In case you missed it, Winnipeg is getting pretty good at this craft beer thing – and Winnipeg Trolley Company wants you to experience a taste of the scene. The Ale Trail Craft Brewery Tour is a delicious introduction to 3 of Winnipeg’s top breweries, set to the backdrop of our capital city’s wicked past. If you like sharing stories of days gone by over a pint or two (or three), you’ll love the Ale Trail Craft Brewery Tour. Cheers to that! 🍻
Oh my, Winnipeg does have quite the dastardly history. Known for a brazen attitude and sleazy happenings, Winnipeg was obviously the place to be in the late 1800’s. The tour began with the charismatic tour guide (and owner) Ben relaying some quick facts about our country’s and province’s role in the beer industry – from Canada being the 2nd largest exporter of malted barley in the world to the hidden microbrewery tucked into the ground floor of the Canadian Grain Commission (the products of which, are sadly not available for consumption).
The massive windows of the Winnipeg Trolley Company’s historically-inspired ride was ideal for this type of tour – especially when going through historically significant areas like Winnipeg’s Exchange District, where more often than not, most of the shenanigans of the tales we were being told had taken place. Infused with local history and beer-themed trivia, the tour flip-flopped between the two themes: Winnipeg, and ale. We learned that beer is one of three of the world’s most popular beverages (for good reason of course), and that Budweiser’s Clydesdales have a Manitoba origin. We heard tales of some of the most outrageous figures of the past, including the scandalous happenings of John S. Ingram, Winnipeg’s first Police Chief who was only 21 years old when he took the post.
The most shocking tidbit of the tour? While Prohibition lasted only a few years here in Winnipeg, it was still illegal to drink standing up until 1979. I guess bars had a lot more seats back then, and a lot less spilled drinks on the dance floor (though we have a feeling that rule wasn’t enforced very much).
Naturally, the tour’s high points were tasting a variety of local beers from passionate brewers.
Little Brown Jug
Our first stop was in the Exchange District’s Little Brown Jug, where we were given a beginners crash course on the fine art of the cicerone, the beer equivalent of the sommelier. Key takeaways included giving your beer a good look prior to drinking ( (to see the color and the consistency of the head) and the ol’ swirl and sniff technique (swirl your beer a few times before taking three sharp sniffs to decipher its flavour and scent). Our lesson was followed by a pint of Little Brown Jug’s 1919 – a real treat indeed!
Little Brown Jug’s open concept space offered a glimpse into their brewing process – which, lucky us – happens every Wednesday at the facility.
The next leg of the Ale Trail brought us to Torque Brewing: Winnipeg’s only award-winning brewery (so far). Whisked into the back room brewing operations, we were given a thorough tour of the facilities and explained how one of the world’s favourite beverages is produced. Torque is also unique in that it does its canning on-site, while also offering canning services for other Canadian brands.
When we arrived back into the main area of Torque, we were greeted (happily) by a ton of gorgeous beer flights. We had the opportunity to try four of Torque’s signature brews, including the award-winning Red Line IPA (delicious). My partner and I chose a seat at the retro arcade table, where we sipped beer and played a brick breaker game. What could be better?
One Great City Brewing Company
After bidding adieu to Torque Brewing, we headed to our last stop of the tour (sob), One Great City Brewing Company. The cool interior was definitely unexpected – so don’t let the strip-mall exterior fool you! This was clearly the place to be on a Wednesday night, with nearly every table full and bustling with energy.
This was also the stop where we had the option to order food (which was ordered while at Torque for efficiency), and while we were definitely too full on beer to eat – the dishes looked to die for. And the beer? Fabulous! From citrus to cherry, One Great City’s flight selection was varied and unique – another beer win for Winnipeg!
All the details
Where: Pick up from The Forks with stops at Little Brown Jug, Torque Brewing and One Great City Brewing Company
When: July 19th to October 25th, on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm
Duration: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Cost: General Admission (samples included): $59.79* / Dry Run (no samples): $39.79*
*Includes all applicable sales tax.
Recommended for: Groups of all types (Bachelor/Bachelorette parties would be a blast), couples and singles looking to uncover Winnipeg’s craft beer scene!
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