I finally made my way to Gravenhurst’s Sawdust City brewery smack dab in the middle of Muskoka, Ontario this fall more than a year after it opened up shop in August, 2014.
The brewery is located in the charming small town’s main street business area close to the waterfront and across the street from a tasty new restaurant called North. It looks to be a major operation with a large retail store, as well as what they’ve dubbed a saloon — no food, but there is a food truck outside serving up some tasty vittles should you require sustinence.
There is room to grow, and it looks as though expansion is afoot. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an expanded food operation similar to the many “brew pubs” that have opened up in recent years. The saloon features a beautiful and massive, live-edge bar apparently made from an old pine tree. It’s a beauty.
The name is steeped in history, both as a result of the logging that took place in the region as well as it being the former name of the town itself.
Sawdust City offers up five core brands led by its Lone Pine IPA, named 2014 best beer in Ontario by the Ontario Craft Beer Association. And, it’s awfully tasty. Like a traditional IPA, there is plenty of big and beautiful hops upfront, but there is also the tangy, spicy wallop of pine that sets this tasty beverage apart.
Other standards include the Golden Beach Pale Ale, an ideal summer sipper with a fine touch of citrus sure to be a prominent part of cottage docks for the foreseeable future as well as a nutty and delicious Ol’ Woody Alt and a Skinny Dippin’ Stout, which is a traditional oatmeal stout.
Brewmaster Sam Corbeil is cooking up some of the finest craft beers in Ontario, and seems to be set on not following the well-worn path, which is a nice change of pace in the increasingly crowded marketplace. Definitely worth the trip.