We endure the cold and dark winter months for longer than many other countries around the world, so the arrival of summer is certainly one to be celebrated here. It’s taken a little persuasion this year, but it feels like Mother Nature has finally agreed that it might be time to enjoy some uninterrupted sunshine. With the coming of summer, there isn’t anything else more identifiably Ontarian than the celebration of “patio season”.
Since we have so many creative brewers in our region with equally as creative spaces to enjoy their beers, I decided to take it upon myself to scope out the best of the best for the ultimate trifecta this summer: the perfect blend of breweries, patios and brews. After some careful consideration, let me share (in no particular order) my top choices for where to enjoy the summer weather, day or night, in York, Durham and Headwaters.
Brewery: Old Flame Brewing Co.
Port Perry, ON
Patio: A few short blocks from the shores of Lake Scugog, Old Flame Brewing Co. has gone to great lengths to preserve the heritage and history of its building. Built in 1874, it used to be the location for Ontario Carriage Works, where horse-drawn carriages were built. Today, you can enjoy their red-brick courtyard patio between their two main buildings. The patio has an original 1800’s era carriage on site, along with corn hole toss to entertain you while you visit.
Brews: If you’re planning on driving home, No Regrets may be a light lager, but it’s full of flavour so you’d never know it. Also perfect for summer patio sipping is their Perry Loved Mary West Coast IPA, with citrus notes and a hoppy bite. If those don’t tickle your fancy, then their award-winning Brunette Munich Dunkel Lager combines delicious dark flavours with a light body, perfect for summer days turned to summer nights.
Brewery: The Second Wedge Brewing Company
Patio: Unexpectedly tucked on a small road just off the main shopping street in Uxbridge, The Second Wedge’s patio takes the form of a true beer garden. The brainchild of the owners, local farmers and woodworkers, this oasis is planted with edible shrubs and perennials, including strawberries! There is ample seating throughout this garden including custom-made picnic tables and wraparound benches, where guests and their dogs can relax. Every Sunday afternoon you can enjoy live music, which will be in the garden if the weather is good, but if you can’t make it on Sunday, rest assured that giant Jenga is available every day of the week.
Brews: You have to try their classic beer garden favourite, High Grass saison, brewed with fresh ginger and lemongrass. Alternatively, an excellent choice is their 3 Rocks IPA, which has notes of citrus and pine and is their year-round crowd pleaser. A predicted summer favourite will also be their new Gin Joint gruit ale, brewed with gin botanicals. For a unique spin on a classic beer this summer, try it served as a shandy if you’d like, mixed with a little tonic and a lime slice.
Brewery: Brock Street Brewing
Patio: Brock Street Brewing has made careful choices to invite the outdoors in at their location in the historical centre of the Town of Whitby. If you feel like chilling on the main level, their roll up doors offer streetside views and fresh outdoor air. Alternatively, if you’re looking for direct rays of sunshine, you can head on up to the third floor and their south-facing patio which looks out to the town.
Brews: Try their Bohemian Pilsner, which combines a slight sweetness and bready taste with a floral and spicy aroma. Another good choice would be their Blonde Lagered Ale, with a fresh malt aroma and a smooth and clean finish. If you’re up for something fun, a creative seasonal tap offering is their fruity Blueberry Belgian Wheat Beer, which just sounds like summer in a glass.
Brewery: GoodLot Farmstead Brewing Co.
Patio: As GoodLot is located on its own operating organic and regenerative farm in the Headwaters region, their patio takes the form of a Beer Garden in their original hop yard. A unique spin on their bar service is that it’s out of their “Hop Bin”, which is a converted grain bin and is used for their bottle shop and tasting room. Surrounded by their tall hops grove, this is a memorable place to enjoy their signature “farm-raised beer” this summer. Take a peek to see what events they have going on, including live music, farm tours and notable chefs who will be adding to the experience of the beer garden this summer.
Brews: Try their Farm-Raised Golden Ale, a well-known summer favourite which is refreshing and easy-drinking, with a slightly bitter finish. A new and interesting beer they have in their summer line-up is their Black Ale, which is a unique, smooth and rich ale with a level bitter finish. The natural choice for you may very well be their go-to summer beer, their Farmstead Ale, a pale ale with tropical and stone fruit flavours.
Perhaps the most heartwarming connection between so many of these breweries’ outdoor spaces is their desire to bring community together. Breweries are quickly turning into the arts and community centres of our region where friends, family, children and pets are invited to take a moment to relax and appreciate summer together. Whether you seek delicious beer, sunshine or finding a welcoming outdoor space, we have some truly creative spaces cooking up so many interesting experiences and brews in our region. Even making a small dent in this list would be well worth it. Cheers to summer patio season!
Written by Bri Mitchell
Bri Mitchell is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer. She has travelled to over 50 countries, and doesn’t have plans of stopping anytime soon. Bri currently lives in Toronto with her partner in life and travel, Christopher Mitchell (travelingmitch.com), and their Turkish street cat turned Prince of the Great White North, Kotu. You can follow her travels and meanderings around Ontario and beyond on Instagram @mstravelingmitch.