Tis the season of giving…and some of the best gifts are ones you can sip, savour, and share.
There’s nothing like enjoying a glass of your favourite bevy with good company or gifting something special in a festive bottle bag.
These are some of the best Hamilton stops to help you find that perfect holiday gift. Cheers!
What started as an idea conceived over beer by two friends at a cottage turned into Shawn and Ed Brewing Company after a Kickstarter campaign in June 2015. Originally built in the 1860s, Shawn & Ed Brewing Company occupies the former Dundas Curling and Skating Rink. They brew “beer for adventurous mouths” in LagerShed and BarrelShed varieties.
Must try: The seasonal BarrelShed Porter, dark brown to black in colour, has subtle coffee notes, chocolate, roasted malts and vanilla. A year-round brew, BarrelShed No. 1 has consistent front to finish hopping with flavours of pine, citrus rind, nectarine and grass. Pair it with a comforting winter stew, boeuf bourguignon or pulled-pork for a fabulous meal.
Address: 65 Hatt Street, Dundas
Founded on the belief that every beer is a work of art, Collective Arts adorns its bottles with labels designed by artists and musicians selected from thousands of entries. If you scan the bottle with your smartphone, you can see the bios and work of the artists. They offer award-winning year-round beers like Rhyme and Reason and Ransack the Universe as well as seasonal brews. The brewery has a retail store and tasting room with growlers, packaged beer, and merch.
Must try: New for the season, Collective Arts is launching their Imperial IPA, Black IPA, Pear Saison Cider and an Imperial Porter. The Imperial IPA is fruity with bitter hops and flavours of berry, mango and peach. It pairs well with grilled meats, strong cheese, and salty caramel cheesecakes – great for holiday parties! Plus, a Stainless Steel growler will make any beer lover jolly.
Address: 207 Burlington Street East, Hamilton
This is a mix of yarlington mill, tremletts bitter and frequin rouge. They are traditional cider apples known as bittersweet’s and bitter-sharps and are used in a blend to add tannins and create a cleaner mouthfeel. Look out for an English style cider sometime next year #wac4life
Founded by former UK Chef Chris Haworth, Hamilton’s West Avenue Cider produces small batch ciders from local farmers and was named Best Cider in Ontario in 2014 at the first annual Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention’s Hard Cider Competition. They produce year-round staples like their Heritage Dry, using 100% Ontario Heritage Apples, plus seasonal ciders like wild blueberry cider and maple cider. Those with a more adventurous palate may enjoy innovative barrel aged and one-off cask conditioned ciders like Merlot+Cider and Smash me up Butternut squash cider.
Must try: While West Avenue Cider doesn’t sell their drinks privately, their two new ice ciders will be available to enjoy in bars and restaurants next week. Made from 2015 apples that have been fermenting for 12 months, North by West is deliciously lush, made with a heritage blend of apples and carefully spiced like apple pie. Sound delicious? Last year’s cider won gold in an international cider competition. We can understand why.
Find West Avenue Ciders in bars and restaurants across Southern Ontario
Find peach, pear and apple ciders at Puddicombe Estate Farms & Winery, home to Cider Fest and Premium Sir Isaac’s pear cider made with 100% Ontario pears. The farm harvests their own fruit like cherries, blueberries, apples and pumpkin for their ciders, wines, jellies, pies and other goodies which can be found in the Wine Retail Shop & Country Store. Cider isn’t the only treat – Puddicombe Farms started growing Vinifera grapes in 1962 and have been making wine since 1998. Now their award-winning wines come in the Gamay Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and French Colombard varieties.
Must Try: While people traditionally visit for Cider Fest in the summer or the Pumpkin Patch in the fall, winter calls for something like Puddicombe’s Admiral Dewery Rose or Marechal Foch wines, with bold berry flavours and hints of spice. They are also one of the few wineries in Ontario that make a clean, light Columbard with a slight citrus flavour.
Address: 1468 Highway #8, Stoney Creek
With years of winemaking experience in Ontario and New Zealand, Leaning Post Wines is the vineyard of Ilya Senchuk and his partner Nadia. Their name was inspired by the importance of leaning on friends and family to grow, just as grapes need to lean on posts and wires. You’ll find delightful wines like a Riesling, Chardonnay, Rose, Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah.
Must Try: The 2012 vintage Merlot is truly a classic. After 20 months in the barrel, wine connoisseurs will taste notes of blackcurrant, raspberry, cedar, blackberry and toffee, ending with a smooth, soft finish.
Address: 1491 Highway 8, Stoney Creek
Ridge Road Estate Winery makes small batch wine with care. My favourite – Call Me A Cab -is a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with cedar notes and a cheeky name. Visit this farm dating back to the 1800s to admire the views, sample treats from the gift shop, and enjoy a wine tasting experience in the tasting room. When the weather is warming, enjoy a drink on the patio with a glimpse of friendly wildlife like deer or wild turkey.
Must Try: If you love Prosecco, you’ll love the Bubbles, a light and fruity combo of Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay. For a wine that goes with everything, the 2015 Vidal is a great quality, crisp white (and it’s only $10!). Plus, their Annual Holiday Case Sale means if you buy 11 bottles, you’ll get the 12th for free. There are also wine gift packages available for the season.
Address: 1205 Ridge Road, Stoney Creek