The Best Breweries in London, Ontario!

Visiting London and creating a list of the best breweries in London, Ontario was a task that I was only too happy to assign myself.

It’s tough work, but someone had to do it, right?

Joking aside, long time readers will know that I’ve been passionate about beer for quite some time (and perhaps even before I was legally allowed to publicly admit such a thing). It’s not just about the beer, though – I’m genuinely enamoured with the entrepreneurial journey that so many breweries have had to take, and in some cases endure, to find success.

I appreciate that I can use my site and channels to guide more eyes towards deserving businesses. I know that was the case when I wrote about my favourite breweries in Butler County, and was similarly the case when I put pen to paper (or hands to keyboard, as it were) on the best Finger Lakes breweries.

And today’s goal is to do that very same thing as it relates to London, Ontario breweries.

London, Ontario Breweries Worth Popping Into

In no particular order, I’m going to mention some breweries that I feel are worth visiting when you’re in London, Ontario. For each brewery, as per usual, I’ll offer my beer recommendations, as well as any other pertinent information to help you create own little London beer tour.

I was taking Ubers around London to do this responsibly, so I’d encourage you to do the same, or make sure you’ve got a designated driver. Sorry, I had to say that – I fully recognize that I’m slowly but surely becoming my parents.

POWERHOUSE BREWING COMPANY

Powerhouse is a London craft brewery that’s located in the newly revitalized Kellogg’s Factory. They’re situated in London’s Old East Village, and have noted many times that they’re proud to do their part to bring some positive energy and good vibes into the OEV.

While I was there, I spent a couple of hours chatting with Chris, the head Brewmaster. He’s a guy who is clearly passionate about good beer, and it was privilege to walk through Powerhouse with him and get a sense of what went into his brewing process.

I was a huge fan of what I tried. I’d recommend starting with the Homecoming, their popular pale ale. Try to see if you can pick up the subtle notes of citrus and fruit. It’s a refreshing beer that, in my opinion, showcases how clean their brewing process is.

IPAs are hit or miss for me, but The Generator was a hit. You’ve got those heavy tropical notes, but it also maintains a certain measure of purity, if that makes sense. I also liked that it finishes strong with some notes of pine. Though, each sip I was tasting different elements and flavours to be honest, which is something I enjoy.

The Cream Ale is a nice summer beer in that it’s easy drinking, and their Porter is also well regarded. If you visit Powerhouse Brewing Co. in person, I’d pay attention to what they’re brewing seasonally. I had the Oktoberfest Blonde Lager while I was there, for example, and thought it was exceptional. Too many breweries brew their blonde beers without much flavour, and this wasn’t the case with this beer.

I’m not positive how it’ll progress into winter, but when I visited they had a fairly epic beer tent set up with heaters, which leads me to believe they’re looking to serve year round.

ANDERSON CRAFT ALES

If I wrote a post about the best breweries in London, Ontario and didn’t include Anderson Craft Ales, I imagine it would take about 4 minutes after this article was live before I received the first email or comment asking why they weren’t included.

Anderson Craft Ales, founded in 2005, is the poster child of what a successful Ontario craft brewery can hope to accomplish. They’re family owned and operated, and still focus on what made them successful – small batch, handcrafted brews made with the right ingredients. Their branding, both sleek and simple, means you can notice their cans across the room.

As far as their beer goes, their IPA and Cream Ale are very solid, but I’m actually most partial to their Amber. It’s ruby red, and it perfectly balances the sweet flavours of caramel etc. with the more bitter notes from the malts. It’s a great fall or winter beer, if you ask me.

My wife, Briana, loves their Stout that’s brewed with locally roasted coffee, so stout lovers take note!

I’ll also likely get hate mail if I don’t mention their 2xIPA, which is their first canned double IPA – it’s hazy and delicious.

STORM STAYED BREWING COMPANY

As far as London, Ontario breweries are concerned, Storm Stayed Brewing Company was probably the craft brewery that I had the most folks message me about on social while I was in London. Once I started posting on Instagram about other breweries, people wanted to make damn sure I knew about Storm Stayed as well.

Storm Stayed Brewing Co. is little community oriented craft brewery that’s become a focal point of the Coves neighbourhood near Old South. They’re got a modern taproom, but an old fashioned sort of warmth as it relates to how they treat their customers.

If you don’t mind a touch of lactose in your beer, then you should try their Confluence milkshake IPA, or their Shook milkshake kettle sour. I also want to give a shoutout to their Coffee Break, which is the first blonde ale that I’ve seen with coffee flavouring – usually that’s reserved for the stouts etc.

A safe play if you’re not looking for anything too off-the-beaten-path, would be their ever popular Sunburst (a pale ale) or their Maelstrom (an American IPA).

LONDON BREWING CO-OPERATIVE

London Brewing Co-op is unique in that its a worker-owned cooperative (which, perhaps, is self-evident from the name.)

They’re messaging is something I can get behind. They talk regularly at this London, Ontario brewery about the importance of beer being from “plough to pint,” with as little in-between as possible. Another phrase that I’m a fan of is, “worker-owned, locally grown.” They’ve got a whole section on their website entitled “Local Matters,” and that is just something I fervently support.

If it’s a hot summer day, the London Organic Lager is a good bet, but in the colder months I’d lean more towards the Tolpuddle Porter. Their Workhorse IPA is quite good as well, but I’d say the beer most worth sipping on and appreciating is their Downtown Coconut Brown, which has just the right amount of toasted coconut poking through.

I can’t get enough of the vibe and mission of this London, Ontario brewery.

TOBOGGAN BREWING CO.

From what I’m told, London, Ontario (also known as the “Forest City), was the place to be when it came to tobogganing in the 1800’s, and Toboggan Brewing Co. aims to celebrate that heritage.

They’re located right on Richmond, so smack dab in the middle of Central London. Beer aside, one of the reasons I’ve added them to this best breweries in London list is just how delightfully Canadian this whole spot is. There’s toboggan paraphernalia everywhere, and they’ve got an expansive taproom, as well as many stools at their bar, if you’re just more keen to watch some hockey or what have you.

The staff here is also lovely. I even spent some time chatting with the manager of Toboggan, Christina, who was about as kind and welcoming as they come.

You may recognize Toboggan Brewing Company from their branding, particularly their designs on the cans of their Lunatic Fridge IPA or Mr. Insurance Man. If they have it on tap, though, I’d go with their Double IPA or Double Lunatic Fridge. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest stout drinker, but I have a good friend in London who adores stouts, and they swear by the Blackfriars Bridge Vanilla Stout.

Not unlike Cured Craft Brewing Co. in Leamington, food is also a big part of what they do here.

CURLEY BREWING COMPANY

To be considered one of the best breweries in London, you’ve got to be doing something well, and I’ve got to say, the black and white checkered floors and bright yellow walls are enough to win me over almost immediately.

Thankfully, the beer is pretty darn tasty as well.

Curley Brewing Company is a fair bit outside of downtown London and is in the Hyde Park area, but if you’re doing a tour of London, Ontario breweries, then this is worth adding to your map.

If you’re into rye beers, then I’d give the Red Rye beer a whirl, as it’s something a little different. The West World IPA is also quite interesting as it’s a blend of seven different types of hops, which I can’t actually recall seeing very often elsewhere.

I’m not sure if it’s still available, but their Pink Frizzle raspberry sour was a delight, so if you can nab that, then do so as well. Beyond that, their Citra Blonde, like most blondes, will treat you well on a sunny day.

FORKED RIVER BREWING COMPANY

You know why I like writing about breweries? Because of breweries that have a story like Forked River. It was founded by two biologists and an engineer who had all dappled in home-brewing and thought it might be wise to put their collective know-how together and create something larger.

For those wondering where they’re located, they’re actually not terribly far from London Brewing Co-operative and Powerhouse Brewing Co, and are just north of Dundas and Clarke, at 45 Pacific Crescent.

What I love about this London, Ontario brewery is the pride that they take in their city. They often talk about the fact that their beer is “made in London for London.” They’re one of London Ontario’s first craft breweries, and they paved the way for a lot of others to do a little brewing themselves.

As far as their beers go, they’ve brewed a fair few since 2012. If you want something a little different, or at least a little stronger, you shouldn’t miss their Queen’s Ranger double IPA. It’s a 9% beer that drinks easier than that, but is full flavoured, has 100 IBUs to its name, so it’s got a bitter kick. The Hans and Franz pilsner is also worth trying if you’re into crisp, lighter beers that aren’t void of flavour. Finally, the Grumpy Peasant, a saison, has an unusual but enticing spice profile that I think many a beer lover would appreciate.

They make a lot of different beers, so you can probably let preference guide the way here, but those are a few beers that I’d start with, personally.

LABATT BREWERY

I’ve got to be honest that I don’t guzzle down a lot of Labatt’s beer, but to not include a brewery that was founded in 1845, and is a staple of the region, probably isn’t wise.

I didn’t get a chance to visit their actual site, but I do know that they did operate a popular “Hometown Brewery Tour” in the past, so keep your eye on whether that’s currently running, if that’s something that would interest you. It’s a 2 hour tour of the enormous brewery, plus some tasting.

Labatt is the largest brewer in Canada, and Labatt Blue is the best selling Canadian beer in the world, so this is one of those situations where I’ll let that fact speak louder than whether or not it’s a beer that speaks to me personally.

There’s No Shortage of Breweries in London, Ontario!

Not only are their plenty of London, Ontario breweries to choose from, but they all approach things a little differently, which means it’s well worth doing a bit of a London beer pilgrimage and giving each spot a chance.

When it comes to travel in Ontario, there are truly few things I appreciate more than arriving at an Ontario brewery, ordering a flight, and taking the time to appreciate each sip. Of course, in the realm of beer, if that’s not your style, then you can simply pick some up or, often times, have some ordered directly to you if you aren’t all that far away.

There have been some top-notch brewers and owners pouring their heart and soul into beer for quite some time now in London so, if you’re so inclined, treat yourself to a few beers when you get the chance, and support some local businesses at the same time. It’s a win-win, right?!

It would seem there’s only one way to end an article such as this – cheers!

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