Over the past weekend I was part of a contingent of Ottawa food bloggers invited to Prince Edward County to be wined, dined and ..stretched. Over the course of a weekend we visited a brewery, winery, restaurant, cheese company, farm, cider producer and took a yoga class. We ate, drank and then ate and drank until we did yoga then we continued to eat and drink. It was an amazing weekend that opened our eyes to the bounty, beauty and hospitality of the County.
Our first stop on our busy itinerary was the brewery formerly known as Glenora Springs but relaunched in 2007 as Barley Days Brewery. They currently have two beers available at the LCBO, Harvest Gold Pale Ale and Wind & Sale Dark Ale, but have six other brews available exclusively at the brewery.
When we arrived we were greeted by brew master, Alex Nichols, who showed us around the small brewery and walked us through beer making. He explained how malt and hops are boiled to create a wort which then has the solids separated and is transferred to fermenters where yeast is introduced. Yeast will convert simple sugars into carbon dioxide, alcohol and flavour. Once all the sugars are digested, yeast will settle at the bottom of the tank; the beer is then transferred to a conditioning tank where it ages and flavours are smoothed out. For some of Barley Days special brews the beer is aged using an oak barrel made locally by Carriage House Cooperage. The beer is then filtered (or sometimes not) before it's bottled and kegged and stored in a refridgerated room waiting to be purchased, or kissed by a crazy beer enthusiast.
We were lucky enough to sample the majority of beers available with the exception of the Sugar Shack Ale, a maple syrup flavoured beer, which was busy conditioning. I liked many of them and bought home a selection to enjoy at home. I especially enjoyed the oak aged Loyalist Lager; the oak complementing the malt flavour and subtle vanilla and toffee notes.
I'm really looking forward to the Sugar Shack Ale and since it's only available at the brewery I'll have to make the trek out to Picton to get it ...and replenish my stock.
Barley Days Brewery
13730 Loyalist Parkway