Muskoka Beercation Day 1: Barrie and Beyond
If someone special came into your life that was smart, kind, funny and most importantly had great taste in beer… you'd put a ring on it wouldn't you? Well 10 years ago that’s exactly what my wife did! To celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary we booked a three night Spring getaway to the new Muskoka BeerSpa...but then came another lockdown. So we called the nice people at Muskoka Beerspa and rebooked our trip for October to enjoy the beautiful fall colours. This much needed getaway gave us a great opportunity to enjoy some time together and of course check out the breweries in Barrie and the Muskokas.
This beercation will be broken up into three blog posts covering all three days and 7 craft breweries! As you read through, you may ask yourself “Did they do anything but go to breweries?” and the answer is yes…we also went to a winery. But you came here to read about craft beer and breweries, not wineries or hiking. Which is good because we didn’t do any hiking either. I always say "half the fun is in getting there' so of course we had to hit a few breweries along the way!
107 Dunlop St E. Barrie ON.
You can't miss Flying Monkey’s colourful and unique can designs at the LCBO. Now imagine walking into one of these designs… this is the Flying Monkey’s taproom and brewpub. The interior of the taproom was so much more interesting than I had imagined, it’s incredibly fun and eclectic. The entire interior is decorated with colourful patterns, neon lettering, license plates and Flying Monkey’s history plaques. There is just so much to take in, we loved it!
We were seated in a corner booth and felt like we had our own private taproom enclave. The booth was complete with its very own light switch that lets your server know when you need another beer, talk about luxury! Even a trip to the washroom is an adventure as you pass a viewing window into their testing lab. I think I'd make a great lab assistant and could definitely help with all those samples.
Flying Monkey’s certainly pushes the envelope on styles and flavour combinations, so their beer can be hit or miss depending on your tastes. We shared two flights covering 8 different brews and each one was a hit for us. Stand outs were their Theatre of Madness Pumpkin Lager and Psycho Thriller DIPA. Their IPAs were much more flavourful and fresh on draught than from the shelves of the LCBO. The staff was awesome, and challenged us to identify which pumpkin beer was the Theatre of Madness lager or the Paranormal Imperial Pumpkin ale. This was no match for us pumpkin beer lovers (check out our Pumpkin Beer shootout Blog here). Flying Monkeys cannot be missed, literally. Check out the picture gallery below (find the little black arrow > to navigate the gallery)
431 Bayview, Barrie ON
Sometime ago, I had won an Instagram contest from Redline Brewhouse, and when they delivered the beer they just threw in some extra for me to try, how cool is that! So I said if I ever found myself in Barrie, I’d make a pitstop at Redline and return the favour. We arrived shortly after opening on a Wednesday afternoon and had the place to ourselves to explore. The taproom is enormous with high ceilings, plentiful seating and even second floor balcony seating that overlooks the whole operation. Redline Brewhouse is more than a brewery and taproom, they also serve a full house made food menu.
The taproom is lined with interesting art and design touches to carry the classic car and racing theme throughout. We jumped into seats at the bar and put the pedal to the floor with a couple of flights. I’ve ordered beermail from Redline and it was delivered less than 24 hours later, they drive fast! Their beer is very well made with a great selection of styles at reasonable prices. Our personal favourites are their Moonlight on Chrome session IPA and the Echo Imperial Stout. Use the > to browse the picture gallery below.
4651 Southwood Road, Torrance, Muskoka, ON.
We arrived at the Muskoka Beer Spa in Torrance Ontario after a beautiful drive from Barrie. We were checked in quick and easy at Clear Lake Brewery and given keys to a 3 bedroom cottage. A quick drive around the corner and we were parked at Cabin #24 at the top of the hill. Muskoka Beer Spa consists of a collection of two and three bedroom cottages that surround the ‘spa’ amenities. Spa amenities include a pool, hot tub, change rooms and a variety of saunas. In addition, you can book a massage on the beach with views of Clear Lake. Unfortunately the pools and saunas were closed during our stay. We knew this when we booked as they were still putting the finishing touches on the property. Turn on the volume and allow Mrs. McGoo to give you a guided tour of the cabin:
The cabin was comfortable with everything you need including a full sized fridge, microwave, kettle, and all linens and pillows. The kitchen comes stocked with coffee, snacks and pastries are delivered each morning. And did I forget to mention your own beer tap? You can arrange for the delivery of a keg from Clear Lake Brewing and be able to pour your own pints in the comfort of your cabin. The two story cabins do lack a private deck or patio to hang out on, if this is important to you, request one of the older one story cabins.
Each cabin is equipped with a VCR and a huge selection of VHS tapes. I couldn’t wait to see what classic titles awaited our viewing pleasure. It was like the glory days of going to Blockbuster and trying to find the cheesiest horror movie... or the one with the most nudity. As we perused the titles, we could help but see a concerning theme. If the first movies you saw had these titles, wouldn't you be concerned? Death Day, Happy Death Day, Today You Die, Day of Death, Death Cabin, Death Cabin Part Deux, Mary-Kate and Ashley's Island Adventure.
We cracked a couple beers, and took a walk through the property to see the beautiful and aptly named Clear Lake. Afterwards we headed to Clear Lake Brewing for a couple flights and a pizza. I'll detail Clear Lake Brewing in an upcoming beercation blog post. What an incredible first day to our beercation, the drive was easy and the vacation beers delicious. We wrapped up our night with the Kevin Bacon classic movie Pyrates, if you’ve never heard of it… it’s because it’s terrible.
Stay tuned as the next blog post will include a video tour of the resort and brewery visits to Sawdust City and Muskoka Brewery.
Stay positive and drink good beer.