It was a rainy day in October when my husband and I determined that our apple picking adventure in Bowmanville might not come to (I apologize in advance for this, please keep reading past this pun) fruition. Luckily, I had already booked us a second outing at Manantler Craft Brewing Co. just in case our day trip went a little sideways or we needed to warm up with something a little, well, hoppier than hot chocolate after our adventure.
Manantler is a tiny brewery, even by craft brewery standards, in Bowmanville, Ontario. In fact, the entire tour takes place in one room, is about 30 minutes long and is hosted by one of the four owners. But don’t let its small size fool you. The experience is cool, informative and leaves you rooting for the success of these four owners who quit their day jobs to pursue the quest of adulting on their own terms. If you’re not convinced yet, they give you beer samplings before the tour, and you’re welcome to bring your beer with you into the brew lab. How great is that?
Manantler has five or six regular beers on tap and available at select locations. My favourite is their Clown Punch and my husband’s is Uncle Jim’s Mild, which tasted stronger, but only had about 3.5% alcohol content. Perfect since we ended up spending almost the entire afternoon there.
Aside from their regular assortment of beer, Manantler creates special or seasonal brews, all with clever and fun names - Drinko de Mayo and Sea of Cowards being a couple of examples. Along with the inventive names and fantastic labels, almost all of which are designed by Canadian artist Rachel Riordan, these craft brewers love to experiment with different ingredients, not normally associated with beer yet somehow work to bring unique flavours to their brand. In the colder months, for example, they offer a chocolate mint beer that infuses cocoa nibs, chocolate malt and mint leaves. In the past year-and-a-half since Manantler opened its doors, they’ve created about 60 different brews.
did my husband and I end up spending almost an entire Sunday afternoon at a
brewery about the size of a one-room school house? Well, two of the four owners
are in a band and they performed shortly after our tour ended. And guess what?
They were good. Like, really good. The band is called
Billiard Blossom, and it has kind of a Johnny Cash meets Blue Rodeo
vibe. Here’s them offering an interesting cover of Modern English’s
I’ll Melt With You,
although I will say that most of their songs were a little more upbeat, and
there seemed to be a folksy feel to some songs, and a country feel to others.
After an afternoon well spent, we did make a final Bowmanville stop at Watson Farms, where we bought some pre-picked apples, strawberries, radishes and even a candy apple or two, which we ate from the warmth and comfort of our vehicle, while we watched a couple of roaming goats run up and down a hill.
All-in-all a Sunday well spent. If you’re going to be in or
around the Bowmanville area, please don’t miss the Manantler Brewery and at
least a quick stop at Watson Farms!