I used to choose beers based on price, but as I got older and started appreciating the taste of beers, quality trumped quantity. Now, I’m eager to try new craft beers and support local breweries.
I first tasted craft beer when I was a teen at Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver. It was at this brewery that I sat at the bar with my dad, drinking from a flight of beers, while my step-sister described the brewing process. Not only was I amazed that I was allowed to drink beer, but I was also surprised at how delicious the beers tasted. It was a pivotal moment in my life; I finally acquired a taste for good beer and I got to enjoy it with family, instead of sneaking around with friends in parks.
Ottawa has become a beer lover's playground. Craft beer taps are taking over bars, and microbreweries are popping up in many neighbourhoods. I decided to visit four of the newer breweries to see what they have to offer. And since drinking alone is not as fun as drinking with loved ones, I chose to bring along some of my favourite people on this quest to try new Ottawa beers.
This past Thanksgiving weekend I visited the Lowertown Brewery with my dad and brother. Located in the ByWard Market, the Lowertown Brewery opened in June 2014. It has a brewpub in the front and a brewery in the back. The pub has a late 19th-century logging industry theme that pays tribute to the area’s history. The walls are covered with photos and amusing historical facts from the area’s logging days.
The menu is inspired by regional cuisine from the 1880s, with smoked meats, pickled vegetables, and hearty sandwiches. The beer menu offers five beers brewed in-house, seasonal beers, and one from another local brewery, The Clocktower Brew Pub. Each of us ordered a flight of the five available Lowertown beers, which included:
- Lowertown Pale Ale – bitter, my dad and brother’s favourite.
- Lowertown Lager – floral hint, German-inspired lager.
- Lowertown Red Wheat – subtle citrus flavour, very tasty.
- Lowertown Red Lager – oak aroma, my favourite.
- Lowertown Dark Lager – hoppy and delicious.
We were very pleased with the food, beer, and service. I especially enjoyed learning a bit about Ottawa’s logging history over a few beers with my family. I also learned to avoid being hungover while beer tasting: my notes were not very thorough.
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.