Last week I was working out of Barrie, ON while my wife was completing some training. Naturally, I decided to check out the craft brewery scene while I was there. There are three of them in Barrie: Flying Monkeys, Redline, and Barnstormer Brewing. Here’s a mini review of each spot. Note that I didn’t spend a ton of time in each place – so my reviews are based on first impressions.
A newer brewery, this one is family owned and operated and launched in mid-2015. When I first stepped in, I was impressed by the atmosphere – very large and spacious, with cool decor on the walls (barrels, what have you). The theme of this one in basic terms is cars – all of their beer is named after cars in some form, and their logo is a gear shifter. Redline’s focus seems to be on the brewhouse part – when you walk in, while there is a large store for you to buy from, I think the restaurant makes them the most money. I didn’t get the warmest of welcomes when I went in to buy beer, but still was pleasantly surprised by their 6 offerings. I haven’t tried them all yet, but they’ve got a variety of styles and definitely worth checking out.
Barnstormer Brewing Company
I felt Barnstormer had a bit more of a brewery vibe than Redline. The focus was still on the restaurant here, but their store front is – well, front and centre when you walk in. They have a large variety of beers, including many seasonals. I picked up 4 cans, but haven’t tried them yet. The staff there was helpful in answering some of my questions about their beer. I’m looking forward in particular to trying their Cirrus Saison beer. Their theme seems to be aerial in nature.
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
These guys are fun. A much smaller location compared to Redline or Barnstormer, they’re in a downtown area not far from the waterfront. As soon as I walked in, I was greeted and asked if I’d been there before. The server was really helpful with answering my beer questions, and I ended up choosing a couple of multi-brewery collaborations. They have so much more to choose from though, but probably worth another trip another time.
In summary, Barrie is about 3 and a half hours away from where I live, otherwise I would have picked one brewery and spent more time there. As it is, I think I’d make a special trip to see Flying Monkeys – but I’d just look for the other two at the LCBO.