Bentley’s beer lineup now includes locally-brewed beer, something last seen in 1952, the year before the Festival made its debut. The beer became a reality when Joseph Tuer and Alan Peterson decided that their hometown needed a beer as good as its theater. They also concluded that Ontario’s microbrewers weren’t turning out enough high-quality pilsner. The result: Stratford Pilsner, brewed in the Czech style. They’ve also given it the perfect slogan: “beer as you like it.”
On To Brick In Waterloo
A half hour east of Stratford, you’ll find the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo, which hosts one of the largest Oktoberfests outside Bavaria. For nine days, venues in both cities become festhallen with traditional German food and entertainment. There are also plenty of family events, including a parade to mark Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.
Waterloo is the home of two stops on the original Ale Trail. One of them is Brick Brewing Company, where we spent part of a sunny Saturday absorbing a short course in Ontario brewing–with appropriate samples, of course. Brewery tours are popular with University of Waterloo students who, for some reason, have a keen interest in the process of making beer. The Brick family has grown to 15 beers. They include the Conner’s, Laker, and Formosa labels as well as original Brick lager and Waterloo Dark Ale, whose logo is a ferocious-looking wild boar.
Not far from Brick is the Huether Hotel, the home of the Lion Brewery and Restaurant. The first time we were in town, the name alone was enough to lure us inside; the King of Beasts is our favorite animal. Once inside, we found the convivial pub, which occupies the bottom floor of what used to be a commercial hotel.