|The end of a long and winding road for Polkapolooza 2017.|
|First Fight of the day!|
A unique place was in our sights as we drove to Norfolk county : Peanut legend John Picard, and his Ramblin' Road Brewery Farm. Long a tourist destination for their delicious snacks, it became apparent that the growing craft beer industry in Ontario was a logical next step when you have a giant farm and thirsty, peanut loving people to help. We were greeted warmly by a couple of Ramblin' folks, including Granny, who insisted we come upstairs and meet John himself, who was manning the grill in the restaurant above the taproom. A little surprised that the brains behind the entire operation would be hard at work making burgers for the hungry visitors, when I got to talking with John, you understood why. He talked of an honest and hard working group of people who not only enjoyed the labour of love but the beer as well. He was a blue collar, truly down to earth guy and if we didn't have so far to go, I would have settled in for one of those delicious looking burgers and a few pops of my own. We took our leave with a six pack, some salty snacks and a promise to come back when the Hop garden was in full swing. Make this one part of a day trip to Norfolk and I think you'll find yourself smiling like we were. Make sure to say hi to Granny, she's pretty awesome all by herself.
|Stop #2! Ramblin' Road was all about stocking up!|
Returning to a place I had visited solo back in the summer of 2016, we drove into New Limburg Brewing and took a seat at the bar in the converted school room for a little rest before the next leg of the long day. Established as a haven for Belgian inspired craft beer, the staff was quick and courteous, with time to chat about how they are always going back to the masters of the style to remind themselves the level of perfection they were after. Kathryn laughed at how weird it felt to be drinking beer in an old elementary school and we looked forward to coming back for some patio drinks as the weather warmed. Winners of my favourite Dubbel and Blonde Ale for last year, I was happy to see their Quad was in stock and after our all too brief rest, we loaded up more bottles and drove on toward St. Thomas for the next leg of the day.
|Such a cool looking brewery at Stop #3, New Limburg!|
A big seller in the LCBO and makers of the delectable Black Coal stout, Railway City Brewing were an hour's drive away, but we took our time and enjoyed every moment. Spring was slowly awakening in the small towns and farms we passed and as we pulled into the parking lot, we knew it was time for a pint.
|Stop #4 was the very busy Railway City!|
The taproom was jammed with a bachelor party outing and the tours they conduct on the weekends, but the staff remained cheerful and quick to help get your glass filled despite the seeming chaos all around us.
|Saturday afternoon was rockin'!|
We settled in for a flight each and then met the soon to be departing Sonya, who made the day at Railway City even more fun with her enthusiasm for all things craft beer. It was to be her last day at this brewery before heading off to work for Barrie's Flying Monkeys, but she was a wonderful proponent of all the things this St. Thomas brewery was doing and made sure I got a pint of Dead Elephant before we left.
|Sonya was a great host! Good luck at Flying Monkeys!|
It is always fun to hang out and just people watch as they try new beers and experience what we were getting almost every time we stopped and spent time at a taproom. Joy, excitement and laughter filled the air and it behooves you to add this excellent space to your next south western road trip.
|Arty flights by Polk.|
|Forked River, stop #5.|
|London Brewing Co-op was stop #6!|
|Beer Friends back together!|
|Want to know where the beer comes from? They tell the tale with this map. Awesome!|
|Pints and good times.|
|Toboggan Brewing for the 7th stop of the day.|
|The 8th stop and 50th brewery visited for |
Polkapolooza, Anderson Craft Ales!
made them a logical choice for the place to end this wonderful week of beer. When we showed up, it was a happening place and we happily took a tour of the brewery with Jim, who had just celebrated his birthday that week and is the father to brewmaster Gavin. Proudly showing us the hard work they had put into building this family run business, we headed back to the taproom for a few pints and the first of the surprises that took this stop into the stratosphere. Working hard behind the taps was my good friend Pat, who I met before he joined the team at Anderson and someday hope to collaborate on some home brews with. He snagged us a few pints before we headed up to the loft style beer gardens and as I turned around, I was greeted by fellow beer reviewer Parker Edwards (his Instagram here). A happy, bearded fellow, Parker and I had planned on sharing a pint and then some beer saint gifts before the end of the night, but little did we know what awaited us upstairs.
|Such delicious Beer!|