Cambridge has become a hotbed for craft beer in recent years, and by the end of the year we could have as many as
6 7 8 different breweries in town. While this may seem like a new phenomena locally, Cambridge actually has a long history of brewing beer. Stretching back to 1846 when Henry Bernhardt opened in Rock Springs Brewery in Preston, this area was quite famous for growing hops. Where the Speed River meets the Grand River you can still find hops growing in what was known as the Preston Hop Yards, once regarded as the “largest hops yards in the Dominion”. In fact, hops still grow there and served as the basis of a cream ale brewed by TWB Cooperative Brewing in Kitchener last year. So Cambridge definitely has a rich history in beer that these new brewers can tap into.
Cambridge Ontario Brewery Map
Craft Brewers Currently Open In Cambridge Ontario
Grand River Brewing
295 Ainslie Street South,
Cambridge, ON N1R 3L3
Grand River Brewing is the elder statesman of craft brewing in Cambridge, having been in operation in the old Galt Knife Company factory since 2007. They have a wide variety of brews, with many taking their cues from Cambridge’s history. In 2017 they opened a brewpub in their location, so there’s now even more reason to check them out. Many of their beers are available in tallboy cans to take home, as well as growler fills.
Brews: Beam Me Up Scottish Ale, Mill Race Dark, Dogstalker April Bock, Russian Gun Imperial Stout, Tailgate Lager, Plowman’s Ale, Red Tail Amber Ale, Highballer Pumpkin Ale, Curmudgeon IPA
Four Fathers Brewing Co.
Established: 2009 in Rockwood
125 Guelph Avenue,
Cambridge, ON N3C 1A5
This is the one brewery that seems to be the most established name in the craft beer scene, as they’ve been in business for 8 years and are now moving their headquarters to Hespeler. I’ve driven by the site quite a few times looking for any outward signs of activity, but they don’t seem to be tipping their hand too much. There will apparently be “a sizeable social space for customers”, which definitely sounds promising.
Barncat Artisan Ales
1600 Industrial Road, Unit B5
Cambridge, ON N3H 4W5
Barncat Artisan Ales is truly a microbrewery. Their Twitter bio proudly boasting about the fact they’re only open 7 hours a week always gives me a chuckle. Even with short hours Barncat has managed quite the local following, with their taps rotating weekly with new creations. Their website is pretty good at keeping you posted on what they have on tap for the week. They deal pretty much exclusively in Growler fills, in litre and 2 litre sizes.
Brews: The Juice, Oat Saison, Cat Reactivator, Rat Queen
100 Sheldon Drive, Unit 36,
Cambridge, ON N1R 7S7
JackAss Brewing is now open as of February 23rd, 2018. Brothers Wayne and Keith been working their asses off and the new location on Sheldon Drive looks great. Featuring a seating area, and bar it’s a welcome addition to the Cambridge microbrew scene.
Brews: Red Beard Irish Red, Sun Kiss Juicy IPA, Nutty Porter
North Works Brewing
46 Stafford Court, Unit B,
Cambridge, ON N1T 1B3
After opening on Canada Day of this year, North Works is the newest brewery to open its doors locally. I popped in this weekend and was quite impressed. They have a nice bar area with a few tables so you can hang around for a bit. As they’re still pretty new to me I’m not sure if they have set brews, or run a setup similar to Barncat with a constant rotation of taps. North Works offers crowler fills, a 1 litre can filled fresh with your choice of brew, then capped right at the bar. They will fill growlers, though don’t offer them for sale.
Brews: 9 Toed Sloth, Jamaican Me Crazy, The Exchanger, Sprocket IPA
Rhythm and Brews
Established: 2016 in Toronto
1000 Bishop Street North,
Cambridge, ON N3H 4V7
Opened in May 2018, Rhythm & Brews is looking to become a destination for music fans and beer lovers. After talking to the owner I’m definitely looking forward to when they start having trivia nights as well. They have a bunch of regular beers, as well as new brews that switch over. You can buy bottles from their cooler as well as get growler fills.
Brews: Final Countdown, Vinyl Tap, It’s Complicated, Grodzilla
Wave Maker Craft Brewery & Distillery
639 Laurel Street,
Cambridge, ON N3H 3Z1
Brewmaster Scott Pautler is bringing his award winning brews to Preston, with a new brewery and distillery, with 8 taps, a cocktail menu and event space. The new brewery opened March 14, 2019.
Brews: First Brew, Top of the Morning
Craft Brewers Coming Soon To Cambridge Ontario
Hespeler Brewing Co.
Can’t say there’s too much info about Hespeler Brewing Co aside from their Facebook page at this point. I’ll update when I get some more info.
Great info James. I’m a beer lover and I had no idea we had so many establishments. Keep up the great work.
It definitely seems to be out of the blue. What I find interesting is the idea of being able to carve out niches in the market at various levels. I’ve frequented Barncat over the last year or so and found their model of constantly brewing something different pretty interesting. They have a loyal following of beer aficionados that always want to try something new, collaborating with other breweries and getting taps at local brewhouses. Whereas Grand River has taken the more traditional route of getting listed in the LCBO and having set lines which works too.
Rhythm & Brews wants to say THANKS for the shout out! Current opening month is now planned for January (thanks banks). Lots of stuff up our sleeves. Stay tuned!
No prob, thanks for the update. I don’t live too far away from there, so I’m definitely liking the idea of a happening place within walking distance.
Thanks for the info James. I was only aware of Grand River, and recently saw a sign for Four Fathers.
I’ll have to check some of these out as they move forward.
Seems like they’re popping up all over these days.
Very informative article!
Do you know if any of the breweries in Cambridge, serve wine as well?
Not too my knowledge. Most have a pretty simple setup with just taps and a bar, though places that are planning brew pubs might have other options.
All we need now is for some of them go become brew pubs. Serving good beer and food is overdue in Cambridge. I wish the best of success to all of these creative people.
Are you a descendant of James or Augustus Harris who established a brewery in Galt circa. 1835? My pioneering ancestors settled in Galt, one of whom was William James Robinson who was known to be a maltster at that brewery.
I am not to my knowledge. My wife has done genealogy for my family and I don’t think we were in Canada until the 1870s.