National Capital Craft Beer Week: Where are your top Ottawa spots to grab a pint?

Desirae Odjick is a marketer and copywriter who has lived in and loved Ottawa her whole life. She reads, does yoga, runs half-marathons and is really trying to take up a winter sport. “Overly enthusiastic” is her default state. 

If you’re an experienced beer connoisseur or a completely newcomer to the beer scene like myself, there are hundreds of beers from all over the world that are unique and awesome in their own ways. But did you know there’s a whole wide world of beer right in our backyard? No?

Well then National Capital Craft Beer Week is just the event for you.

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Craft Beer Week took place August 9 – 17, 2013

NCCBW brought together Ottawa and Ontario’s best craft beers for a week of merriment and hops right here in town. I decided that this was going to be the year I took full advantage of having all of these great, interesting beers in one place. When I heard Steamwhistle, one of my favourite Ontario brews, would be in town sampling their beer, there was no hesitation. I was going to be there.

It turns out, a whole lot of people were just as excited to see a well-known beer brand hosting a local tasting. The event, which took over The Brig in the Market, was packed. I ran into everyone from local photographers to friends from university to people in the marketing community.

That’s the beauty of an Ottawa event: the mix of the small-town, we’re-all-friends feel and the fact that bigger brands recognize that this is a community well worth getting to know.

Speaking of getting to know Ottawa, I chatted with Marina Arnaout, the brains behind Steamwhistle’s Twitter account and much, much more, and she had some pretty flattering things to say about Ottawa. She’s based in Toronto, so I took the chance to ask her, as a “real tourist,” what she liked to do when in Ottawa.

For anyone looking to experience the local scene, Steamwhistle-style, here are Marina’s must-visits when she’s in town:

  1. Murray St. One of the best restaurants in Ottawa if not Canada, the food here is awesome! (Desirae’s note: the brunch is not to be missed. It’s amazing.)
  2. The Manx. It has great food served in an intimate and often crowded pub. Great selection of craft beers. Fun fact: it’s Steamwhistle’s longest-standing Ottawa account.
  3. The Black Tomato. A huge selection of craft beers. They serve great food in a heritage building with a great courtyard patio.
  4. The Brig, our host for the event! Great pub food and craft beer served in the heart of the ByWard Market. Fantastic back and front patios serving some great beer.
  5. Clocktower Brew Pubs. Excellent food and a great selection of both craft beers and beers brewed on premise.

With these recommendations in hand, I know where I’ll be in the weeks after Craft Beer Week to console myself that it’s over.

Where is your favourite spot in Ottawa to grab a pint?