What Travel Writers Say

Silversmith Brewing Company in Virgil

© Mike Keenan

Matt Swan and partner Chris Pontsioen know how to brew great tasting beer. I discovered this firsthand at their Silversmith Brewing Company in Virgil, a small, ivy-covered former church that dates back to the 1890s, complete with country charm, composed of exposed beams and brick walls with a long bar that was handmade from reclaimed barn wood. It quickly fashions a kindred atmosphere that is sure to pack the place during the busy tourist season in Niagara on the Lake. And the Pie Plate is directly across the street!

I thought I'd best try their flagship beer, the Black Lager, but asked for a taster at first, not wanting to be stuck with a pint that I didn't enjoy. No worries. It's superb, and I was impressed by the smoothness and lack of a heavy after-taste.

According to the brewers, Silversmith's Black Lager conforms to the Bavarian Beer Purity Standards of 1516 with only 4 ingredients! So savour its history. Its aroma exudes a delicate malt essence, and, as mentioned already, it's light-bodied with mild, toasted malt flavours reminiscent of coffee & chocolate. Matt and Chris are pleased that it finishes like a classic lager - crisp, clean and dry.

The aforementioned 4 ingredients are malt, hops, yeast & water, pretty basic stuff, but they use all natural malts imported from Germany, and no filtration or pasteurization takes place. I paired the lovely lager with a Po' Boy sandwich of roasted veggies, fresh basil aioli and aged cheddar. Yum! The bill was $18.

Matt and Chris also make Dam Buster English Pale Ale, a true English Bitter, 'Hill 145' Golden Ale, a relatively low alcohol version that will celebrate April 9, 2017, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, which included the capture of 'Hill 145' by WWI Canadian Forces, and Bavarian Breakfast Wheat, brewed with a classic interpretation of the Weissbier style.

They offer a potent foursome!

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