Brewing (1290 Kenaston Boulevard) – This huge taproom and brewpub is producing an extensive lineup of beers (at last count it was 14), covering all manner of tastes from a light lager and pilsner, to an assertive Saison and Double IPA. Inside the brewery, you’ll also find Timmy Tom’s Pizzeria, which knocks out a number of pies. They also offer free brewery tours every Sunday at 1 p.m. (limited space available, so arrive early to guarantee your spot).
Beer and Food Tasting at Fort Gibraltar – Heartland International Travel & Tours offers this 2.5-hour culinary experience inside the historical walls of Fort Gibraltar, a replica 19th century trading fort located on the Red River inside Winnipeg. Guests receive a delicious 3-course French meal paired with premium European craft beers and ciders.
Downtown Winnipeg Biz Tap In Tour – This walking (or group cycling) tour brings you to four of downtown's most lively rooms where you'll sample appetizers along with one or two draft beers at each stop. With seven participating restaurant/bars, this tour can be customized and runs approximately four hours.
Winnipeg Tasting Tours – "Exploring Winnipeg… one drink at a time" these beer-tasting tours bring you by van to the city's best microbreweries – including PEG Beer Co., Little Brown Jug, Barn Hammer Brewing and The Common at The Forks Market. On the tour guests will be provided with flights at each stop along with flatbread at PEG Beer Co. Custom tours to various breweries are also available, as are cocktail and distillery tours.
Winnipeg Trolley Ale Trails – Everyone's favourite orange trolley will soon also be crafting its own brewery tours, so stay tuned for when they are able to give us the full scoop.
Nonsuch La Brasserie and Brewing Co. - They have yet to reveal location (aside from it being downtown/The Exchange) but they are slated to open in 2018. They are currently brewing a Saison – which has been getting great reviews and is meant to be cellared like wine – that you can occasionally find at fine outlets and other breweries across the city, while they’ve also recently come out with an Old Ale X. We give them big points for marketing too – particularly the nautical website and sexy black bottles, which look like a high-end cava.
For more on Nonsuch, check out this review in Minnesota’s Alcohol By Volume Blog (by serious beer snob Paige Latham), who loves what these guys are doing: http://www.alcoholbyvolumeblog.com/about
OXUS Brewing Company (1180 Sanford Street) – The tanks have been installed and they are currently tinkering with their recipes at this west end brewery that is scheduled to open later this year. For updates visit their website.
Brewery fans please note: we plan to continually expand this article, and to use it as a standalone in the EAT section on Tourism Winnipeg's website. If you notice something new we are missing please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can keep it updated. Cheers!