Following the success of last year’s inaugural Muskoka Craft Brewery Driving Tour, David and Lucy Adams hosted the event in August 2023. The drive was changed quite a bit and ran a reverse route to the previous drive. Feedback from the first running provided some helpful suggestions including a later start time to better align with the craft brewery opening times.
As with the premise established for this tour, we stopped at five different craft breweries and every car received a sealed can of beer and two at the final brewery. At the end of the drive every car had a unique six pack of beer to take home. Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge provided the cardboard carriers.
Despite the ever-changing weather this year we were fortunate to have a picture perfect day full of sun and fun. The day started at Couchiching Craft Brewing Co. in Orillia where we enjoyed a delicious lunch and got to know each other and reviewed the plan for the drive. The first beer was selected and added to the take home case. Off we went to enjoy the wonderful driver’s roads of Severn and Muskoka. The first leg took us north through 65 km of lush forests and roads that entertained in ways that brought smiles to Porsche enthusiasts and their seat mates. After winding through the wonders of Torrance Barrens Dark-Sky Preserve we arrived at Clear Lake Brewing Co. and Muskoka BeerSpa in Torrance.
After selecting our second to-go beverage we headed further north with sun shining, roofs open and tops down with the wind whistling by and the passing lakes sparkled. The route took us through Bala, the Cranberry Capital of Ontario, and past Lake Muskoka. Through Foot’s Bay and Gordon Bay, over the top of the lake and down through Rousseau where the beauty of the area continued to delight. On through Minett where the luxurious JW Marriott Muskoka Resort & Spa on Lake Rosseau pampers guests and delights all their senses. On through Port Sandfield, Port Carling, and the Touchstone Resort to our third stop at Katalyst Brewing Co. in Bracebridge.
After two long legs of the tour, almost two hours and 180 km, it was time for a stretch, some cold water and cookies (yes, David and Lucy had a cooler in their frunk). It was great to spend some more time-sharing experiences and getting to know each other better. It was nice to hear that everyone was enjoying the roads and weather. After selecting our next craft beer and spending some time together it was off to brewery number four. Just a short drive to Muskoka Brewery, also in Bracebridge. Muskoka Brewery is a going concern with a large brewing capacity and a new distillery. A nice vibe and friendly staff added to the experience. We selected our can of beer and spent a few moments enjoying the patio and outdoor beauty.
After another short leg we arrived at our last craft brewery of the tour in Gravenhurst. Sawdust City Brewing Co. always has an excellent selection of craft beer as well as a tap room and outdoor patio. To complete your six packs, two beers were selected by each of the cars’ occupants. By all accounts a good time was had by all and we shared some warm goodbyes as most folks were on their way whence they came. For those that stayed behind, we enjoyed some food and refreshments on the patio. Such a nice group of people we had the pleasure of sharing the day with. A few couples even stayed overnight at the Marriott Residence Inn on the Muskoka Wharf in Gravenhurst to wind down and enjoy the area.
Encouraged by the feedback and success of the day we hope this driving tour will be on the calendar for 2024. </>
By David Adams