A Self Guided Muskoka Beer Tour Plus Some Cranberry Wine

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Who wants to go on a Muskoka beer tour? I do! What’s better than sitting on your dock at the lake enjoying a nice cold craft beer? A nice cold craft beer that was brewed less than 20 km from your cottage. There are currently three breweries in Muskoka and a Cranberry Marsh that makes some pretty decent Cranberry Wine. You can take a Muskoka beer tour if you want to do them all in one day or you can do what I did and visit one each day while you are exploring the different parts of Muskoka. In my opinion, a self-guided tour is the best as you can go at your own pace and each town has something cool and unique to explore before and after you’ve had some beer samplers. Who’s ready for a brewery tour? Let’s go taste some Muskoka craft beer.

Muskoka Brewery pint at Windermere House Resort, part of my Muskoka Beer tour

You can visit all the breweries and Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh all in one day, they are just a 20 to 30-minute drive from each other. I would suggest you spread them out over the weekend. Maybe do two at a time.

Muskoka Brewery & Cranberry Wine Tour

Sawdust City Brewing 397 Muskoka Rd. N | Gravenhurst – The first brewery I visited on my Muskoka beer tour is Sawdust City Brewing in Gravenhurst. It is located right in the heart of downtown. You can’t miss it. They have a huge yellow Muskoka chair in the parking lot.

Sawdust City Brewing Granvenhurst

If you are hungry from your ride into Gravenhurst grab a bite from the Food Truck parked outside in the parking lot and take it into the tasting room. My tasting flight consisted of the Gateway Kolsch, Ol’ Woody Alt, Lone Pine IPA and the O.D.B. Imperial Saison. All were great, but my two favourites are the Gateway Kolsch and the O.D.B. I love a good Kolsch and seem to be getting a taste for Barrel Aged beers. I liked the O.D.B. so much I even helped a guy wondering what to buy pick up a couple of bottles.

Sawdust City Brewing line up of beers

Flight of beer tasters at Sawdust City Brewing

Lake Of Bays Brewing Company 2681 Regional Rd 117, Baysville – Celebrating its 6th year in business, Lake Of Bays Brewing Company has put the town of Baysville back on the map. They are the biggest employer in town and they make some mighty fine beers.

Lake of Bays Brewing

My tasting consisted of the Rock Cut Lager,  Summer Sunset Session Ale, Spark House Red Ale and the Crosswind Pale Ale. Lagers are my go to beers and the Rock Cut could soon be my favourite. My other fav is the Spark House Red Ale. Tastes of toffee and nuttiness with a hint of smoke it is a crowd pleaser. What makes Lake Of Bays Brewing unique in my experience of visiting tasting rooms is that they like to mix their beers. Ask for a taste of their special recipes and you’ll be shocked to find out that mixing beers make for an even better drink.

Lake of Bays Brewing tasting lineup

Pick up a pack of Lake Of Bays Brewing at your local LCBO

Muskoka Brewery 1964 Muskoka Beach Road, Bracebridge – The last brewery I visited, but the first to call Muskoka home is Muskoka Brewery. For over 20 years they have been brewing award-winning beer and they are still going strong.

Muskoka Brewery

Kirby’s Kolsch, Oak Aged Cream Ale, Moonlight Kettle Oak Smoked Ale, and the Cross Border Citrus Porter which is a collaboration beer with a NYC brewery. The only beer I’ve had before is the Kolsch and it didn’t disappoint. The other tasters are all special creations and may not be around for long. This is why I love to visit the brewery whenever possible, you can find special treats like these. The last three were a bit much for my beer palette, but I’m guessing beer experts will go crazy for them.

Muskoka chair Tap pulls at Muskoka Brewery

Tasting flight at Muskoka Brewery

Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh & Muskoka Lakes Winery 1074 Cranberry Road, Bala – Every October after Thanksgiving the town of Bala is host to a Cranberry Festival and the town fills up with 20,000+ visitors. Where do they all go? Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh and Muskoka Lakes Winery of course. Open year round you can visit the shop taste some Cranberry Wine, Cranberry Jam, Cranberry you name it they make it!

Muskoka Lakes Winery and Johnston's Cranberry marsh store

Muskoka Lakes Wine tasting

From bog to bottle at Muskoka Lakes Winery

There is more to do than sample Cranberry Wine, though. You can also take a guided tour or hike on your own through the Cranberry Marsh. The longest trail is 5 km long while the shortest is just over 1 km. A perfect little break before or after some Cranberry Wine. The big seller is the Cranberry Blueberry although the Georgian Bay Rose was surprisingly good.

Things to do at Johnston's Cranberry Marsh

Cranberry Marsh trails at Johnston's Cranberrry Marsh

Maybe all that resting and relaxing by the Lake is starting to get to you. Hop in your car and check out these fine crafter breweries and winery. A Muskoka beer tour may just be the excuse you need to explore more of Muskoka. While you are exploring don’t forget to check out some of the famous bakeries and pick up a Butter Tart or two.

Don's Bakery Butter Tart at the Muskoka Store

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Disclosure: General

Don't drink and Drive. Thanks to Ontario Travel, Muskoka Tourism and Chevrolet Canada for their support in making this travel series possible. My views and opinions are 100% my own.


About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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