Cured Craft Brewing Co. in Leamington, Ontario is relatively new to the Ontario craft brewery scene, but they’re already making waves. For starters, they’re the very first craft brewery in Leamington, a community that had been yearning for and deserving of a local brewery for quite some time.
A brewery, believe it or not, can very much be a community beacon. We’ve seen that over and over in small towns across Ontario, with a brewery like Second Wedge Brewing Company in Uxbridge being a prime example. Perth Brewery, too, in Perth, Ontario evoked a huge sense of pride from the town when it was built.
In short, there’s a reciprocal relationship that forms between the brewery and the town it resides in. And, if done right, it can have a hugely positive impact. Craft brew delivery has even become a popular thing across the province.
From the onset, a big part of Scott and Lisa Bradt’s intention with the founding of Cured Craft was to further revitalize Leamington’s Uptown neighbourhood, so this potential for community building is not lost on them.
So far, so good!
A New Ontario Brewery is Born
Cured Craft Brewing Co. now calls 43 Mill St. West home. Before that, it was a historic office built in 1911 by the famous proprietor William T. Gregory. For those who don’t know, he was an American fellow who hailed from North Carolina, and is credited with revolutionizing the tobacco industry in the area.
Lisa and Scott Bradt owned a butcher shop across the street, Bradt’s Butcher Block, so when they saw the for sale sign, their interest was piqued. Initially, we’re told, they were only keen to start a restaurant, but they eventually decided that they ought to go for it all and start a restaurant and brewery in Leamington, Ontario.
Scott is a butcher, and Lisa is a nurse, and thus, the very cleverly named Cured Craft Brewing Co. was born. We love that the name of this Ontario craft brewery pays respect to the work that both Lisa and Scott do beyond just the brewery.
The money that they poured into renovations has clearly paid dividends, as it’s a beautiful property, and we are especially fond of the sizeable outdoor patio which catches plenty of sunlight.
What’s On Tap at Cured Craft?
As with any good Ontario brewery, they’ve got a number of different styles of beer that they brew.
According to Untappd, since opening they’ve put out around 12 different beers, all of which have been very well regarded.
If you’re a fan of stouts, then make sure that you try their S.O.S – Southern Ontario Stout. It’s an oatmeal stout that has a distinct richness as a result of the notes of dark chocolate and roasted malt.
In our humble opinion, the best way to get a sense for if a brewery can make a great beer is to try their lager. Unlike IPAs, for example, you can almost taste the legitimacy of the brewing process in a lager. In short, you can’t hide poor brewing in a lager.
That’s why it’s a great sign that the 42nd Parallel Lager was our favourite beer on tap, and we wouldn’t hesitate to say that its one of the best Ontario lagers we’d had in recent memory. It’s crisp, clean, flavourful and refreshing – exactly what you like to see in a lager.
That being said, this is a brewery in Ontario where you should let your preferences guide you more than anything else, since all their beers are solid.
That being said, if you’re getting a flight, we would recommend the Honey Badger Wheat Ale, which is just the right amount of sweet. Believe it or not, the name is actually a reference to co-founder Lisa Bradt who in her nursing profession was given the nickname “honey badger” because of the fight she showed in advocating for the wellbeing of her patients.
If you’re a fan of IPAs and Pilsners like we are, then I probably also wouldn’t leave without tasting their Triple ‘A’ IPA, and Pelee Pilsner.
What’s on the Menu at Cured Craft Brewing Co.?
Perhaps not surprisingly, there are certain advantages reaped by a brewery in Leamington whose owners also happen to own the butcher shop across the street.
Naturally, they also have items which are vegetarian friendly, but the dishes, which include meat at Cured Craft, are absolutely off-the-charts.
We’d recommend starting with the Beer Queso Nachos, and then adding Barbacoa to them. Barbacoa, for those who don’t know, is a Mexican-style of cooking meat in which it’s carefully slow-cooked and then seasoned with chilies and a variety of spices that ensure your beef will be remarkably flavourful.
We’ve heard good things about their Pizza Pies, and although we didn’t get to try them this time around, plenty of customers seemed to go that route, so that’s worth considering if you love pizza.
You cannot go wrong with the sandwiches. The Prime Rib Ciabatta, featuring Bradt’s famous prime rib, and topped with caramelized onion, horseradish aioli and S.O.S. Stout infused au jus, is exceptional. We’re hard-pressed to recall a better prime rib sandwich in Ontario.
The Pulled Pork sandwich is also as good as you’d think it would be. Locally sourced pork (of course), sweet and smokey Honey Badger sauce, house made coleslaw, all on a pretzel bun.
What needs to remembered then, in this case, is that Leamington’s sole craft brewer is a destination for folks who may not even be beer drinkers. The food is just that good.
This Leamington Brewery Awaits
Whether you’re a lover of Ontario craft beer, or simply a nacho fanatic, Cured Craft Brewing Co. has you covered. They’ve got ample space both inside and outdoors, so you’re fine in any weather.
From farmers markets in Ottawa to chocolatiers in Lanark, and restaurants in Gananoque to cideries in Mallorytown, at Ultimate Ontario we want to shed light on the places and businesses that make this province what it is.
Disclosure: I want to thank both Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island for hosting us as media for this experience. Please note, our views and words are wholly our own.