Sleeping Giant Brewing: a beer journey north

There are many things I love about craft beer. In addition to the purity of  ingredients and variety  of flavours, I love their labels. Names such as Church-Key Brewing (Campbellford, Ontario), Los Muertos Brewing (Puerto Vallarta), Highlander Brew Co.  (Algonquin) and Black Oak Brewing Co. (Oakville) are so much more evocative than plain old Bud, Coors or Labatt’s Blue. Their labels reflect their personality and terroir. One of my latest beer obsessions is Sleeping Giant Brewing, a new Ontario craft brewery located in Thunder Bay .

Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

Island stop at Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

The beer is named after the iconic 
land formation in Lake Superior off the shores
 of Thunder Bay. And although I couldn’t see the Sleeping Giant rock formation in-person  (I was hanging on to the edge of a sailboat in the middle of a Lake Superior storm)  I spent enough time kayaking, sailing and exploring the area,  that the Thunder Bay region quickly joined my list of the world’s favourite destinations.

Stunning Landscapes Inspire Great Canadian Craft Beer

Kayaking in Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area

Kayaking in Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area


Pictograph of Mazinaubikiniguning on Agawa Lake

Sacred rock painting in red ochre – pictograph “Mazinaubikiniguning” on Agawa Lake

Given Thunder Bay’s  stunning natural landscape such as Agawa Lake and Agate Beach, authentic local cuisine and a culture that celebrates outdoor adventure, it’s no surprise there is a great local beer — Sleeping Giant 360 ale. It’s a taste of Canada’s heritage in a chilled mug.

Agate Beach Lake Superior Ontario

Sip a craft beer after a day at secluded Agate Beach

Sleeping Giant Brewing is Growing in Popularity

I’m not alone in my enthusiasm.  Sleeping Giant brewery opened officially in June 
2012 and has already drawn a loyal fanbase. The brewhouse produces three brews, each handcrafted with local ingredients. 360 ale, an american Pale ale, and amber ale are available year round, while Elevator wheat, a light-bodied american wheat brew sweetened with a touch of local honey, and the hearty Skullrock Stout are available seasonally.

Growler of Sleeping Giant Ale

Growler of Sleeping Giant Ale

You can purchase Sleeping Giant in two-litre growlers at the brewhouse Thursdays to Saturdays or sample it at select restaurants and bars in Thunder Bay where it’s served on tap.

Travel Planner

Thunder Bay Tourism offers maps, hotel and tour planning services.

Lake Superior Visits, operated by the multi-talented historian, local expert and photographer, Lois Nuttall, this well-established tour company provides services for groups or individuals.

Ontario Tourism is the official visitors’ information site for travel including destinations, accommodations, festival and events, camping, golf, fishing, dining and more.

Ontario Craft Brewers is a valuable resource for beer lovers and offers recipe, tasting notes and a brewery map to plan your own beer journey.

Epic Adventures is a company I can’t say enough good things about. Owner Michael Elliott has a passion for, and knowledge of, the great outdoors and will make sure your experience is truly epic. He’s the quintessential northern guide – offering  hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, GPS instruction, orienteering/geo-caching, road cycling, cross-country skiing (back-country, classic, skate) and snowshoeing.

Porter Airlines flies direct from Toronto to Thunder Bay.

 For more on outdoor adventure around Thunder Bay, Ontario, check out the post on Thunder Bay Rocks 


Michele Peterson
Michele Peterson
Dividing her time between Toronto, Mexico and Guatemala (or the nearest tropical beach), Michele Peterson is an award-winning writer, blogger, editor and publisher who specializes in travel, cuisine and luxury lifestyles.
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Showing 5 comments
  • kerry berlinquette

    Michelle, thank you so much for featuring us in your article !!!!! wow– we are honoured! Let us know when you are back in town- we would love to have a beer with you !

  • Michele Peterson

    Thanks for your comment and yes, it would be great to have a beer together – and some of that Thunder Oak gouda cheese, smoked fish and Finnish bread. Well let’s just say there are lots of reasons I’d love to go back to Thunder Bay!

  • esperanza

    Wow, beautiful Lake Superior, sparkling wateer andall those pine trees! Would be fun to sample some of those local beers, Elevator Wheat, Skullrock Stout but I think a2 litre Sleeping Giant Growler would make me a Sleeping Giant Snorer.

  • Lesley Peterson

    What gorgeous, crystal-clear water and intriguing rock paintings! A two-litre growler of beer would be very welcome after all that exploration. Thunder Bay definitely sounds the place to be this summer.

  • Canada's Boomergirl

    Love the name- SKULLROCK STOUT – it sounds stout doesn’t it. Thanks for introduction to this ON brewery. Had not heard of it before.

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