While there is no shortage of local venues to enjoy local craft beers and coffee, none have aspired to brew their own beer and roast coffee in downtown Hamilton.
That is, until the official launch of Rust City Brewery, which had their grand opening on March 16.
Located on King William Street, right around the corner from the James and King intersection, the family-operated coffee house and craft beer pub is a stand out amongst other higher-end restaurants on the street.
When entering the coffee and beer house, chances are you’ll probably be greeted by one of the three owners: Nancy Malcolm, James Malcolm and Gabriel Spiegelshrift.
The three consider themselves to be family and each take on a specific role within the business structure.
“James looks after the beer and the coffee and Nancy looks after the kitchen. I am more of the infrastructure side of it,” Spiegelshrift explained.
After years of traveling, the trio decided they were going to build Rust City Brewery together.
“Chicago was when the revolution [happened] where we [said], we can do this too,” said Spiegelshrift.
Rust City Brewery prides itself on its unique casual atmosphere.
“We wanted to address that by having a café, a beer café. We’re not a bar. Even though we have a huge selection of beer on draught and a huge selection of beer bottles… we also have a coffee roaster so we really wanted to [incorporate] that,” said Spiegelshrift.
A list of bottled craft beer and cider hangs on the side of the counter while a chalk menu lists the beers that Rust City Brewery has on tap. All of which are from small independent craft breweries in Ontario. Their beer list is constantly changing but main staples include beers from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Great Lakes Brewery, and Nickel Brook Brewing Co.
All of their coffee is organic, fair trade and roasted on site in the large coffee roaster displayed amongst the seating. The beer café also offers a coffee and roasting education program where customers can taste and learn how Rust City Brewery’s coffee is roasted.
While deciding what to drink may be tough, choosing what to eat is made easy by the large variety of organic, vegetarian and gluten free options.
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“All of our food is made in-house… we strive for organic, locally sourced, independent producers as much as we can,“ explained Spiegelshrift. “ Nancy [is in charge] of the food and she is a vegetarian herself, so she is very geared towards that and trying to have options.”
Despite their intentions to begin their own line of beers, Rust City Brewery is not yet brewing at their current location.
The City of Hamilton currently has strict zoning rules preventing brew pubs from opening up in the downtown core. In a press release, Rust City noted that changes to this by-law will be presented to city council for approval in June.
“People are really excited… brewing beer is so revolutionary… It represents this total defiance of standing up for doing what you are. Because [of] that, people get behind the movement and want to do it. [Beer] represents just hanging out and expressing the collective joy of things in the social,” said Spiegelshrift.
Next time you’re downtown, make sure to stop by and try the popular homemade pretzel buns and a glass of the Hop X Cider from Hamilton’s Revel Cider Company.