It wasn’t all that long ago that craft beer took Ontario by storm. In 2015, after much grumbling by craft brewers and beer drinkers alike, the provincial government introduced new measures aimed at making it easier for small local brewers to deliver their products to Ontario’s growing population of beer geeks. Since then, Ontario has seen a boom in both the quality and quality of craft beer. It seems like nearly every region has a renowned brewery, and post-secondary schools have been expanding access to brewing programs. However, it might be time for craft beer to take a back seat – said no one ever – but, hard cider is trending in popularity.
With fall just around the corner and local farmers’ fields lined with blossoming apple trees, there is no better time to round-up local cideries.
Heritage Estate Winery & Cider
421 Penetanguishene Road, Barrie
Barrie’s original craft cidery is located on the beautiful grounds of Heritage Estate, with over 40 acres of vineyard. Handcrafted with 100% Ontario-grown apples, new owners Isaac Drookman and Walter Vaz are part of a new wave of cider markers, serving this refreshing, lower-calories, gluten-free, preservative-free alternative to beer. Their Dragon’s Gold Cider starts with notes of caramel apple, blackcurrant, and raisin with a green apple finish. If you like something sweeter, their original Eden’s Apple infused with fresh strawberry juice is a perfect choice.
Thornbury Craft Co.
90 King Street East, Thornbury
The apple packing industry took root in Thornbury in the 1880s when immigrants discovered the soil made for an excellent location for growing apples. Today, you’ll find 7,500 acres of apple orchards running along the southern-most part of the golden shores of Georgian Bay. The Thornbury Village Cider and Brew House was originally an apple storage building. They brew their cider in a state-of-the-art production facility using only the finest apples from Thornbury. With a robust selection, you’ll find a taste for every palate, including cranberry, elderflower, rose apple cider, sparkling, craft cherry, and blood orange.
Duntroon Cyder House
3079 County Road 124, Duntroon
Nestled in the Parish of Duntroon, just eight minutes south of Collingwood, you’ll find an organic and local Cyder House. Purchased by the Schneider family in 2003, Dundridge Farms is a product of love for the environment and a desire for real, sustainable change. It wasn’t until 2015 that Duntroon Cyder House was officially born. After traveling throughout the UK for a number of years, owners Tim & Kimberly longed for the premium taste of traditional English cyder they had come to know and love. Their Cyder Master is always dreaming up new, unique, and delicious small batches, including their fully self-sustainable and carbon neutral Net Zero cyder.