Those looking to take their taste buds on an adventure have come to the right place. Hamilton is home to one of Ontario’s hottest (and still growing) foodie scenes. Not only does the city boast excellent cuisine, it’s craft breweries, cideries and wineries are taking the province by storm.
Start your day by enjoying the great outdoors in the beautiful Dundas valley and explore the many waterfalls in the area. Be sure to walk the Bruce Trail Rock Chapel loop and see Borer’s Falls, a 15-metre-high curtain style waterfall.
Find refreshments after your walk at Shawn & Ed Brewing Co. Their slogan is “For Adventurous Mouths”, so you know you’re in for a treat. Step inside the beautifully restored curling/skating rink turned brewery (how Canadian!), and you’ll be welcomed by friendly faces that can’t wait to take you on a tour. All of their brews use natural ingredients, as they aim to create seasonal and flavourful lagers; and unique Pinot Noir barrel aged ales. We’re not kidding when we say it’s love at first taste.
After having a Lagershed or Barrelshed, step out to downtown Dundas and check out some of the charming shops. Stop in for lunch at Quatrefoil, an upscale eatery within a historic home offering New Canadian cuisine and fine wine. For casual dining, try Bangkok Spoon or Detour Café. Be sure to check out some of the charming shops after lunch.
As you make your way into the city of Hamilton, grab a glass at two craft breweries in the west end of the city. Built on the philosophy that “beer is best with friends”, Fairweather Brewing Co., near McMaster University, offers private tours and traditional bottled beers paired with doughy soft pretzels in a revitalized warehouse. Local beer lovers and students alike feel at home at Grain and Grit, where the constantly rotating line-up of small batch beers boasts a new beer released each month.
There are endless dining options in downtown Hamilton. Some recommendations include Lake Road Restaurant, Saltlick Smokehouse (the ultimate carnivore’s delight), Radius, The Mule, and Rapscallion. The last three are within walking distance of some great places to enjoy the city’s nightlife, including Absinthe Club, The Baltimore House and Gallagher’s. You can find more clubs in Hess Village or casual pubs on Augusta Street. See a show at Theatre Aquarius as an alternative.
Enjoy breakfast at Harbour Diner on James St. N. before heading out to experience Hamilton’s natural beauty. Not far from your breakfast location you will discover Hamilton’s waterfront with trails and attractions to be enjoyed by any ages. If you have more time, make your way back to the Dundas valley and explore the many waterfalls in the area. Be sure to check out the HMCS Haida National Historic Site at Pier 8.
While in this part of the city, stop by Collective Arts Brewing, a grassroots brewery that aims to fuse the creativity of craft beer with the inspired talents of emerging artists, musicians and filmmakers. Admire the world’s most refreshing art gallery as you walk in, and while you tour the brewery. Be inspired by how the brewery is forging creative relationships with local artists, and how every label is a unique masterpiece. Sample ales, porters, ciders, IPAs and fruit flavours on a flight that will take your taste buds for a ride.
Next, make your way to Hamilton’s James Street North to explore the unique shops. This vibrant stretch of downtown is also where you’ll find Merit Brewing, a brewery, kitchen, and bottle shop that strives to represent the heart, art, and soul of Hamilton in every beer. You can get lunch at Merit as it offers a sausage-based menu fit for any hungry beer drinker. There are so many options for a meal along James Street North, you will sure find what pleases your palate.
Make your way to the Art Gallery of Hamilton. It’s the oldest and largest public art gallery in southwestern Ontario and owns one of the finest collections of art in Canada, featuring over 10,000 works of art including historical European, historical Canadian and contemporary art. A must-see for art enthusiasts and amateurs alike.
Journey to Freelton, home to West Avenue Cider House at Somerset Orchards. Helmed by the former Chef at Spencers’ at the Waterfront, West Avenue’s ciders are hand crafted using traditional methods and was awarded 2014, 2015 and 2016 Best Cider in Ontario. From June to October it is open for tastings, when you can sample their year-round staples and more innovative barrel-aged and cask-conditioned ciders.
Enjoy a fabulous dinner in nearby Carlisle at Cascata Bistro. Locally sourced unique take on Italian fair will be a treat to end your trip along the True Brew Path.
To extend your trip, consider heading to the eastern outskirts of Hamilton and neighbouring Stoney Creek/Winona to visit another craft brewery and two wineries that are part of the Hamilton Halton Brant True Brew Path. The Clifford Brewing Company is an award-winning brewery with a taproom and retail store in East Hamilton where visitors can try a selection of beers, including their acclaimed porter. Travel further east to Puddicombe Estate Winery and Leaning Post Winery. Compare their wines with the ones at the top of the Escarpment at Ridge Road Winery.
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