Craft beer has exploded in Ottawa and so has the number of amazing places that serve it. We’ve done our best to list what we think are the best places in the Ottawa-area (and surrounding) to visit for a good beer experience, but there are a handful of special locales that are a step above the others. It might be because of the location, board games, and atmosphere; or maybe they just have an extensive tap list and an awesome bottle list to back it up.
Wherever you go you’re going to find some amazing local brews and people who are as passionate (if not more) about beer as you. To help you get to know these spots and what makes them so special, we’ll be featuring one per week.
While Ottawa may have several great 'watering holes' there are few restaurants that take beer as seriously as Brothers Beer Bistro. With a tap list featuring the best of the locals with some of Ontario's best, Belgian imports and even the occasional American craft beer, fans will have a hard time deciding on a single pint. Let's not forget the food - with wonderful savoury creations by Chef Darren Flowers or decadent desserts by pastry Chef Adrienne Courey, all made with a wonderful beer-y spin. To learn more about this gem in Ottawa's Byward Market, we chatted with Brothers Beer Bistro's resident blogger, Kristin Perrin.
Ottawa Beer Events: Can you tell us a little about yourself and Brothers Beer Bistro?
Kristin Perrin (Brothers Beer Bistro): Brothers Beer Bistro is serious about Beer. When we started this project, we had one goal in mind; to showcase how awesome beer can be – on its own and with food. We love drinking it and have always suffered less than ideal locations to enjoy this tasty beverage. We thought, “why can’t we enjoy delicious beer in a place that we’d also like to eat?”. The answer was simple.
People’s perception of beer can be negative or skewed (although thankfully, that is slowly changing). It is too often perceived as a simple drink, or one better suited to nachos and chicken wings. Don’t get us wrong, we enjoy those as much as the next guy or gal, but we truly believed that there was need for a place which creates sophisticated yet comforting Bistro food- both paired and cooked with beer. We are by no means reinventing the wheel here at Brothers, but we do what we love and hopefully people feel the same!
As craft beer comes into the spotlight more and more, people are becoming adventurous and trying things that they’ve never had before. We are a destination where the beer guru and the beer initiate can consume side by each. They can have a great time enjoying beer while learning more about the craft beer world and its affinity with food pairing. Our staff is knowledgeable, but not pushy or snobby about it. We want to discover beer together and learn everything there is to know.
We have 16 rotating taps, 1 weekly cask and over 80 bottles from around the world. You won’t find any national generic brands like ‘Molson Canadian’ on our list. Not to take anything away from them, but they don’t showcase styles very well and we really want to highlight each style at its best- at least our opinion of “best”.
What makes BBB different from other restaurants/pubs?
A lot of places boast a great beer list but often lack the depth and diversity to represent multiple styles and illustrate them well. This is what separates us from most restaurants out there.
Brothers goes beyond the beer list. Our food is more elevated than pub fare because we want people to see that beer is very versatile and pairs extremely well with food, arguably more so than wine. We also have a fantastic chef with a great appreciation for beer and the artistry that goes into making it. He puts thought and care into incorporating beer in our menu.
Is it hard to incorporate beer into a food menu?
Everything on our menu has beer in it. Be it a component from the brewing process or beer itself you will find something in there. It was tricky at first, but we have so many different beers to play with and there’s always something new to try. Just remember hops get hoppier when cooked and malts get more intensely flavoured. So, if you have an intensely dark malty beer (like Péché Mortel) don’t cook it down too much or it’ll taste like your Grandmother’s 9 hours on the burner pot of coffee.
What's the rarest bottle of beer on your bottle menu? Have you tried it?
We have had the Westvleteren 12 and 8. Both considered to be some of the rarest brews. We currently only have the 8 available. We have indeed tried them and they are delicious. If memory serves me well it pours a dark brown with a cream head. Strong aroma of roasted malts, dark fruits (raisins and dates), honey, and chocolate. With great heat from the alcohol but very balanced.
On the note of rare beers the Samuel Adams Utopias was just released… Not saying we will have it here at the restaurant but not saying we won’t…. and we’ll leave it at that!
What's next for Brothers Beer Bistro?
The same thing we do every night… try and take over the world, one craft beer at a time! All jokes aside we just want to keep on course and showcasing beer to the best of our abilities. We will keep sampling new beers (tough job I know) and expanding our list while making it more compelling for everyone that comes through the doors. That being said we will be hosting food and beer dinners every month starting in January so- stay tuned!
Canadian Craft Beer Day is November 30, celebrate it with a beer and food pairing at Brothers Beer Bistro or simply spend some time at the bar browsing their beer list. You can follow Brothers Beer Bistro on Twitter (@brosbeerbistro), Facebook (Brothers Beer Bistro) or check out their informative beer blog.
We'll be featuring a bar/resto/pub every Friday for the next couple of weeks – check back to see where you should be drinking (and eating!).