Clifford Brewing Co.
398 Nash Road, Hamilton ON.
The worldwide web is a wild and wonderful place that can bring people together as easy as it can split them apart. The internet unites people with common interests and can provide them a sense of community and a social outlet they may have not had before. Whatever it is you’re into or collect there’s an online community of likeminded people for you. Just for example, if you like to dress up your cats like Harry Potter characters putting tiny little wands in their paws and casting spells…..so far I'm alone on that one.
You see, I love Las Vegas, almost obsessively so and I’ve become intertwined with a large online community of Vegas lovers just like me. Some can identify a particular casino using just a couple squares inches of its carpet (I am one of these, yes I am seeking help). And sometimes within these communities you build a friendship with someone whom you share multiple obsessions with. Sometimes they even live within driving distance. This is how I met Donny, aka @BeerStoreDude on twitter and fellow beer blogger. Check out his awesome beer blog HERE.
I’d see pictures of this long haired guy in downtown Vegas, tall cup of an West Coast IPA in hand, sporting an Ontario craft brewery t-shirt and having the time of his life. I knew we would be friends. Don’s the type of guy that doesn’t seem to let the world get to him, is effortlessly cool and radiates positivity. Seeing pictures of him and his son David might be the best thing online.
In March of 2020, Donny and I, along with a crew of Vegas vloggers were set to meet in Sin City. This is until the US borders were closed a mere day before our flights. Instead, I extended an invitation for a beer somewhere between where he and I live. He gave me the honour, and of course I chose Hamilton’s Clifford Brewing Co.
My wife and I first visited Clifford Brewing Co. in October of 2019 on our way to a wedding in Niagara. We had a great time sipping through a few flights while I quietly racked up crokinole wins as she talked smack. We were treated so well that afternoon by the staff, and owner Brad even took some time with us for a chat. A good first impression can work wonders to create lifelong fans.
Brad Clifford got his start in 2009 through home brewing of course, and an award winning home brewer at that. Brad established Clifford Brewing Co. in 2015. But before opening the doors to the popular Hamilton brewery, he first contract brewed two of his most popular recipes: Pinball Wizard APA and the famed Clifford Porter. By the fall of 2017, Brad was already brewing his own beers in his new East Hamilton location. Shortly thereafter the taproom opened to the public and became highly regarded in the Ontario craft beer scene.
Pulling up to 398 Nash Road, the unassuming exterior features a spacious patio occupying a piece of front parking lot. As you step inside the front door, you realize this place is huge! 10,000 square feet of taproom and brewery goodness, feeling even larger with the industrial height ceilings. Check out the interior shots in the gallery below (11 pics, the next picture arrow is camouflaged on the right hand side of the image.
The taproom features well spread out tables and would be comfortable even on a busy weekend night. Regular and long community tables supported by barrels invite customers to get to know each other, as we did this day. The bar and tap wall seem to stretch forever and I would have loved to be able to pull up a stool there. This is a brewery designed to hang out in with pinball machines, darts, board games and a live music stage complete with a Clifford branded drum set. You’ll notice the pinball machine is Wizard themed! Which came first, the APA or the machine?
You won’t find succulents on the tables or barnboard feature walls here. You can give your skinny jeans and button downs a rest for the night, Clifford Brewing is a come as you are kind of place.
I thought this was a beer blog… get to the Beer!
Clifford is one of my trusted breweries, whatever they are brewing, I’m buying. Standouts on this visit was the Artificial Paradise IPA, Chain Link Vienna and of course the Porter. For those of you who prefer lighter styles their East Hamilton lager is an excellent choice.
Artificial Paradise IPA – Tropical aromas of pineapple and citrus. Flavours of melon, pineapple, grapefruit and a solid pine bitterness. Absolutely love the big tropical flavours in this IPA, grab some at the brewery or keep an eye for it on LCBO shelves. You will like it.
Porter – This award winning Porter has aromas of deep roasted malts and coffee. Flavours of light roast coffee, cocoa and bittersweet chocolate. A beautifully balanced stout that is dark and roasty yet full of hop flavour.
East Hamilton Lager – A well-made lager that has some nice bready malt flavours and a noble hop bitterness throughout the sip. Very clean and crisp.
Coconut Pineapple and Lime Sour –An interesting sour with aromas of lime citrus and light coconut. Pineapple sweetness and roasted coconut flavours with a slightly sour finish.
The Crusher Light Lager – A clean and crisp with a light bready flavour, approachable bitterness and dry finish.
Devils Punchbowl ISL – Lighter bodied IPA that still packs big citrus aromas and flavours of grapefruit and light pineapple.
Chain Link Vienna Lager – I absolutely love a Vienna lager and Clifford’s does not disappoint. Nice toasted malt and light toffee aroma with flavours of caramel cut by the noble hop bitterness to a crisp slightly sweet finish.
We happily whiled away the afternoon getting to know each other and waxing poetic about past Vegas trips and our cherished Ontario craft breweries. We stayed until the last minute we could. A return trip to Vegas wasn’t in the cards anytime soon. But in that moment talking with Donny, who has his feet in the Vegas and Ontario Beer community. I felt like I was reconnecting with the social group that I missed while opening up to all new social group.
Thank you to Donny for the great conversation. And thank you to Clifford Brewing for providing a great place to meet new friends while enjoying some of the best craft beer Ontario has to offer.
Stay positive and drink good beer