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Craft brewery connoisseurs won’t be disappointed when they travel to the 1000 Islands. After a busy day of taking in all there is to do here, relax and unwind with some locally brewed adult beverages. All handcrafted for a flavour experience that the local producers have passionately curated. Here are some must-stop spots that are perfect for getting a taste of the 1000 Islands!
Gananoque Brewing Company
Nestled across the road from the sculpture park on the main stretch of the town of Gananoque lies the Gananoque Brewing Company; home to delicious, local brews. Perfect for the craft beer enthusiast, this open concept brewhouse resides within a historic building that was once the heart of Gananoque manufacturing.
Built in 1860, the Bell Tower mall was originally the site of the Gananoque Spring and Axle Company, used to manufacture the springs and axles for horse drawn carriages. These days the residents of the building have changed, but the structure itself has maintained its historic charm. The namesake of the building, the Bell Tower, still resides on the roof of the building and anyone adventurous enough to ask around the brewery may get the satisfaction of pulling the cord to ring it. Inside, the brewery showcases the vaulted wooden beam ceilings and the original stone work walls, with new, modern elements like a live edge bar for visitors to sit and partake in a sampling of their current beer selection. Guests are also only feet away from the pulse of the brewery, with an open gallery that looks directly into the brewhouse. Tours of the facility are available at scheduled times throughout the day from May to October, which include a full history of the building, as well as taking guests through the beer making process and providing samples of the current offerings.
There’s something special for every season; the winter months featuring a cozy wood stove to enhance the atmosphere, and the summer boasting a beautiful patio for guests to sit out and enjoy the nice weather. Throughout the year you will find live entertainment in the evenings, or the chance to participate in special activities such as trivia night or paint night events. It’s the perfect place for visitors to feel (and drink) like a local any time of the year!
BUSL Cider Co.
After spending the morning gallivanting through the Thousand Islands National Park near Mallorytown you’ll be looking for a way to quench your thirst in the afternoon. Less than a 10-minute drive from the park you’ll find BUSL Cider Co. (pronounced as bushel), an unexpected treasure in the picturesque country landscape. It’s a spectacular alternative for travelers who aren’t fans of craft beer to enjoy a locally crafted drinking experience.
Located on a family owned farm, this cider company resides in a completely renovated barn, featuring a large on-site brewhouse and tasting bar open to the public. The interior is modern and stunning, with multiple additional outdoor spaces for visitors to make the most of the summer weather. Guests are welcome to partake in their extensive collection of handcrafted ciders and wander through their 10-acre apple orchard.
The ciders themselves are a must try; featuring some classic flavours such as apple, cherry and pear, as well as more unique offerings such as haskap and blueberry beet. Each one is handcrafted on site and made available to sample or purchase in takeaway bottles in their tasting room. With so many delicious options, BUSL is a refreshing twist on a taste tour of the 1000 Islands!
Scheuermann Vineyard & Winery
On a soft sloping hill in the village of Westport, Ontario you’ll find the Scheuermann Vineyard & Winery. Overlooking the Westport Sand Lake this is the perfect destination for wine lovers to sit back, relax and enjoy a handcrafted red or white while taking in some stunning views! Westport is an excellent stop should you find yourself on a kayaking or boating trip along the Rideau, or just going for a drive through the region! The winery is only a short walk from the heart of the village, or you can meet up with a free shuttle by the Westport docks that will take you up to the winery without having to worry about a designated driver.
The atmosphere is amazing, the scenery is beautiful, but the main event is the wonderful, handcrafted wines that are produced using grapes grown in their very own vineyard. From Pinot Noirs to Chardonnay and even sparkling cider, there is sure to be something to satisfy every taste bud. Or if you’re the adventurous sampler, they also offer tastings of their offerings so you can try a little of everything. For those who are looking to grab lunch or dinner, the property also features a spectacular patio restaurant that has people raving all up and down the Rideau! With a rotating menu of wood grilled delicacies as well as a constant list of woodfired pizzas, there will always be something to pair perfectly with your glass of vino and breathtaking views.
Westport Brewing Company
Down on the historic Main Street of Westport, you will find the Westport Brewing Company. This quaint stop in the village is an ideal spot to pop in for a nice cold beer after a day out enjoying the Rideau Canal system and Upper Rideau Lake. It’s central location and cozy interior makes for a great place to kick back, relax and unwind. The brewhouse sits front and centre, allowing visitors a chance to see part of the brewing process and the creativity that goes behind each batch of beer. Their open farmhouse style kitchen has a daily offering of different bites from chili to charcuterie boards, as well as offering a perfect pairing of hot, stone-baked pizzas to indulge in – who doesn’t love a classic pizza and beer combo?!
Their collection of brews only add to the feeling of drinking like a local, with names like Lakeside Lager and Rideau Lakes Red Ale, you know they’re unique to the area. Snag a seat out on their back porch to enjoy a frosty flight of their offerings while catching some rays and watching the boats go by on the water. Their beer is also available to go in massive 32 ounce cans they deem Cottage Crowlers, designed entirely with the area in mind and the local cottager and camper traffic that arrives in the summer months. The Westport Brewery is one you won’t want to miss on a trip through the area, and is the perfect destination to help you feel like a local!
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This also used to be the Bell Tower Theater which was owned and operated by Russell and Gail Steacy (who are my parents) Famous movies like ET and 9 to 5 were shown here; as well as many other movies.