Craft breweries are popping up everywhere in Winnipeg and I, for one, couldn’t be happier. If you’re not up on the trend, the term “craft” refers to beer brewed by small independent breweries, (also called microbreweries) often with interesting local flavours and fun names.
What’s behind the boom? Recently relaxed liquor laws, entrepreneurial opportunities and a love of all things local.
How did it all begin? First came the refillable growlers from the two established Winnipeg breweries: Fort Garry Brewing and Half Pints Brewing Co. Then the province gave the green light to tap and tasting rooms – licensed sites that allow patrons to sample beer brewed on-site at a local brewery and finally, brew pubs – establishments that sell beer made on the premises as well as a restaurant. Now the city is looking at lifting restrictions that currently only allow microbreweries to be situated in industrial areas.
Many of the city’s new brewmasters started out with one of the two established breweries and you really get a sense of camaraderie amongst them. Like these articles explain; they’re not competing against one another, they’re friends in arms against the big breweries buying up the little local guys and calling themselves “craft beer”.
So you want to start exploring local craft beer, but where to begin? In alphabetical order:
Brazen Hall Kitchen and Brewery – formerly The Round Table, they just opened.
The Common at The Fork Market – A great place to start since they carry a variety of local brews they also host interesting workshops and activities.
Did you know we also have a local beer blog? Follow Beer Winnipeg to keep up on the latest. You can also check out this short documentary called Manitoba Beer People.
Update April 23: Check out this article for details on the upcoming openings of a few more brewpubs!