Breweries are a big part of the City of Guelph’s vibrant cultural scene, and discovering them is a fun and unique adventure.
Guelph, a small city located in Southwestern Ontario, has long been a hub for beer lovers. With a population of just over 130,000, the city is home to several breweries, each offering a unique selection of locally brewed beers. The city has a rich history as a brewing scene, dating back 180 years.
One of the oldest and most established breweries in Guelph is Wellington Brewery. Founded in 1985, Wellington has been a staple in the local beer scene for nearly four decades. The brewery offers IPAs, stouts, lagers, and award-winning seasonal offerings, and has a taproom where visitors can sample beers and enjoy local food.
“As Canada’s original independently owned craft brewery, we’ve been part of cultivating an engaging cultural landscape in Guelph,” says Brad McInerney, Marketing Manager at Wellington Brewery. “When we first opened, the term ‘craft beer’ didn’t exist. But over the last 15 years, there’s been a surge in supporting local breweries. People are thinking about beer in a new way — as a flavourful experience with a rich history.”
A Rich Brewing History
Royal City Brewing Company is another popular brewery in the region, having quickly gained a reputation for brewing high-quality beers that showcase unique flavours and ingredients.
“Guelph has a rich history as a brewing city,” says Cam Fryer, Head Brewer at Royal City Brewing. “The water and water chemistry lend themselves very well to beer. We’re also the only community of our size in Canada to have a brewery of every scale operating within a city.”
That includes Sleeman Breweries, established in the 1900s and currently one of the largest breweries in Canada, popular for its cream ale.
Wellington, Royal City, and Sleeman, along with Fixed Gear Brewing Company and Brothers Brewing Company, make up Guelph.Beer, an organization started in 2018 with the idea of fostering a more vibrant cultural scene in Guelph.
“Guelph.Beer is a collaboration between the five breweries in Guelph, and truly indicative of the community we have here,” explains Fryer. “Everyone knows each other and works together. It’s a microcosm of the industry as a whole.”
“It’s not just about the beer, it’s about the experience.” – McInerney
Experience Guelph on the Guelph.Beer Bus
In 2019, the organization launched the Guelph.Beer Bus, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that takes visitors to all five breweries in the region.
One of the main benefits of the Guelph.Beer Bus is the convenience it provides. Rather than having to navigate unfamiliar streets and find parking at each individual brewery, the Guelph.Beer Bus allows you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the various beers that Guelph has to offer. These tours also often offer behind-the-scenes access to the breweries, giving visitors a chance to learn about the brewing process and to sample a variety of beers. It’s a great way to experience the vastly different breweries.
“It’s not just about the beer, it’s about the experience,” adds McInerney.
The Guelph.Beer Bus is supported by the Regional Tourism Organization and open for all riders, with services running one Saturday each month from April to December. Whether you’re a beer enthusiast or just looking for a fun and unique experience, Guelph’s breweries are definitely worth a visit.
Author: Melissa Vekil, [email protected]