This past weekend my friend, Kayla, and I went to Waller Street Brewing, located downtown near the corner of Rideau and Waller Street. An exterior staircase, framed with a cast-iron fence, led us down to the basement of the stone heritage building, built in 1868.
The brewery opened its doors in August 2015, and boasts a Prohibition-era style with a speakeasy bar at the centre of the brewery. Large wooden barrels of beer are stored on one side of the bar. On the other side are sacks of malt, a retro hops and grain sifter, and a montage of Prohibition-era photos mounted on the wall.
As we sat at the intimate bar with the other patrons, I felt I was part of a warm, neighbourly underground community. We had a hidden escape from hectic Rideau Street, as if we had stepped into another time. The speakeasy atmosphere brought a new excitement to the beer-tasting experience.
The friendly bartender, dressed in the classic style of years long past, chatted up the patrons, providing a welcome environment. People young and old gathered around the cozy bar. The room continuously filled up with new patrons, excited to try the neighbourhood’s newest craft beer. A group of exchange students came in for a brewery tour, and then joined us at the bar for the popular flight of beers.
Kayla and I each ordered a flight - for cheap! We tasted:
- Bootleg Blonde – tasty, slightly bitter and hoppy.
- Hideaway Hefe – German wheat Hefeweizen, fruity, a favourite.
- Moonlight Porter – delicious chocolate and coffee flavour, another favourite.
- Speakeasy Red – tasty, Rye Session ale.
The Speakeasy Red had many flavours to ponder. A small glass wasn’t enough, so I had to buy a bottle to take home and enjoy it further. The beers are sold in “The Bomber” 750 ml bottles. The cost of the bottle includes a deposit to encourage patrons to return their empties. The bottle alone is worth the purchase, with its moonshine-jug style. But the beer is even better. I will definitely be returning the bottle for a refill.
For further reading on Waller St. Brewing, check out this article from the Ottawa Citizen.
Daphne is an aspiring writer from Ottawa. After completing a B.A. in Psychology at Carleton University, she decided to pursue her life-long passion for writing with the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. Aside from reading, writing, and drinking beer, she also enjoys movies, cats, and wine.