Thursday, June 23, 2011

Visit to Wellington Brewery

Try a Welly on!

Fathers Day - check
Beautiful weather - check
Great people - check
Amazing beer - check

The Beer Geeks and dad headed out to kick off OCB week with a tour, samples and the chance to meet some brewers and staff from Wellington Brewery, Canada's oldest independent micro-brewery. They were celebrating Father's Day with free tours for dad's and were featuring two small batch specialty beers featured in their "Welly One-Off" series.

Admittedly we were excited to try their Black IPA collaboration with F&M Brewery, and we were pleasantly surprised to realize they were also sampling their Blueberry Cedar Bitter. Their Black IPA was fantastic, silky smooth, nice on the nose and packed with flavours. We would love to see it again!

The Black was a tough act to follow, and the Blueberry Cedar Bitter did fairly well, well enough that we bought a few cans to bring home and have a proper sampling of. (quick note, nuanced flavours were much stronger when it was a little warmer, "cellar" temp vs. refrigerated, for those that also have some at home)

However, I digress, this post is supposed to be about the brewery and tour and not their product (which I'm sure you would be pleased with).

Wellington opened in 1985, with a goal to produce English-style real ales for the Ontario market. They only produce cask-conditioned ales that are naturally carbonated, ideally served at cellar temperature (13c-15c), and drawn by a hand pump.

They have a nice walled patio, and grow some hop plants on the pergola that covers it (look for those house hops in the harvest ale this fall!). Their bar area is a dated post and beam style with an older brass fireplace insert (swap carpet for hardwood, re-stain the beams, replace insert, and bam! great looking place). The bar itself is perfect, simple, ample space to serve patrons, display casks, provide snacks. Pop through the door to the "store front" and you are met with a amply stocked, and very delectable display of wares. While we were there for the tour, there was a steady stream of customers bypassing the bar and going straight for the store, a great sign of the quality and popularity of their brews.

Head through the store and you are into the brew house, take a couple strides under the canning line (bottling is done offsite) and you are where the magic happens! Would have been great to see the canning line in operation, but I'm sure there is some health and safety regulation preventing that. They can do 5 can's a time, and when its running well, they are flying down the line. (unfortunately, its a little temperamental)

The original brew house was assembled in England, disassembled and reassembled on site, a delay in shipping pushing back their original opening day. I won't give away everything, suffice to say Bryan provided an informative and interesting 30 minutes about the history of the brewery, their aspirations, and products. We spent much longer sampling their wares and one-offs.

If you decide to head over to Wellington, you will have the opportunity to crunch a few malts, sample a few brews and pick up some to take home. I would recommend anyone local (1-2hrs) make the trip, and if you are driving through, or near, its worth a pit stop. Tours run Saturdays from 1-4p and cost $5. For more information, or if looking for groups of 10 or more, you can get in touch with Brad or check here for more information.


Check off one Dad as VERY pleased with the tour, happy with the tastings and proud of his son for providing a novel Father's Day outing. Sons take your Dads, Dad's take your sons, you'll both have a great day.

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