Fixed Gear Brewing Co.
20 Alma St S. Guelph Ontario
I'm out of office on a Monday and scouring brewery hours online cursing the word ‘closed’ over and over. McGoo, this isn’t all about you: brewery employees need days off too! But nothing cures a case of the Mondays like having your wife drive you around to drink beer. The lack of open local breweries gave us opportunity to expand our horizons and venture into lands unknown, like Guelph Ontario. Which apparently is full of Monday beer drinkers. I have lived in Ontario my entire life but have spent very little time in the KWCG region other than a few hazy nights spent partying with U of G friends. It’s a beautiful place to live but I can never quite grasp whether I am in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge or Guelph, or if it really matters when you have a locally made craft beer in your hand.
Lucky for us, one of the breweries on my short list to visit happened to be open that day. We hoped in the car and set the GPS for Fixed Gear Brewing Co. A perfect place to enjoy the patio we've been seeing on Instagram visit while the weather was still warm. Oddly, both breweries we'd visit today in Guelph were bicycle themed. Here is what we know at this point: I am not good at geography, and Guelphites are big Monday drinkers to which breweries subtly remind them to ride their bikes home.
Fixed Gear was founded by Mike Oosterveld in 2018 and now has two locations in Guelph, 20 Alma St S and the newly opened 355 Elmira Rd N. The Elmira Road location was once home to the defunct StoneHammer Brewing. Its popular Dark Ale continues to be brewed at Fixed Gear. We visited the Alma St location in heart of Guelph’s Junction Neighbourhood. It’s my understanding that a junction is a term for the meeting of two or more railroad tracks. But I’m a beer blogger not a train engineer and certainly should not be operating a train...I’ve been drinking.
The dark grey corner building affixed with the eye catching orange logo is unassuming at first but reveals itself as a really cool spot. The outside the brewery is highlighted by branded airstream trailers and a picture worthy vintage Land Rover. The smaller Airstream acts as a coffee shop during select times. From the entrance you can see the tanks and the back bar welcoming you. As you walk through the overhead garage door, past the retail you come to center of the brewery. The small bar with taps and overhead menu to your slight left and a wall of tanks to your right.
If you look through the shiny tanks like parting jungle palms to see an exotic land, you’ll find guest seating set up right in the middle of the production area. As a craft beer nerd there is something special about being immersed in the creation of your favourite beverage. I felt at home amongst the tanks and didn’t want to leave. It got a bit awkward when they caught me blowing up my air mattress.
Then you see the patio, a jaw dropping space with all things trendy. The lush green astro turf, suitable for a midafternoon nap, is surrounded by an elevated wood deck with patio tables. The space is encapsulated by the Airsteam trailers and a converted shipping container. The overhead sun shade casts a cool orange glow across the white patio chairs. The combination of green turf, vintage accents and wood reminded me instantly of a modern Jungle Room that would have made Elvis proud.
The service we received was excellent and we shared great conversation about the history of Fixed Gear and the region’s craft beer patio scene. For which Fixed Gear takes the award.
Now that's a patio! But tell us about the beer!
I enjoyed 8 of 9 offerings on tap at Fixed Gear skipping the Hat Trick light lager (beer list in gallery below). Stand outs were the Dutch Blonde Classic Ale, the Peloton Pilsner and the Cherry Training Wheels Sour. We enjoyed all the styles, next time we return I’d love to see a big West Coast IPA or DIPA but then again we don’t want customers falling off their bikes. Dutch Blonde Ale – Sweet cereal aroma, with a light bready body with a hint of honey and grassy hoppiness. An excellent blonde ale. Peloton Pilsner – Light baked bread and straw aroma with a perfect bread crust sweetness and lasting noble hop dry finish. Should have bought more of this! Fixie Citra IPA – Aromas of tangerine and grapefruit. Assertive grapefruit bitterness that smoothed to a nice sweet tangerine finish. Stone Hammer Dark Ale – A recipe from the defunct StoneHammer Brewery. Toffee and light roast coffee nose with tastes of light caramel and chocolate with a banana bread finish. Hill Climb Grisette – Pepper floral aroma and tastes of lightly sweetened dry white wine with a peppery corn chip finish. Breakaway IPA – Clementine citrus nose, light peach and mango with a ruby red grapefruit bitterness. Trackstand APA – Citrus nose, a bit of ripe orange dank and grapefruit pith bitterness. Cherry Training Wheels Sour –Fermented cherry aromas and tartness with bright tastes of a unsweetened cherry pie pastry crust. A really enjoyable sour!
We loved everything about Fixed Gear Brewing Co. and are eagerly awaiting a return visit. They have done a exceptional job transforming an industrial side lot into a stylish yet inviting patio. Next time we shall do as Guelphites do: Chase away those Mondays by tipping back a pint or 5 and take the hint to pedal home.