Quench your thirst and fuel your love for Ontario wine and beer at one of these Ontario breweries and wineries. Here are our top picks!
If you want traditional, flavourful Belgian style ales, perfect for cooler days, New Limburg Brewing Co. is for you. After moving from Limburg Belgium, father/son duo Mischa and Jo transformed an old school in the country into a microbrewery delivering Belgian style ales to Norfolk Country and beyond. Their flagship beer, the Belgian Blond packs a punch at 7.2% alcohol and offers fruity, spicy, citrusy and peppery notes and is surprisingly refreshing and easy-drinking. Stop by for a pint, taste your way through a flight or fill up one of their beautiful hand-poured white ceramic special edition growlers.
Newly opened Cowbell Brewing in Blyth is a “destination” brewery, bar and restaurant in the heart of Huron County. Located in a massive building made of stone and timber resembling a classic Ontario barn, visitors can view the production process from this carbon neutral brewery’s second floor catwalk. They employ 100 local residents and offer all kinds of drafts as well as a collection of founder brews. Their first release, Absent Landlord Country Kölsch is a must try and goes well with Ontario cheese, grilled meats and even pastries, who knew?
Together We’re Bitter (TWB) Co-operative Brewery runs things a little differently in Kitchener. As a multi-stakeholder co-operative, workers and community supporters own the business and have their say on what happens. Their tiny tasting room located in the brewery is relaxed, warm and full of locals who love craft beer. TWB rotates their tap between 8 home brews and sales from their Hydrocut Session IPA goes to maintaining and growing Waterloo Region’s system of mountain bike trails.
Add together two large noggins and one basement brewery to get Broadhead Brewing Company. Founded and constructed by two best pals from Ottawa, Broadhead Brewery kicks out over ten types of beer including a few ales, an IPA, an amber, a stout and more. Their once seasonal and oh so crisp Bodacious Blueberry Blonde is now available all year round and packs a delicious berry punch. Available at the brewery, you can also find it in adjacent retail stores.
Steam Whistle doesn’t mess with a good thing, brewing just one beer with four natural ingredients since 1998. Located in the historic John St. Roundhouse, next to the CN Tower their pilsner is brewed fresh and locally using only spring water, malted barley, hops and yeast. They are Canada’s largest independent craft brewer and have recently been named as one of Canada’s Best Managed companies for the ninth year in a row.
If you’re looking for a fresh, fun and whimsical wine tasting experience, Small Talk Winery is the place! This colourful Niagara-on-the-Lake winery (and cidery) offers tastings that are far from stuffy and if you would rather taste cider, you’re in luck, because Shiny Apple Cider is produced there too. Stay for a tasting, enjoy brunch and explore their 30 year old Chardonnay patch that welcomes you to the farm. Do not leave without Shiny Apple’s Bootleg Spiced Whisky Cider only available at the winery. You’ll want to take home a few 1L growlers of this refreshing, gluten free cider that offers hints of apple pie and vanilla ice cream. What a perfect autumn beverage!
When tobacco goes out, wine comes in! Situated on a former tobacco farm in Norfolk County, this rolling Lake Erie winery overlooks the UNESCO-designated Long Point Bay World Biosphere Reserve. The wine comes from 26 acres of planted French, VQA Vinifera grapes. The winery repurposed the bulk tobacco kilns to perfect the ancient art of “appassimento” or drying of grapes to enhance flavours and create new taste sensations. With names like Stick Shaker, Cureman’s Chard and Strip Room their wines give a nod to the days of traditional tobacco harvesting. Try their Planter Pino Gris or 2010 Chenin Blanc.
Established with their first vintage in 1988, Henry of Pelham is dedicated to producing premium Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir wines from 100% Ontario grown grapes. The winery offers plenty of autumn events like The Pinot Affair happening October 13-15, which celebrates Niagara’s most sultry and sexy wine – Pinot Noir. If you haven’t tried their Baco Noir Old Vines VQA, you must! With aromas of cherry, mulberry, and cracked black pepper this medium bodied red is dry on the palate and is layered with berry fruit, plum, black pepper and cedar smoke.
If you haven’t visited PEC to taste this region’s newly recognized wines, what are you waiting for? This picturesque, family-run winery offers award winning wines and a story full of love. Their grapes grow on six acres in PEC and owner Catherine Langlois only hires local staff who will guide you through an informative tasting. Sandbanks is also home to resident artist Rita Thivierge’s contemporary art gallery and daily wine tours are offered. Sandbanks Sleeping Giant Foch-Baco Noir is a must try. This full-bodied rustic red is full of coffee and raspberry flavours with spice notes and layers of toasty oak. Try it side-by-side with Henry of Pelham’s Baco for an Ontario wine tasting experience.
Travel west along the sandy Lake Erie shores to Amherstburg’s premier 52 acre lakefront winery surrounded by gorgeous ponds, vineyards and gardens. Their Tuscan style “old world” building includes 2nd floor balconies for taking in the stunning view. Try their creamy and crisp, refreshing Ontario sparkling riesling that offers the refreshing essence of green apple with the smell of ginger and fresh fruit. Tip: You can purchase picnic basket lunches from May – October. How lovely!
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