The Niagara Ale Trail & Its Roots in St. Catharines

May 16, 2018 | Uncategorized

While Niagara has long been known for its wine, our beer history actually started two decades ago in downtown St. Catharines. In 1998, the first brewpub in the region was opened on St. Paul Street. Quite awhile before the craft beer movement became common as it is today, The Merchant Ale House was somewhat of a pioneer, creating hand-crafted beers like their Old Time Hockey Ale, Blonde Bombshell, Drunken Monkey Oatmeal Stout, and the Extra Special Bitter – all of which continue to be favourites today.

Since then, the craft beer scene has quietly grown until visitors from surrounding areas started taking notice of our local brews. With Niagara-on-the-Lake’s  Silversmith Brewing opening in 2011, and then Oast Brewery’s opening in 2012 just up the road, Niagara was quickly becoming a hot spot for beer lovers. Now, the Niagara Ale Trail boasts 14 different breweries, all with their own unique style, atmosphere, and signature brewing style.

It all started twenty years ago in downtown St. Catharines, and it shows no signs of stopping. We’ll cheers to that.



Love STC

Experience authentic craft and culinary experiences, unique festivals and cultural events, including live music, theatre and sports; the City of St. Catharines – the urban centre of Niagara– is at the heart of it all. Take advantage of our affordable accommodations and close proximity to all major Niagara attractions.

Niagara Ale Trail

The Niagara Ale Trail was founded in 2014 to celebrate the best of Niagara’s Craft beverage scene, encompassing craft breweries from each of Niagara’s 12 municipalities. Founded with 14 Craft Breweries, the Niagara Ale Trail expanded to include Craft Cideries in 2023 and has over 25 participating locations.