Trestle Brewing Company
9 Great North Road
Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada
Trestle is located in a medium-sized warehouse, with half given over to brewing, and half to a tasting room and eatery, a bar/serving area, the accompanying kitchen, and a merchandise and canned beer shop. The bar was tiny, and I didn't see anyone sitting at it, so it is probably more a staging location for the wait staff. The dining area and brewery were separated by a small wall of oak barrels and some boxes, but otherwise it was open, so you could see the large bright tanks and fermenters (possibly all bright?). I didn't see an HLT, mash tun, nor any sacks of grain, which makes me think perhaps they brew offsite? Or maybe these were just obscured by the fermenting and bright tanks.
High ceilings throughout made for a very open feel, and the indoor seating spills into the deck/patio, which has a gorgeous view of the bay. There's also a lower area that looks to be for entertaining kids, since there were kids stuff like giant blocks or something. The inside seating was open and breezy, thanks to the open end of the building that spills out onto an outdoor patio seating area with views of the Seguin River and the sound and the Georgian Bay beyond, as well as the imposing train trestle bridge for which it is named.
The decor was sparse, and mixed-style. There was this awesome mosaic of reclaimed wood at the top of the wall that separated the restaurant from the kitchen and office, and there was a Canadian flag made all out of red and white slats of reclaimed wood - very stylish, and a nice effect. But beneath the reclaimed wood section was this weird faux-brick section of hammered metal (at least that's what it looked like) which seemed out of place, and some 70s style wood-paneling on the wall next to the bar which was very dated-looking. Maybe that's a design thing in Canada now?
The place felt lively, the crowd a mix of young and middle-aged locals, as well as visitors. We were there early on a Friday evening, and I'd imagine it would get pretty hopping later in the evening and on Saturday as well. The music - piped in throughout the space - was good, but rather dated, as seems to be a theme throughout rural Ontario.
The overall impression from the space was suitably industrial, but at the same time homey and small-town. Very well done, and barring a few dated or confusing design elements, it really felt comfortable and functional, like a working brewpub ought to feel.
Of course, ultimate measure of a brewery is the beer, and in this aspect, they did quite well. They only do flights of 4, so I had to order two flights to cover their whole gamut (poor me). They had two dark beers, a sour, a saison, two IPAs, and two lagery offerings.
On to my impressions of their beers... First off, all were quite drinkable. The only ones that I didn't really like were the sour and the IPA. Even there, the sour was well-executed, just not really to my liking. The IPA was pretty boring, with almost no aroma, and weakly hopped, but I come from the land of IPAs, so perhaps my palate is just more used to excitement from an IPA. That having been said, their double-IPA was quite good! Their helles was fairly straightforward for the style, and rather watery, but still quite drinkable, and would serve nicely on a hot summer day. The saison was refreshing and light, and bubbly and peppery like a saison should be. The Rye porter was really delicious, with the rye being subtle, but adding a nice spice to a coffee and chocolate base, and their imperial stout was also excellent and very chocolatey. But the crowning achievement was their golden ale, a "lagered ale" according to their literature; it was very malty, with the hops just naturally complementing the malt infrastructure; very good stuff indeed!
The menu is a bit sparse, with some twists on basic pub fare. We started with a humongous pretzel, very well made, and served with a delicious beer-cheese sauce; they also provided "mustard", but the Heinz super-yellow kind, which is a culinary faux-pas, in my opinion, as you should serve with a good stone-ground mustard. My sons had the pulled pork sandwich and the turkey wings, respectively. The turkey wings, 4 bones (2 wings?) for $12, were braised and then fried kinda like buffalo wings, and tasted excellent, but could have used more sauce as they were somewhat dry. I had the "dirty chicken" sandwich, which was fried and then sauced, placed in a bun with cole slaw in the sandwich, served with fries and gravy; the pulled pork was served similarly. My sandwich was good, and paired well with beer and the ambiance.
The service was not bad, but neither was it great; summer hires, basically. Someone - a more adult-like man - stopped by to ask how everything was, but didn't introduce himself; might have been the owner, brewmaster, or just manager. I do appreciate the casual dress and informal feel of the staff, but our waitress could have been a bit more attentive and/or friendly (either would have been nice).
Overall, I'm very impressed with this place. Parry Sound is not known for foodie-level cuisine and drink, but even with elevated expectations, Trestle delivered well. They could polish some things and make it a truly mentionable location, worthy of a side-trip, but as it is today it still beats the pants off of anything else on offer in the town, and for a considerable encompassed vicinity around the town. It manages to serve the locals and visitors well, and still maintain the right brewpub vibe.
Their beer is also available locally in canned form.
Below are my tasting notes:
1 - very good lagered ale, big malt taste, super-mild on the hops
2 - rye porter - nice! No nose, but nice coffee, chocolate initial, hop residual taste. The rye just adds a super-subtle bite.
3 - helles lager - very thin, almost watery, but good for a lager
4 - ipa - very slight nose, strong creosote hop
5 - double ipa - good, nice malt backbone, heavy citra nose and taste
6 - summer saison - not bad for a saison, no appreciable nose, but very saisony and bubbly
7 - imperial stout - yum! Very chocolatey
8 - dry-hopped mango sour - strong citra nose, definitely got the sour thing going, hazy and hint of mango
11 - root beer - yum! Lots of liquorice spice!
Best: 1, 2, 5, 7
Liked: 3, 6
Not so much: 4, 8