Who needs to go to Ireland for beer?

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Where I stayed

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This summer has been dedicated to staycations. Not only because of the recession (which the government and economists can't seem to decide whether or not we're still in one or recovering from it), but also because it's a fresh approach to summer vacations. Forget about planes and boats, take a train, a bus, or just your car to somewhere nearby. By doing so, I've discovered some of the jewels of Ontario.

Neustadt, Ontario is a small, picturesque village about 3 hours northwest of Toronto. I believe it's one of the prettiest villages in Ontario. The village was founded by a German settler, which explains the origins of the name. Streets are lined with little shops and specialty stores, selling antiques, jewelry, art, collectibles, etc. It was interesting looking through the stores, but I only bought a few pieces of jewelry and that was it. Antiques and collectibles aren't really of particular interest to me and they would look out of place in my home. But jewelry? I'm always ready to buy unique pieces that are different and create much more visual interest than the Tiffany pieces worn by 500000 other girls.

The main attraction was the Neustadt Springs Brewery, a micro brewery, one of the oldest ones around. I've actually never really been to a brewery before this; only been to wineries. So it was an interesting experience. We went on the educational tour which consisted of a tour around the property, the process of brewing, and got to meet the brewmaster too. We also got to taste the beer from the early, mid and final stage of fermentation. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about beer. Where it comes from, what exactly fermentation entails, and more about how to enjoy it and what foods to pair it with. Corona, Stella Artois...now there's one more word to add to my beer vocabulary.

Speaking of beer, the Beer Festival in Toronto is coming up and I think Neustadt Springs will be there too.

So that was my most recent staycation. It was fantastic because it was so close to home and yet it felt like I was outside of Canada. It's hard to remember that outside of Toronto and the other major cities, Ontario (and Canada) is massive and has a lot more to offer in the rural areas as well. 

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