Waterfront Festival

Raise a glass to those small producers who work with passion and pride. There’s a reason for the craft brewery boom that’s happening across Ontario—and in our own back yard in Cobourg and the surrounding hills. Craft beer has more alcohol and tastes better! It comes with reported health benefits too, thanks to its antioxidants, protein and vitamin B complex.

Visit these five stops on our craft brew self-guided route to meet the makers—and marvel at their handiwork. Raise a glass!

Empire Cider Co.

Right in the heart of Ontario apple country, on a less-travelled road in the village of Codrington, just north of Brighton—exactly where company co-owner Jennifer Jarrell McRae grew up. As a kid, she loved to run barefoot through her friend’s apple orchard. Many years later, Jennifer and her husband, Chris, were making cider from local apples at home for friends and family who encouraged them to go into business with their first-rate recipe. So they did, on a farm close to where Jennifer grew up. They planted their own apple trees, with the help of the community, and make use of other local apples and honey, keeping the product all-natural and supporting other local farmers. There are five pounds of apples in every bottle!

Empire Cider, with the crowned crow on the label, is traditional hard cider—unfiltered, unpasteurized and bottle carbonated with local honey.

They call it liquid sunshine. Visit their tastings room and bottle shop.

222 Old Wooler Road, Codrington

William Street Beer Company

What used to be a gas station and garage at a crossroads coming into the west side of town is now producing a fine fuel to wet your whistle. Just two years in, William Street Beer Company has developed quite the following, and several local restaurants offer the ales and bitters on tap. Now the company is stepping up production volume with new brewhouse and fermentation vessels—and a commitment to use fresh hops grown by local farmer, Brandon Bickle, of Bickle Farm Valley Hops (also on the brew trail) for all of the core brews throughout the year.

It’s a long way from brewer Sean Walpole first perfecting his signature Cliff Top Pale Ale in his home. Now he’s doing what he really wanted to do: “Brewing good beer for my community.” If someone tells him that they don’t like beer, he’ll tell them they just haven’t found the kind they like. The styles and flavours of craft beer are “far deeper and more varied than anything wine could ever offer.” Come taste for yourself!

975 Elgin St. W., Cobourg