Charlotteville Brewing Co.
1207 Charlotteville West 1/4 Line Rd. Simcoe, Ontario
Charlotteville Brewing Company was the first stop on our long awaited Norfolk County brewery tour. An estate brewery nestled into a Carolinian forest near the town of Simcoe in the heart of Norfolk County, Ontario. Driving along the country road, two wood barns emerge surrounded by flower gardens, wood fencing and the signature wind mill. Turning in the drive my wife and I both looked at each nodding in agreeance that we were already taken by the property.
The brewery is comprised of two century old wood barns, one housing the taproom and the other housing the brewery. The deep property backs on to woodland with views of pastures and soy bean fields towards the road. An “Estate brewery” was not a term I was familiar with. I have come to find out that an Estate Brewery is one that sources the majority of its ingredients from the property it is located on. Charlotteville has a sister business “Carolinian Hop Yard” which grows 4 acres of hops in 9 different varieties.
Charlotteville is an environmentally focused, organic and sustainable brewery. I urge you to check out their website and blog which details their exceptional commitment to respecting the land.
The old expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be more true with Charlotteville, no amount of words could describe how perfectly appointed and photogenic this brewery is. Once you walk through the side barn door, the rustic and vintage charm welcomes you. Just inside, order at the bar and proceed though the double doors out to the beautiful patio with spacious seating areas.
We ordered beers and a jalapeno grilled cheese sandwich from the perfect brewery bite menu and walked through the tap room into the garden. We took a seat in the covered gazebo, making sure I had a direct sightline to the hummingbird feeder. I have a slight hummingbird obsession and it wasn't long before a fast flapping friend joined the party.
We sat there enjoying the beers, with hummingbirds and bumble bees happily buzzing around the swaying wild flowers. We ordered another round, enjoying the beauty and depth of the Norfolk county countryside. In what felt like no time we approached our 90 minute table time and with a couple more stops today we begrudgingly made our way to the brewery barn to pay the tab. You order in the taproom but pay and pick up to go beers in the second brewery barn. Here we got the opportunity to chat with Assistant Brewer Mary and gush about our visit.
It's a beautiful brewery, but is the beer good?
The beer was excellent, super fresh, well developed and full flavoured. During our visit 4 beers were available on tap and we were lucky enough to sample all four. Stand outs for us were the Local 519 Pale Ale and the Cherry Bomb Gose, but all the beers are worthy of trying and buying.
Unfortunately flights are not available and beers are poured in 14oz glasses only with varying price points. Since the location is only accessible by car, I would love to see 6oz pours available, even at a slightly premium price for those, like myself, who like to sample more on the menu. We took some cans home including their farmhouse saison and cream ale, both were very good and well priced at $3.75 for a 473ml can.
Local 519 English Pale Ale – Toffee and light apricot aromas. Toasted malts, apricot, light honey sweetness with underlying banana and nice grapefruit pith bitterness. Excellent.
Guilty Pleasure IPA – floral vanilla aroma. Blackberry tartness with solid orange pith bitterness from start to finish.
Rally Point IPA – Light orange citrus nose. Big Crystal malt backbone with orange pith bitterness. Classic Ontario Style Westcoast IPA.
Cherry Bomb Gose – Light berry and sweet lime aromas. Smooth wild cherry tartness heightened by sweet lime. A stand out for me this year that immediately reminded me of sitting at a Mexican resort pool bar sipping Palomas with a salt rim. Phenomenal.
Charlotteville Brewing Company is absolutely a destination brewery in Norfolk Country. I can’t imagine a better destination to spend an afternoon in the countryside enjoying well-crafted beers. A brewery that succeeds in producing excellent beer while respecting the land that provides the ingredients.
Stay positive and drink good beer..