For the most part, we tend to stay within the general vicinity of our towns and don’t explore too far out. Why? We have everything we need — or at least we think we do. Beer definitely changed that for a lot of nerds, but I have still found myself being mostly focused between Montreal and Toronto to find suds, with occasional visits to the Ottawa and Kingston areas. But this summer, things changed for me bit. A whole new area came to my attention, and it’s been fascinating discovering it.
Prince Edward County is located about two hours East of Toronto, and it’s super well known for its 45 wineries and 13 breweries (at the time of writing, at least — it’s safe to assume there’s a bunch more of both on the way). We had headed out to Picton, an island in Lake Ontario that’s considered a part of Prince Edward County, to cover the first annual Ontario Fermentation Festival this summer. It featured all things fermentable, including: kimchi, wine, liquor, kombucha and–of course–beer.
While we were in town, our mate Brett French, Head Brewer at PEC OG Barley Days, set up a Picton All-Stars podcast with two fellow brewers from the area: Eric Horneaur from newcomers Prince Eddy’s and Drew Wollenberg from 555 Brewing. Granted, we’d been day drinking at the festival — where Scott and I also judged a homebrew contest and hosted a panel of local brewers and yeast lab technicians — so, we started half-way tipsy. The chat was super interesting, as two of the three guys had spent time and honed their skills in my home country of Australia and found their way back to the Prince Edward County to brew.
I’ve said this before, but one of my favorite things about what we do is getting to meet awesome people who do super cool things and getting to learn a ton from them along the way. This podcast most certainly delivered in that way. All the beers we drank from the area were great — it’s clearly a young(ish) region that has some honing to do, but the stakeholders are well aware and are working constantly to really dial it in and create a unique style that will truly represent Picton.
That said, Barley Days’ Sunday Brunch was a phenomenal hazy, juicy apricot Kolsch, and 555 brought a growler of their freshly brewed watermelon kettle sour. Both beers were the kind of standouts that I could drink over and over.
Check out the video below for the highlights. As I mentioned, we were tipsy when we started, and we ran through a lot of beer during the podcast. Naturally, things got a little messy. Bare with us; it’s worth it.
And if you enjoyed that rambunctious chat, check out the full convo via Apple Podcasts and wherever you listen to your audio yapping. We’ve also dropped some fun stuff recently, take a peek. Cheers!