Cameron’s Brewing – Ontario Brewery Tours

Cameron’s Brewing has been in business since 1997, which makes them one of the oldest players on the Ontario craft beer scene. They’ve had the time to hone their craft to create some really solid brews, and now they’re undertaking a branding revitalization. 

Ambear, Cameron's Brewing, Hoppily Ever After
New brand on the Ambear Red Ale

THE PLACE

Cameron’s Brewing is a classic brewery, tucked into a business park in Oakville, Ontario. It has a simple front end, with just enough space for tasting and purchasing, and then a back-end busy with the operations of beer creation.

Brewery, Hoppily Ever After
Some of the older style, externally insulated tanks

THE BEER

The $10 tour included a whole raft of samples. Here’s our take on what we tried:

  • Cosmic Cream Ale – Clean and creamy. This is the original Cameron’s Cream Ale, with an updated name and brand for the 21st Century.
  • Ambear Red Ale – Red & roasted, some toffee notes. Another rebrand, this is a slightly modified version of their Auburn Ale.
  • Dark 266 – A sweet and roasted dark lager. Smooth and rich, with a hint of bitterness that tastes more like raw cocoa.

Cameron's Beer, Hoppily Ever After

  • Resurrection Roggenbier – With the banana bread flavour that’s customary in Roggenbiers, which use malted rye in place of some of the wheat. Reminiscent of Hefeweizens in that sense. This one is sweeter than the Roggenbiers we’ve tried, and a little peppery. Very sessionable.
  • Dry-Hopped Tripel – Sweet like a Belgian tripel, but lighter and not at all syrupy. Definitely a fruity taste, we were envisioning grape. The Cameron’s guys told us the aim was to be a “white wine of beer”, and that makes a lot of sense to us.  And doesn’t taste like a 7.5%!
  • Rye Pale Ale (RPA) – A rich hopped brew with a little white pepper undernote. Smoother than a lot of hop-forward brews, but still too hoppy for Jessica’s tastes – Josh quite enjoyed it.

Growlers at Cameron's, Hoppily Ever After

THE TOUR

Cameron’s tours are Saturdays at 1, 2, and 3pm. For $10, you get the tour and the tasting. On the tour, you get the story of beer creation, and in particular Cameron’s style of doing it. You’ll also see all their equipment and packaging, from old to new.

Cameron's Brewing, Hoppily Ever After
Original branding on the boxes

They also showed off their towers of the new cans, and different rooms throught the brewery like the barrel-aging room.

Barrels at Cameron's, Hoppily Ever After
Doppelbock being aged in Bourbon barrels

THE EXTRAS

There’s a  tiny shop with a few items – namely this Beer Geek shirt and some beer brittle candy.

Beer Geek, Hoppily Ever After

And as we’ve mentioned throughout, Cameron’s Brewing just went through a rebrand. We think the cans give a very hip and updated look to this old stalwart brewery, but you can hear even more about it from our friends at Hamilton Small Fries.

Cameron's cans, Hoppily Ever After
The new look

If you want to check out Cameron’s – and a few of their friends – further, they’re having a Cask Night on April 1, 2016.

AprilCaskNight

Our Visit Date: March 19, 2016

Trafalgar Club – Ontario Brewery Touring

Oakville’s Trafalgar Club is a combo of Trafalgar Ales & Meads and the Trafalgar Artisanal Distillery. They do the meads, the hard liquor, and the beer – and they do it damn well.

Trafalgar Club Interior - Hoppily Ever After

THE PLACE

The tap room was redone back in 2014, and now it’s a rustic haven with wood panels, long benches, and a pot-bellied stove. When we visited back in November, there were only three taps. But now they’re really close to unveiling their 16 growler filling stations, which means that soon we’ll see all  the varieties from their fridge on tap.

Flavoured alcohol at Trafalgar Club -Hoppily Ever After
Flavouring hard alcohol

THE TOUR

On Sundays at 2pm, there’s a great tour around the facility. It’s $10, but that includes a good round of samples (plus you can apply the $10 to a purchase).    It’s not a huge place, so we didn’t expect the tour to last a full hour, but between the two of us, the other guys on the tour, and our guide, we got to chatting.

Beer ingredients at Trafalagar Club - Hoppily Ever After

We talked beer, brewing at Trafalgar, distilling, homebrewing, and the state of beer in Ontario. Plus, we poked around the back end of the place

At Trafalgar Club - Hoppily Ever After
Josh checking out the equipment

THE BEER

Though there were only the three beers on tap, doing the tour meant we could dig into all the goodies in the fridge. Some standouts of beer and mead included:

  • Norfolk County Baked Apple Mead – like apple pie in a glass, with all the spices
  • Wet-Hopped Ale – the fresh, local Cascade hops gives it a leafier taste than some hop-forward brews
  • Trafalgar ESB – that classic, undefinable bitter ale done just the way it should.
  • Potato Stout – quite a dry, old-timey, classic stout. Can’t actually taste the potato though!
  • Irish Brown Ale – tangy, proper, Irish brown, perfect for the cooler seasons

Beer on Tap at Trafalgar Club - Hoppily Ever After

THE EXTRAS

The big extra is, of course, the distillery! Trafalgar makes quite a list of unique or creative spirits. Along with vodka and unfiltered gin, they make “shines” (as in moonshine, but with a name more palatable to the LCBO), which is basically unnamed whiskey – and Trafalgar does it in multiple flavours: berries, apple pie, pumpkin, and more. We even took a few home with us.

Shine and Hard Alcohol at Trafalgar Club - Hoppily Ever After

Our visit date: Nov 28, 2015