After retiring I worked for Niagara Wine Tours, a company who was trying to expand into the Lake Erie North Shore region. They were already tapped into the Toronto market and thought the wine industry in Essex County was ripe for the picking. Unfortunately the company couldn’t garner enough interest to keep them afloat. The main complaint from out-of-town tourists was our lack of places to stay.
Fast-forward about ten years and we have fifteen wineries and almost as many breweries or brew-pubs. Existing estates expanded to accommodate tour buses and gatherings such as wedding receptions. Bars and restaurants got in on the action by offering local vintages and brews.
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Meet Gary Killops, jack of many trades, master of one. Wine. Well, perhaps beer too. I met Gary in another life, back when we were both mere civil servants. In his pursuit of fine wines and robust beers, instead of thieves and burglars, Mister Killops has become a Master Taster and Somellier, accredited by the Niagara College.
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We have a new stop to add to our annual Kingsville Krawl – the Grove Brew House. It’s right on the main drag and attached to its own Inn, formerly the King’s Inn. Cathryn and I checked it out, sampling their craft beers and two appetizers during a late afternoon visit.
The Inn has been refurbished and a brand new brewery has been built beside it where the outdoor patio once was. Although the two buildings are attached, I don’t think they blend well architecturally. That doesn’t seem to matter to the people who have been filling the place on a regular basis.
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Things are hoppening in Detroit. Just pop in to one of the dozens of downtown bars and sample for yourself. Cathryn and I did just that, the other day, after dropping off family at the airport. We planned on eating in Greek Town so I parked the car in the lot at the corner of Munroe and Brush. Right next to the parking lot was a place we knew as Marilyn’s on Munroe, that is now called the Firebird Tavern.
We liked the place right off the bat, with its turn-of-the-century dark wood bar and tables, and tin ceiling. Lisa greeted us at the bar, offering a list of craft beers, adding that anything local was half price during happy hour. They had a tasty selection of bottles and draft to choose from, and she happily let us sample a few before ordering.
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By Cathryn Gagnon:
The historic town of Amherstburg is the home to a cozy little pub called, Lord Amherst Public House and Wine Bar. It’s located at 273 Dalhousie Street, and named after Lord Jeffrey Amherst, who served as the first Governor General of British North America. This quaint meeting place comes complete with creaky wood floors and traditional English pub fare. Separate from the pub, there is a wine bar upstairs. It has a rustic European décor and features imported and local wines.
Our server was sweet, welcoming, and attentive. We started off with a Grimbergen, dark lager, craft beer. It had caramelized undertones with a crisp coffee finish. Since it was my birthday lunch, and my mother was buying, I thought I would splurge. We ordered soup and sandwiches.
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