Before brew pubs were the latest hipster hang, there was The Merchant Ale House. St Catharines original brew pub, their focus is great tasting beverages and pub food. And, they’ve been doing it consistently well for over 20 years.
It’s a grey Fall day when we visit The Merchant Ale House for lunch and it seems like the ideal spot to be. The interior is warm and inviting with exposed brick and wood surfaces.
The service is friendly and unfussy, and there are heaps of pub favourites to pick from on their seasonal Fall menu. Deep-fried Pickles, Cuban Loaded Fries, Brew House Egg Rolls, Pizza Bombs, Hand Breaded Onion Rings, Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches, Chicken and Waffles, and Rib Hoagies – just to name a few. It’s comfort food all the way.
We doubled down on the swine as my Chief Researcher chose the Pulled Pork Sandwich and I picked the Pork Tacos.
Piles of pulled pork arrived on both our plates. Its sticky rich BBQ sauce is morish and was easily devoured with the fresh corn tortillas and crisp salads.
The generous servings were very happily washed down with a seasonal Pumpkin Ale brewed at The Merchant Ale House for my Chief Researcher and, for me, a ‘Hail Storm’ golden plum cask cider by boutique Ontario cider brewer Garage D’or.
The Pumpkin Ale is subtle in its theme (not like drinking a pumpkin pie). A perfect autumn ale. This was my first time trying an old fashioned cask cider, which is served at cellar temperature and isn’t as carbonated as most ciders. It’s full of delicious tangy golden plum flavour and I thoroughly enjoy trying something different.
According the Garage D’or Facebook page (check them out!), this was a small batch delivery to The Merchant Ale House and it won’t be around for long. But after tasting their Hail Storm cider, I will definitely look out for Garage D’or beverages on the menu again.
While I am a newcomer to “The Merch”, and my Chief Researcher is an old-school fan, I already love stopping in here for a casual lunch or dinner. And, they have live music on weekends, which is always a bonus in my books.
For cosy comfort food, quality brews and friendly atmosphere, I definitely recommend stopping in at The Merchant Ale House.
Location 98 St Paul St, St Catharines, ON L2R 3M2