Guelph, a city of about 140,000 in Southwestern Ontario overdelivers when it comes to craft beer. In fact, we have four different breweries in town that are all unique in both their experiene and offerings.
What is craft beer?
Craft beer is beer that is not brewed by a large national or international corporation, but by local, smaller brewers. These brewers tend to focus on higher quality ingredients and small batch sizes over mass production and distribution.
Craft beer in Guelph
There are four main breweries offering craft beer in Guelph. They are conveniently located in all areas of town, so no matter where you are, you have a choice!
According to their website, Wellington Brewery is one of Canada’s original craft breweries. Known for producing award-winning beers with a focus on quality, sustainability, and creativity, Wellington Brewery was founded in 1985 in Guelph. Wellington is creatively transforming Ontario’s brewing culture to stand for people and planet.
Wellington Brewery is located on Highway 7 just as you are leaving Guelph towards Kitchener, across from the Guelph Auto Mall. They brew beer on site, have a beer store (that, as I might add is open at times that the Beer Store or LCBO are not- including holidays) and a tap room/ beer garden that allows you to stop in, have a beer on tap and some food.
The brewery offers a wide range of craft beer, from year round favourites to special occasion limited supply options. Wellington is quick to understand market trends, including non alcoholic and low alcohol content beers.
What’s to love about Wellington Brewery:
the options. Wellington has all the bases covered, whether it’s your Sunday afternoon session ale, or a stout or a non-alcoholic hop water. You can get everything you want in one stop here. It’s worth noting that some of their better sellers are available at the Beer Store and LCBO as well as selected grocery stores.
Our favourite beer: Arkell Best Bitter
Is there a patio? Yes, the Welly Beer Garden is open Friday-Sunday from 12pm-6pm.
Do they deliver? Yes, free same-day delivery in Guelph.
Royal City Brewery
Royal City Brewery came onto the Guelph craft beer scene in 2013. According their website, Royal City Brewing is a small batch brewing company in the heart of The Ward neighbourhood in Guelph. The owners are former University of Guelph students who loved Guelph so much, they started a brewery here!
The brewery is located at the corner of York Rd and Victoria Rd in Guelph. At first, you may miss it as this is a high traffic location and the brewery is in a strip plaza on the northwest corner.
Royal City Brewery is going through a major expansion at the moment (May 2022). Prior to the expansion, they had the “Ward Room”, a cool space where you could stop in to buy beer, or sit at the bar and have a beer. They also had a number of tables to sit at- their biggest challenge was that they didn’t have a kitchen or food offering.
However, that will all change with the launch of their Beer Hall, currently slated for opening in June 2022. Royal City took over the space directly next door to the current brewery. Offering a wide variety of food options, the Beer Hall will fill the gap that Royal City needs. It will also offer larger event space and be more of a full service operation.
Royal City does a great job of embracing Guelph and its unique neighbourhoods, with many beers named after neighbourhoods in town. These include their best selling Exhibition IPA (named after the Exhibition Park neighbourhood), Riverside IPA, Suffolk St Ale, Two Rivers Blonde Ale and more. Royal City also loves to try out new types of brews in an effort to express creativity within brewing.
What’s to love about Royal City:
their creativity. Royal City burst onto the scene in 2013 with art-deco inspired labels and growlers, something completely new and different. This was quickly embraced by the community. Since then, they’ve been true to this branding and continue to try and new and interesting things (including partnering with us in a support local campaign!)
Our favourite beer: Besides our own? Exhibition IPA for sure!
Is there a patio? Not yet, but the brewery is currently in the midst of expansion. You can visit them to buy beer for take out, but not currently to stay at the brewery for a beer. Hours vary, but generally M-Sat 11-7pm and Sunday 12-5pm.
Do they deliver? Yes, free delivery on Tuesday/Friday/Saturday. No minimum purchase! Place your order by 3pm for free same day delivery (Tues/Fri/Sat), otherwise the order will be delivered the next delivery date.
Fixed Gear Brewery
Bursting onto the scene in 2015, Fixed Gear Brewery has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. If you ask most people what drew them to Fixed Gear, it’s likely because of their cool branding and style.
Fixed Gear initially opened up in a small detached warehouse in the Junction, one of Guelphs more industrial areas just outside of downtown. The brewery may have been early signs of gentrification to the area and Fixed Gear quickly became a destination for locals and craft beer lovers. There is limited seating there, but during summer months they have a great outdoor patio area made from shipping containers.
During the pandemic, restaurant Abe @Erb left their anchor restaurant at the entrance to the Junction buildings at 5 Edinburgh Rd. Considering their brewery was so close, Fixed Gear took over the space. They turned it into a brew house that served fire oven pizza and more. They also have live music, special nights like euchre night and more. In the summer, there is also an outdoor patio.
Most would say that Fixed Gear’s uniqueness is that they’ve done a great job of marketing. Their sleek, confident but approachable image makes them a fan favourite for many.
What’s to love about Fixed Gear:
They’re simple and approachable. Nothing seems complicated with this brewery- in a good way. They’ve quickly become a Junction neighbourhood hub at Alma and Inkerman, where there just used to be an abandoned building.
Our favourite beer: Beth says Fixie, a 3.9% seasonal beer (it’s not always available, so if you see it try it!) Ryan says Hat Trick, a 4.3% light lager. We both agree that the Cherry Sour is a go-to.
Is there a patio? Yes, at both the Alma/ Inkerman location and the Junction location at 5 Edinburgh Rd S.
Do they deliver? Yes, same day delivery on orders placed before 3:00 pm Monday – Saturday ($30 minimum order).
For those of us who grew up in Guelph, we welcome Brothers Brewing for a few reasons. You see, this brewery is located in a very special building in downtown Guelph known as the Petrie Building. A quick Google search of “Petrie Building” images will show you the before and after. This building that was once a landmark in Guelph had turned into an eyesore by the early 2000’s. It was purchased and re-developed, which included Brothers Brewing on the main level.
Brothers Brewing is a unique spot within Guelph. They serve craft beer with a side of sophistication. Upon entering, you’ll notice the really tall ceilings and character of the 100+ year building that was tastefully renovated.
According to their website, Brothers is a brewery, a bar, a bottle shop, and a community hub. With 12 taps of house-brewed craft beer, weekly community workshops, food pop-ups, local bands, board games, sketchbooks, a someone bought you a pint wall, and a coaster sketching Hall of Fame, staying for a pint or two is bound to get your creative juices flowing.”
We’ve always appreciated their beer here, as some of the 12 taps are craft beer that are really out there. This brewery likes experimenting, and we like trying their experiments. Some good, some not our style but we applaud what they do. You’ll find coffee, fruits, vanilla and many other interesting flavours.
Food at Brothers
Brothers does not have a commercial kitchen, limiting their options of food that you can order on site. However, they will allow you to bring food into the bar while you play a board game or some cards.
Their location allows them to have larger functions and events, and they have a wide range of Brothers merch you can buy as well.
Like most breweries that serve craft beer, their branding takes on a style of it’s own. Ironically (or maybe not), the style here takes on art that you’d like find in the era that the Petrie building was in it’s prime. A more mystical, gothic feeling with early 1900’s fonts, colours and illustrations.
What’s to love about Brothers
It’s a hang out spot, a destination. We’d imagine this being a hangout in the 1950’s for people just getting off work on a Friday. It’s located downtown Guelph so you can easily walk there from many areas, or get transit.
Our favourite craft beer: Nothing specific, but that’s because we love trying everything they have. If you’re into neat flavours and are a little adventurous, try something new (they also have standard beers, too)
Is there a patio? Yes, in the summer. During covid, the City of Guelph allowed for downtown Guelph patios to be built on the road.
Do they deliver? Yes, free Same-Day Guelph-Wide Beer Delivery (12-11pm) on orders above $50
Craft beer lives here, in Guelph
As you can see, craft beer is alive and well in Guelph. If you’re in town, you should support our local economy and try one of these breweries out!
This list is part of our ongoing Support Local initiative to help small businesses get more support. Visit them if you can!
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