The Merchant Ale House Restaurant & Brewpub
Ratings: 15 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ralphus:
4.15/5 rDev -0.7%
I have been to the Merchant Ale House once every 2 years or so for the past 8 years. It's amazing how little has changed, which is a good thing.
The beer continues to excel. There are lots of different offerings, all in good shape and true to their styles. Most recently I enjoyed their blueberry wheat and IPA, while my friend was sold on the ESB.
Food has actually gotten significantly better. I had the shephards pie recently and it was the best implementations I've ever had - hands down. This is not your out of the box version and for the price and location I was completely floored. My friend had a pizza and he was gushing about his meal.
Service is good given that the place fills up pretty quickly. Staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
If you are in St. Catherine's - GO!
04-17-2010 22:38:51 | More by Ralphus
More User Reviews:
2.8/5 rDev -33%
Beer was a definite plus. A solid IPA & ESB. Food was slightly above average pub food. Atmosphere was like many other bars nothing special but nothing to drive you away. Service was poor. Waiter/bartender was either distracted or didn't want to be there. Food cost was outrageous, Won't be back
09-02-2013 22:39:15 | More by Rback
4.14/5 rDev -1%
I was pleasantly surprised by this little gem. Tried 4 of their beers and loved each of them. Old Time Hockey Ale and Blonde Bombshell were probably my favorites. There was also a blueberry beer that came with actual blueberries floating in our pitcher, which was very tasty as well.There's something for everyone. Food was good, too. We enjoyed a mountain of nachos. Will return regularly.
EDIT August 2014:
I have returned to the Merch several times since my review over a year ago. My opinion has stayed the same. Their beers are solid. Drunken Monkey Oatmeal Stout is my new favorite, IPA is a closed second, and Old Time Hockey has a comfortable home at third. The food has remained consistent. And I enjoy their "guest taps" from other breweries to try out.
Wicked little hang out.
05-17-2013 03:14:45 | More by JG_McNaulty
4.08/5 rDev -2.4%
A very pleasant surprise in downtown St. Catherines!
Beer is of excellent quality, although several styles I wouldn't personally choose. The "west coast" hop finish of the ESB was delightful. Samplers of all draught taps (including non Merchant Ale House) are reasonably priced (for Ontario). Service is friendly and beer-knowledgeable, and fully understood my excitement over a stout named "drunken money"!
Was only able to enjoy samplers and sandwiches over a lunch time period, but would love to return for a full night's celebrations!
12-29-2011 18:54:00 | More by hopsolutely
4.45/5 rDev +6.5%
Okay, this is my local. I was there the day it opened, and am very loyal. No bias here. John is a solid brewer, hindered only by the limits of his brewing set up. He consistently churns out great beer, and expands his roster with equally excellent brews. The IPA is a knockout, nice and floral hoppy (fuggles? goldings?) and the ESB is a solid representation of that. The others are great, too, I just drink the IPA and ESB most!
The food is also pretty good. It's basic pub fare with some added twists--platters of dips and bowls of beans and meat.
I don't eat meat so I rely upon my carnivorous friends for their positive evaluations (my picky sister was picky, but everyone else is happy).
They just expanded their menu and it's great, too.
Staff are also excellent. They're friendly, knowledgeable and all around great. As a testament to the Merchant's friendliness, they also have very low turnover, which means the staff know the beer, know the customers, know the food and know how to do their jobs well.
01-25-2010 22:11:29 | More by DrDj
4.65/5 rDev +11.2%
Went here with my girlfriend today for a pint or two and a bite to eat. She got two pints of the blueberry wheat beer, and I got the cask conditioned ESB. We also got the deep fried pickles and a plate of chicken nachos. It all came to about 35 bucks, which seemed reasonable, and well worth it. The bartender/server let me try a few beers before I chose my pint. The blueberry wheat was great, although it was tough to get a sip from my girlfriends kung-fu grip. It wasn't too sweet, not an overpowering blueberry flavor, very good actually.
The ESB was great, tons of hoppy flavor, very little carbonation very fresh, nice and bitter at the end. Apparently they'll have a few of their beers cask conditioned throughout the year, so look out for the Drunken Monkey - the barkeep said it's a big hit.
Overall, great experience. We'll be back soon.
03-29-2009 03:34:39 | More by beerbuddah
4/5 rDev -4.3%
went on a friday night to meet a fellow ba'er from canada to give him some bells hopslam. very nice place.. being an american it was nice to see no american beers on draft and just the local canadian kinds...the bartender gave some good size samples if i asked to sample..
menu was decent size for a small ale house..
the atmosphere was nice and calm. the waitress was very nice and polite and could answer some beer related questions i had for her.
parking was a little hard to get being i had no clue of where to park..
02-25-2009 00:03:28 | More by SBALDWIN
4.63/5 rDev +10.8%
The Merchant Ale House qualifies as the only reason I returned to St. Catharines for a second work term (though this says less about the Merchant than it does about my fucked up priorities).
Located in the downtown area, spread over two floors. Brewing equipment and Merchant-branded materials on the wall (often bags of malt or hops leaning against walls). Old-time-y decor. I love the atmosphere--just a place to grab a few beers, have a meal, and talk. Dart boards available, as are televisions. Weekends tend to be a bit rough, with bands playing and occasional cover charges (and the impossibility of actually sitting down unless you showed up at 6), but weekdays are generally golden.
Quality and selection are good. The Merchant brews their own beer on premises, and has several other brews on tap. All micros, though their definition of micro is arguably stretched (i.e. they occasionally have stuff from Brick, which just barely qualifies as 'craft'). Two lines dedicated to cask-conditioned brews, though typically only one is running, and often times they're out. Look for interesting experiments with the cask beers (for example, there was a brief experiment with Niagara's Best Blonde on cask, dry-hopped--a huge difference in flavour). Their own beers aren't the pinnacle of greatness, but they're respectable, and often interesting. Aside from the usual blonde and brown ales, they've got a solid oatmeal stout and are often experimenting with flavours (i.e. ginger beer, hazelnut ale). They have a pretty close relationship with Niagara's Best Beer just down the street. No North American lagers to be found anywhere, thank the heavens.
Service is excellent. Very friendly and very knowledgeable. I've had conversations with chefs and bartenders; they know their beer and often have good stories (the tale of Steelback's attempt a few years ago to get a dedicated tap for their brand is worth a chuckle).
The food is much better than it has to be. In fact, it's delicious. My second favourite fish and chips anywhere, great pizza, and quality ingredients in general. They take a bit of a haute approach to pub fair, while still keeping prices reasonable (try Tuesdays, with a special $6 entrée menu). Fries are great, but greasy.
I cannot stress enough how much I love the Merchant Ale House--in a town filled with so many dives and college bars, it's gratifying to see a place like this establishing themselves so well.
10-04-2008 05:52:19 | More by headlessparrot
4.43/5 rDev +6%
I was in the area so I decided to pay them a visit.
It's a small brewpub right downtown St. Catherines. The area is nice - lots of people and other bars in the area. The atmosphere inside is cozy and welcoming.
There are quite a few local guest taps as well as four or five of their own.
I had Dark Wheat and the IPA. Both were OK, nothing exceptional, just regular OK. I tried a sample of the Strawberry Blonde - now that was intense and unique.
Oh - and the food was really good,
Well worth a visit if you are in the area!
03-31-2008 23:14:17 | More by CanadaBlue
The Merchant Ale House Restaurant & Brewpub in St Catharines, ON, Canada
92 out of 100 based on 15 ratings.