Cape Breton Breweries
Cape Breton Breweries
Recently, we had the honour of visit Cape Breton – TWICE in one week! Yes, a lot of driving. One of our highlights was visiting breweries during the NS Craft Beer Open Houses where we were led on delightful tours with delicious beer. Our three breweries were Big Spruce, Breton Brewing and Route 19.
I think our favourite was Big Spruce.. and there is a very funny story with this.
We walked in, and they weren’t actually doing brewery tours.. They did them during the week vs the weekend so that Matt, brewer extraordinaire, would be there. However, when I seemed even a sliver disappointed, Bob quickly made our day. We had walked over to the benches to enjoy our beers and our fries when Bob runs over and says that if I wanted a true technical tour, THEY WOULD CALL MATT IN!!! But if I wanted a fun exploring tour, Bob would do it. Now, my heart was absolutely full that he spent so much time going out of his way for me. We quickly went on tour with Bob. A few fun facts about Big Spruce, they are certified organic and just to work in the retail side, you need to have a brewers course. They want you to be able to explain everything.. which is so honourable.
Another highlight – Bob brought us in the back where there were kegs and kegs of beer.. bad beer. Bob told us that Jeremy (co owner), would never make anyone pay for beer that he / his staff wouldn’t drink themselves. My. Heart. Is. So. Happy. I can’t even write about all of the amazing things that Jeremy and Melanie have done. For their staff to go out of their way to tell stories about how honourable their employers are, definitely says something about their character. (I also heard that if you had too much to drink in the summer, Jeremy and Melanie would let you camp in the back.. as long as you were gone by 10 AM.. I mean what a stand up couple.)
I don't think I've been to a brewery in my life where the staff were SO HAPPY, personally and professionally. I would highly recommend, a detour, a sunday drive, etc. Just get here!
Breton Brewing was great. They had their maple beer and pumpkin beer still on tap so we were able to enjoy a few fall beers. They rimmed the pumpkin glass with cinnamon.. what a cute and delicious touch. Their staff were really nice, and helpful choosing flight flavours. The tables were GORGEOUS long and real wood. I definitely enjoyed our time here, everyone was just having a blast and it seemed like everyone knew everybody. Definitely nice vibes, would 100% go back. I wish I would have been chatted with a bit more about the history or the owners or something, but was still a great experience. We did visit this brewery on Sunday vs the Saturday so it was a lot quieter and the person pouring the flights was a bit busy with so many people but her customer service levels were definitely high.
Route 19 was the brewery we were originally very excited to go to.. However, it was the most disappointing on the trip and one of the most informative at the same time. The venue is STUNNING, great views, clean and crisp.
We booked a reservation but ended up being there about.. 10 minutes early. We sat down but it took 10 minutes for anyone to come take our drink orders.. DESPITE being one of 3 groups already there (they were all served already). We ordered our food with our drink order because it took so long. I do need to note that there was about 5 or 6 people behind the bar laughing, joking and literally pushing each other around.. One girl was dressed casually on her macbook behind the bar laughing with them.. and it took that long to be served.
The wings were really good, they had great flavour, could have been a little crispier but nevertheless, still delicious. The nachos, were another story. They didn’t have chicken like we asked so we had asked the waitress if we could have chicken. She said “well.. would you like it on a plate or?” and without letting me respond, she ROLLED HER EYES (insert 50 clap emojis) and took my nachos. I WAS FLOORED. About 3 minutes later she brought back the same nachos with tiny processed cut up pieces of chicken on top. Please note, the addition of chicken was 7$... The staff made me think that they did not want to be there at all and we were actually a bother. I was not impressed, especially with the amount of eye rolling we received. Definitely left a sour taste in my mouth for the rest of the afternoon.
The brewery tour was really what saved it for me. Dallas was knowledgeable, kind and hilarious. However, the lack of communication in the restaurant made me realize quickly why Dallas was the only brewer. He is an absolute well oiled machine and I was honoured to have learned from him and see his passion.
All in all, if you visit Cape Breton, I would highly recommend you visit Big Spruce or Breton Brewing. I would definitely skip out on Route 19 unless you are buying retail and passing through, I wouldn't go out of my way to go there again.. Our detour was not worth the time, or the money.