Why downtown St. Catharines’ Trust Beer Bar is unique


Published December 31, 2021 at 4:41 pm

You’re probably not going to go to downtown St. Catharines Trust Beer Bar for food although they do have a pretty decent selection of Mexican treats – tacos, burritos and crunch wraps.

But no, it’s not called Trust Mexican Diner – it’s called Trust Beer Bar for a reason.

At any time, they have over 100 of the finest – and hardest-to-get – Ontario craft beers in their fridge. These are not beers you’ll find at the Beer Store or LCBO. Plus there’s 10 to 20 new arrivals each week.

These are beers you can only get from the brewery themselves, either by driving to them, which is time-consuming and pricey, or mail ordering them, which can come with a hefty shipping fee and a minimum order size, also an expensive proposition. That is, if they do mail order. (Most do.)

Now that’s not to say the beer at the bar itself is inexpensive. Because it’s the bottle shop, the mark-up seems to be anywhere from 40 to 60 percent. But you pay for the convenience factor. One bottle or 10 bottles, it’s still less expensive than the previously-mentioned alternatives.

Trust billed itself as a “dedicated craft beer bar, specializing in Ontario craft beer, cider and wine. With over 100 beverages on the menu, Trust aims to be one of the best spots in Niagara to enjoy time with friends and to discover your new favourite beer.”

I was first alerted to the bar at 3 Garden Park, just off St. Paul St., by my niece, a Brock University student who lives around the corner. She noted, “You’re going to love this place. It has more beer than food.”

She wasn’t wrong. Every style – lagers, pilsners, kolsch, wheats, ales of every kind, IPAs (single, double and triple), porters, stouts – pretty much everything on the beer spectrum from far-flung brewery locales around Ontario in both cans and bottles.

Owner Erik Dickson, who opened Trust in June 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic, wasn’t creating the business to be an eatery. He wanted a quiet after-meal establishment where people could relax with each other, drink a couple of fancy pints and just chill in a TV-free environment without live music like so many downtown places.

He wanted to cater to beer enthusiasts specifically and he certainly nailed it. A recent server told me that I was typical of their clientele – walking in with a list created from their online beer menu and then happily walking back out with my score.

That said, the knowledgeable young staff is well-versed in all their selections, all of them craft beer enthusiasts in their right – and they love to talk beer!

Should you elect to stay and relax, the bar has six taps, each from both local and highly-respected Ontario craft breweries. Of course, you can order from their massive fridge. And in all honesty, for snacks, the food is top-notch (particularly the Queso Beef Burrito.)

While wide-open for a stretch recently, it’s back to 50 per cent capacity as per the latest government restrictions. And because it’s not really an eatery, no reservations are necessary. Just pop over and instantly enjoy a tasty craft beer.

Trust Beer Bar is located at 3 Garden Place, St. Catharines, Ont L2R 3B4. Website: https://trustbeerbar.com/

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