Taps Only!


Taps Only! continues the saga of our craft beer adventures.  Here we focus on those craft breweries that have tasting rooms only.  Since they also brew great beers, they deserve coverage in this blog.  Cheers!

Steam Whistle Brewing, Toronto, ONT, Canada

The Steam Whistle Brewing Company is located at the Roundhouse (the Toronto Railroad Museum) in Toronto, in the shadow of the CN tower, not far from the harbor district.  They brew only one beer, a pilsner, but it is an excellent pilsner.  The old saying, ‘if you do only one thing, do it well’ applies here.  They do it well.  Another thing they do well is make an effort to save the planet by employing green technology wherever they can.  The most amazing thing in this modern day is that they do home delivery of kegs for parties.  They use an ancient pickup truck to make the deliveries; you can see photos of it on their website.

The tasting room is large, airy and bright, and of course the brewing area is visible through a large plate glass window.  When you visit you get a 4-oz. sample of beer, and they have beer for purchase as well as t-shirts, glassware, growlers, wooden whistles and other items.

Since the brewery is located in The Roundhouse Park, the Toronto railway museum, when you are done drinking your beer, it’s nice to walk around and see what they have at the railway museum.

We have additional photos in the photo album.  You can visit Steam Whistle’s website at http://steamwhistle.ca

The date of our visit was August 7, 2012

Great Lakes Brewing Co., Toronto, ONT, Canada

Great Lakes Brewing Company bills itself as Toronto’s original craft brewery.  Great Lakes Brewing is a family owned company that was founded in 1987 and has won many awards.

On the day we visited we got to try several beers.  One they don’t mention on their website, which was exceptional, was their Miami Weiss (the correct German pronunciation is ‘vice’), a wheat beer.

Great Lakes Brewing has a line of beers that are available all year long, plus seasonals.  Many of these are award winners.

Some of their brews are available in cans, some in bottles, as well as on tap at local pubs.  Their tasting room is the store front where they sell their beers, t-shirts, logo glasses, etc.  They are very happy to have you try their beer, but unlike most tasting rooms we’ve been to, it is not a place to sit and relax with a beer.  They also participate in events like Toronto Beer Week.

You can learn more about Great Lakes Brewing at their website:  http://www.greatlakesbeer.com.  We had additional photos in our album.

Please note that there is another Great Lakes Brewing Co. located in Cleveland, OH.  They are not related.

Original post August 14, 2012

Wolf Hills Brewing Co., Abingdon, VA

Wolf Hills Brewing is Abingdon’s very own craft brewery.  We were introduced to it by friends who live in the area, and had a wonderful time there.  The brewery is about two years old and has just changed out their head brewer.  The new one is Drake Scott, who has experience in England as well as with Stone Brewing in Escondido, California (one of our favorites).

The brews here are amazing!  We sampled all ten of the brews they had available on tap, and they were all very good.  Eight of the ten were outstanding.  The brewery is located in an old frame building and the tasting room has a rustic look.  It is small but comfortable.  The brewery is a bit off the beaten path, but worth seeking out.

While there we took the tour with the head brewer.  We also spent a little time talking to the bar maids, Erica and Molly, who were very nice.

Wolf Hills is a brewery with a great future.  At this time they do not serve food, but they do allow you to bring in your own snacks.  Hopefully at some point they will start serving food.  If our experience is any indicator of what to expect if they do serve food, it will be good.  They have glasses, t-shirts and growlers available for purchase.

You can visit their website at http://wolfhillsbrewing.com/main.php/main.php

                   Enjoying our beer samplers (left to right) Susan Stone, Joyce Bassham, Burt Bassham, Harry Stone

Original post August 15, 2012

Mother’s Brewing Co., Springfield, MO

Mother’s Brewing Company is located in an old building that started out as a bottling plant, morphed into a bakery, and finally came full circle to become a brewery.  The brewery is located in downtown Springfield at the intersection of Grant and Walnut.

Mother’s has a tasting room only, which has some homey touches, such as this lamp.

Mother’s brews a wide variety of beers, from blonde to wheat, to IPAs and darker beers.  We sampled several beers and settled on a half-pint each of Troublemaker, a wonderful double IPA and the Black Cherry Sherry Thang, a beer that was aged in sherry casks, and was a fruit happening.

The server who helped us was clearly knowledgeable about the beers and gave us samples based on our stated interests.  The atmosphere in the tasting room is pleasant, plus there is a yard area with several picnic tables.

The tasting room has limited hours, from Wednesday through Friday, and Saturday.  We were disappointed that we were not able to visit a second time.  We do plan to go back when we return to Springfield.

You can visit Mothers’ website at http://www.mothersbrewing.com.  There are additional photos in the album.

Original post August 15, 2012

Laughing Sun Brewing Co., Bismarck, ND

Our summer road trip has turned into sort of a national brewpub crawl, as we are interested in finding as much good craft beer as we can.  Because of this we opted to spend a night in Bismarck and try out Laughing Sun Brewing Co.  It is located in the very pleasant downtown area, and easily recognizable from its logo.

The pub was a little more than a year old at the time of our visit.  At any one time they have a nice selection of different types of beer, so there is something to suit every taste.  When we visited they had three wheat beers, including apricot and strawberry, a porter, a stout, an IPA, and our favorite: Sinister Pear.  Sinister Pear is a Belgian style beer that comes up with a pear flavor even though that fruit never got anywhere near the brewing process.  The beer is a perfect example of the magic a brewer can perform with some basic ingredients.

The sampler we ordered had six beers; the only one we skipped was the strawberry wheat, but later had a chance to taste that when one of our table mates ordered it.

Laughing Sun does not serve food.  However, they do allow you to bring in your own food, and the pizza place next door delivered pizzas to several customers while we were there.

The night of our visit the live music was by a local band called Lost Horses, which was really quite nice.  Their music had a country flavor to it, and the band even included an acoustic guitar.  They have a good sound.  Laughing Sun supports local artists of all kinds.

Apparently we must have been so excited about trying the beers that we managed not to take a photo of our sampler.  The only beer photo we have is the Sinister Pear, shown here.

For us, the experience at Laughing Sun was so good that they are an excellent reason to make Bismarck a destination on our travels.  We wish them great success in their business and their brewing adventures.

Laughing Sun has a website at http://laughingsunbrewing.com.  There are additional photos in the album.

Original visit August 3, 2013

Hi-Wire Brewing Co.

We saw Hi-Wire Brewing as we drove into Asheville’s downtown area.  After dinner at Wicked Weed we decided to walk over and check out Hi-Wire.  This small place is their original brewery, which is now a small-batch brewery.  The brewery has grown so much in the three years they’ve been open that they had to open a larger brewery.

Hi-Wire is a very casual, open place, with a few tables and a small bar.  We enjoyed the beers we tried, and the atmosphere was pleasant.  We would be interested in further checking out their brews.

The other location also has a tap room.  The one we went to was the Hilliard Street location.  You can find more information at their website: https://hiwirebrewing.com/

And there are more photos in this album.

Tin Man

Tin Man (2)

We have been driving past Tin Man for months after finding out about it, and finally stopped in to have a beer.  There are a couple of locations; the one we visited is on Zaragosa Road in far east El Paso.  We visited somehwat before 4:00 PM on a week day, and found the place empty except for Amanda, who was working there.  

From the beer list on the wall, it appears that all their beers/ciders are Texas brewed, including brews from some of the local breweries.  As of this writing they have 29 taps.  Amanda was happy to give us samples of anything we wanted to try.  We chose our beers and had a seat at one of the two long tables.  The seating at our table was stools atop kegs; the seating at the other table was benches made of snowboards on sawhorses.

Other people came in while we were enjoying our beers, and they all seemed to be friendly.

When we want to enjoy a casual Texas beer, we will definitely return to Tin Man.  It was a very pleasant experience.

There are additional photos in the Tin.

Sweet T's, Duck, North Carolina

Sweet T’s is right on the Duck Road (Hwy 12), easy to get to, and within easy walking distance from our house.  I think we first discovered it in the summer of 2015 and visited weekly in the summer of 2016.  Sweet T’s is a coffee shop, which also sells wine and a few food items, plus bottled beer.  They have a few taps and do a weekly “steal the glass” day.  They have a few tables inside, a small bar area, and a few outdoor tables.

The atmosphere is friendly, and we always enjoy the time we spend there.  If you are looking for a good selection of bottled beers or wine, Sweet T’s is the place to go.

There are more photos in this album.

© Susan L. Stone 2015                   rovingstones@me.com