Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the last of the weekend. On this drizzly, dreary spring day, I’m staying cozy inside and catching up on one of my favourite pastimes: blogging!
I have a fun spot to share with you today, and if you’re an Ontario craft beer fan, chances are you’re already familiar with them: Flying Monkeys. Their award-winning brews are a popular staple at many bars, pubs and restaurants around the province. The brand has an incredible success story that came from humble beginnings. Its founder, Peter Chiodo, grew up learning the art of home brewing in his grandpa’s basement in Toronto, then further honed his talents as a broke university student, brewing beer in his dorm room. He launched his own brewing company in 2004 (changing the name to Flying Monkeys in 2008). Today, the brand has produced over 50 different beers, won over 75 national and international awards, and has a widespread following among craft beer lovers. Tania and I were recently in Barrie, the home of Flying Monkeys, and decided to head to their taproom for dinner and drinks – we’re so glad we did!
The Flying Monkeys taproom is located in downtown Barrie on Dunlop Street, right by the waterfront. The cozy, brick-walled interior is funky, eclectic and downright delightful: think neon signs, rainbow string lights, multicoloured chandeliers, and a ceiling lined with vintage concert posters.
Once you’re seated, you simply have to press the call light on your table to notify your server that you’re ready to order, grab your bill, or if you need anything else – and they’ll come right over. (I think this is such a genius concept!)
Flying Monkeys has a whopping 16 beers on tap – not to mention, they have some of the funniest and most creative names. Tania and I wanted to sample a few different beers before committing, so we shared a flight of four five-ounce pours. We tried the Sparkle Puff Galaxy Starfighter (a peachy Triple IPA), The Mutants Are Revolting (a fruity, easy-drinking IPA), the 12 Minutes To Destiny (a raspberry lager with rosehips and hibiscus) and the Space Age Sunshine (a citrusy Quadruple IPA). My favourites were the Sparkle Puff Galaxy Starfighter and Space Age Sunshine – these are triple and quadruple IPAs, so they’re especially hoppy, robust and flavourful. (They also have higher alcohol content – 10.2% and 11.6% respectively – so drink mindfully; a little of these go a long way!)
After enjoying our flight, Tania and I each ordered a glass of our favourite beer. I got the Space Age Sunshine: this beer is citrusy yet slightly sweet, and beautifully balanced. (The menu literally describes it as “orange creamsicle”…how could I resist!?) Tania chose the 12 Minutes To Destiny.
What is it about drinking beer that makes you hungry!? It’s a good thing that Flying Monkeys offers a full food menu with classic pub grub favourites like burgers, nachos and wings, alongside some more unusual items – pickle pizza, anyone? I ordered the Yardbird – a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich – and Tania enjoyed the sous vide burger. Both entrees were served with a heaping side of Kennebec fries.
If you’re a fan of live music, you’ll be happy to know that Flying Monkeys hosts performances every single night. We came in the late afternoon/early evening, so the band was just setting up as we were leaving, but hey – that just gives us an excuse to come back another time!
Another thing I want to come back for is a behind-the-scenes brewery tour – Flying Monkeys offer these for free, every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm. No pre-booking is required; they just ask that you show up 15 minutes prior to your preferred time. Tours are first-come, first-serve and accommodate a maximum of 8 people.
If you’re in or around Barrie, I highly recommend checking out the Flying Monkeys taproom! We had such a fun experience there, and I look forward to returning for a brewery tour (and some more delicious beer) next time I’m in the area. If you’re further out but still want to enjoy their brews, you can purchase tall cans from their online shop or at your local LCBO.
Are you a craft beer fan? What are some of your favourite brands?
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