Brews & Views: Calabogie Brewery & Eagles Nest
Calabogie is a township just over one hour West of Ottawa. As with the city of Ottawa itself, the early settlement of what is now Calabogie was mainly due to the nearby water routes. The Madawaska river was used as a main trade route, particularly for lumber. The railway reached Calabogie in the 1880’s, making it even easier to access the area. Today, it is known in the Ottawa region for being cottage country; a place to escape the city and relax by the water.
The area is beautiful, full of forests and waterways, a definite escape from city life. There are many hiking trails in the area as well as spots to eat and find other adventures.
I began my day in Calabogie at Neat Coffee Shop. Neat is a quaint café and Homestyle restaurant on Calabogie Road. They were serving breakfast on the outdoor patio, but I chose a quick coffee and square to go, as well as using the opportunity for a washroom stop. The ‘Lazy Square’ was a tasty treat, I recommend if you’re a fan of chocolate and coconut.
Neat is also an intimate music venue. The shows do sell out, book a ticket and dinner reservation online. They have recently begun ‘Neat Shed Sessions’ that are outdoor distanced concerts. The next events are taking place on September 4 and 5, 2020.
The Eagles Nest lookout in Calabogie is a must-hike for many Ottawa Valley locals. It is a relatively easy and short hike, with a most remarkable lookout view.
If your goal is a direct route to the Eagles Nest Lookout, you have two parking lots to choose from, both on Calabogie Road. The Eagles Nest Trailhead is the first lot on your right, just over 2KM past Calabogie Peaks resort. The trailhead will be across the street, leading to an old logging road as the start of the trail. It is clearly marked for when you turn right towards the lookout. The trail gets steeper but it is still an easy hike; I was expecting it to be more challenging when I first visited.
The second trailhead is a bit further down the road, the beginning of Little Pine Path. This trail also leads to the Eagles Nest Lookout directly. You can turn the hike into a loop if you choose to walk along the road between the two parking lots as you finish the trail.
There are five alternative lookout options within the Manitou Mountain Trail. There are two other parking lots; one at the Barret Chute Trailhead, the second at the Calabogie Peaks Trailhead. If you choose to hike the full Manitou Mountain trail, the best idea would be to have two cars and park at either trail end. CLICK HERE for a full trail map.
Note, the Eagles Nest Lookout is a popular spot and therefore quite busy. The lookout is a cliff, with trails beneath it; take your photo, enjoy the view and allow others to do the same. Do not throw anything over the cliff. Not only are there other hikers to be mindful of, it is a sacred Indigenous site. Please treat the area with the utmost respect.
Go early in the morning and on weekdays if possible, to avoid crowds. There are other great trails in the area if Eagles Nest is too busy! With lookouts!
CLICK HERE for a detailed guide of Wabun Lake Trail.
CLICK HERE for a hiking guide of Blueberry Mountain.
Next stop; food and drinks! Redneck Bistro is a rustic and spacious restaurant, with homemade food and an outdoor patio. The patio now extends onto the grassy surrounding areas. It was easy to keep space regarding Covid distancing. They have local beers on tap such as Perth’s Mocha Stout and Beau’s Countdown pale ale.
I enjoyed both the chicken wings and the avocado sticks. If I was hungrier I would have taken advantage of their Wednesday Redneck Special; a burger and a pint. They have many other options, I don’t think you could go wrong!
The brewery is across the street from Redneck Bistro, and I was excited to enjoy a beer on their patio. All beers, to go or for the patio, are ordered inside first. The brewery also has a kitchen, offering starters, salads, wraps and pizza. Open at 12pm daily.
Once the beers were ordered, they were enjoyed outside in the sunshine overlooking the Madawaska River. With the numerous patio tables, the water trickling, surrounded by trees; it is truly a beautiful spot to enjoy a beer. I grabbed a few more pints to bring home, including their Front Porch kolsch and the Portage Pilsner. I love all the cottage country / Calabogie themed beer names!
Calabogie Brewing also has a taproom and kitchen in Kanata so you can enjoy their beer right in Ottawa!
Other Nearby Spots
I had hoped for an ice cream stop at Café Laurent, which unfortunately was closed – they are open Thursday to Sunday. They carry various ice cream flavours, macarons and coffee options. I’ve seen some tasty looking waffles on the menu also; I will need to return.
Next door is The Blackbird Café, a quaint country establishment with bistro style tables and hand prepared meals. They are typically open 11:30-4:00pm for lunch and then offer takeout later. Check their Facebook page as the hours change slightly and they offer only a few nights of sit in dinner a week.
Calabogie is also well known for the Calabogie Peaks Resort. It is a four-season resort, most popular in the winter for their ski hill. They also offer cross country skiing, pond skating and ice fishing in the winter. During the summer, you can rent kayaks and other watercraft, play tennis, golf or find nearby hiking trails. Enjoy the fall colours chairlift ride in October, and outdoor campfires during all seasons. They have different hotel or cabin options, and two restaurants.
For a unique adventure, check out Tom Irwin Adventure Tours in the area. They offer various off roading tours with vehicles like ATVs, UTVs and snowmobiles. NEW Exotic Car Tours! CLICK HERE for some summer specials and tour information.
The Calabogie Motorsports Park is also a nearby activity to enjoy. This race track in Calabogie is actually the longest in Canada! You can rent a car or race your own. Various events are geared to beginners or experienced drivers. You need the green light to drive at Calabogie! If you’re a new driver, their next High Performance Driver Training is August 31 and September 13, 2020.
If you’re looking for other restaurants in Calabogie you will also find The Valley Food and Drink Co and Brown’s Pub House. There is a grocery store, general store, sporting goods stores and beach front within a few minutes’ drive of the resort.
Keep your eye open for Otterburn Maple Farm as you’re driving down Calabogie Road. Not only do they sell fresh maple syrup, they sell chickens and Thanksgiving turkeys.
Looking to pair more brews and views? CLICK HERE for our Ottawa brewery guide.
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