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  • Writer's pictureMcGoo

Muskoka Beercation Day 3: Day Drinking & A Detour

The real hero of this story… is you, the reader, for hanging on as I’ve taken my sweet time writing this beercation blog. But hey, beer got in the way. In this final post I will tell the story of our last full day enjoying Muskoka BeerSpa and a slight detour on our way home. Be sure to get the full story by reading day 1 here and day 2 here. This warm fall day was all about relaxing on Clear Lake and more importantly, day drinking. Before we cracked into some beers we spent the morning cruising Clear Lake by canoe and building up a hunger for lunch at Lake of Bays Barrelhouse in Bracebridge.

Lake of Bays Bracebridge Barrelhouse

295 Wellington St. Unit 15, Bracebridge ON.

You know we don’t just drink beer, we also eat food occasionally. Before this beercation was complete we had to visit Lake of Bays Brewing. After all the driving of the past few days we decided to visit their closest location in Bracebridge for lunch and a couple flights. Lake of Bays now has three locations including the Baysville Taproom, Huntsville Brewhouse and the Bracebridge Barrelhouse. The barrelhouse definitely has more of a restaurant feel than brewery, so if you’re looking for more of a brewery feel make sure to check out their original Baysville Taphouse.

One side of the brewpub is dedicated to the brewery and you can get a great view of the entire system with wall diagrams explaining the brew process. Here I suspect they brew fresh small batch brewpub exclusives. Lake of Bays brews every style imaginable and are not afraid to experiment with new IPA styles and flavours. With 14-16 beers on tap there is absolutely a beer for everyone and the hardest part of our afternoon was narrowing down to four beers for a flight. I really enjoyed their Stand Down IPA while Mrs. McGoo loved their Starboard New England IPA, overall the beer was fresh and well made. The LoB Barrelhouse is an awesome spot to enjoy BBQ, Canadian fare and pub favourites. We decided to share the brisket nachos that were huge with tons of tender chopped brisket. We stood no chance in finishing that pile of deliciousness. Service was exceptional and very knowledgeable on styles and flavours. After experiencing the Barrelhouse I can’t wait to check out their Baysville Taproom during our next Muskoka Beercation. Use the > to browse the picture gallery below.

After returning from lunch we spent the afternoon dipping into the beers we had collected throughout the trip. This is basically how the next 4 hours played out; find a nice spot in the sun and enjoy a beer, then find another spot by the water and enjoy a beer and finally find shady spot and enjoy a beer… then happily repeat. It was a perfect afternoon spent with my wife talking about life and having some laughs. But as the afternoon turned into evening we decided we weren’t ready to retreat to the cabin for another VHS movie.

Clear Lake Brewing Co.

1006 Clear Lake Rd. Torrance, ON.

Clear Lake Brewing along with Cottage Springs are located just a short walk or stumble from the resort. The quant taproom has a rustic cabin vibe with warm wood accents and vintage Clear Lake signs and memorabilia decorating the walls. It also functions as the check in desk and general store for the Beerspa with a small selection of necessities and Muskoka souvenirs. The brewery is a bit tight as space is limited with can pallets and malt bags stacked throughout, but hey it makes it an immersive experience.

The brewery had 8 styles on tap and we were able to taste them all with our free flight coupons from check in! Our favourites were the Honey Cream Ale and Amber Ale, but the Face Plant IPA was also excellent. I found their beers to be very approachable, fresh and true to style, in other words they make beer that everyone will enjoy. Each cabin is outfitted with a two tap keg draught system, so you can have Clear Lake deliver a keg of beer right to your cabin and enjoy a weekend you’ll never remember.

Throughout the our days at Muskoka Beerspa we had made many stops for flights, pints and beers to go at Clear Lake Brewing. Our first night we ordered a pizza from Cottage Springs to enjoy in the taproom and somehow found ourselves embroiled in a rousing game of Family Feud with a bar full of locals. Each visit we had a great time soaking up the cottagey atmosphere and great service. One of the best aspects of the brewery is their awesome Biergarten with a live music stage, firepits and of course plenty of muskoka chairs. In the winter they build a huge ice rink! If you bring your kiddos, there is an expansive kids playground that they and inebriated adults will love.

See the little > ? click it to browse the picture gallery.

As mentioned, located in front of Clear Lake Brewing you will find The Cottage by Cottage Springs. This is where you can fill up on Cottage Springs Vodka sodas, flavoured vodka waters and swag. Cottage Springs also serves a full menu of apps, salads, sandwiches and their excellent pizzas. I wouldn’t say I am a beer snob, but I will fully admit to being a pizza snob. I thought Cottage Springs made a great thin crust pizza New York style pizza with some interesting topping combinations. After a solid afternoon of imbibing we happily found ourselves at The Cottage bar with a few more Clear Lake brews and a fantastic Canadiana pizza.

Final Thoughts on Muskoka Beerspa

Overall we loved it and can’t wait to return. It’s taken me longer than expected to write this blog post and our stay was actually in October of 2021 when the resort was only in soft opening mode. Currently all the spas, hot tubs and pools are open and fully operational. I loved that we didn’t have to go to the front desk for anything, other than more beer! Everything you need is either supplied in your cabin or readily available around the resort. Our cabin was comfortable and well outfitted but the living room furniture was starting to show its age. The bathroom had serious drainage issues as the floor was very soft around the toilet and sink. Under the cabin was pool of stagnate water that didn’t smell but is a love hot tub for Mosquitos. Maintenance around the cabins could be improved as I found many beer cans and other garbage around and under the cabin.

Tips for your stay at Muskoka

  • Beerspa pricing is based on per person per night and greatly varies by season.

  • Bring a flashlight. It’s very dark on the resort and I listen to too many true crime podcasts.

  • Sign up to their mailing list for discount codes and promotions.

  • Take some time to star gaze, on a clear night the star gazing is extraordinary.

  • Bring bottled water as the resorts water is non-potable.

  • Most of the cabin fridge is taken up by the keg setup so plan to bring a cooler

Quayle’s Brewing

4567 12 Line N. Coldwater, ON.

Hold on! this beercation isn’t over yet. As we neared Barrie I spotted a sign for Quayles Brewing… I seem to have a keen eye for those. I acted surprised to see a brewery so close by as if I hadn’t already planned to stop.

Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, we turned off a hilly country road into a sprawling a country estate that seemed to go on forever. We had no idea of the magnitude that is Quayle’s Brewing in Coldwater Ontario, this is a huge operation. We arrived at opening and the place was already a buzz with wedding preparations. The parking lot seemed to fill up instantaneously as did the patio. Luckily there’s overflow parking and overflow to the overflow parking. For us South Western Ontarians, it akin to Blyth’s Cowbell Brewing. There seemed to be multiple bars across the property with the main building housing the taproom that was pouring 14 beers that day. The kitchen and retail are housed in shipping containers and there is unique seating areas everywhere and anywhere!

Since we were on route home, we only had time for a flight and a bite with some beers to go. I found the beer to be excellent with the smash burger and fries decent. Inside seating was closed off so I am looking forward to revisiting and being able to enjoy a beer in their loft taproom. The building is huge and there has to be more brewery to explore. Click the > to see the gallery.

We spent our last afternoon at the Beerspa glazing into the beauty of the Muskokas realizing just how full our cups are. This was one of the best afternoons I can remember, life seemed to slow down for time so we could just talk to each other. It was quickly decided that we would love to do the trip again and be able to enjoy more of the Muskoka Beerspa. Thank you for coming along with us on our beercation, I hope that I have given this incredible region of Ontario and it’s craft breweries that call it home justice.

Stay positive and drink good beer

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