River Road Brewing & Hops

If you’re a fan of locally brewed craft beers, live music, or adorable farm animals – or a combination of all three – I think you’re going to enjoy this post!

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Huron County’s first farm-based brewery: River Road Brewing & Hops. Now, I’ve been known to enjoy a brewery or two – I’ve visited several of them all over Ontario – but believe me when I say that this was certainly one of the most unique and memorable breweries I’ve ever been to! Owners Nikki and Dave Andrews, both Bayfield locals, believe in sustainable brewing and grow their own hops and barley, creating a true “farm to table” (or is it farm to glass?) brewing experience. I’d learned about River Road via Instagram and it had piqued my interest, but it was when I saw that they have their own herd of highland cattle that reside on the property (I have a love for farm animals) that I knew I had to go check them out for myself.

As soon as we pulled into the parking lot and got out of our car, we were greeted by a friendly barn cat. Tania is a total “cat person” so she was immediately sold!

Don’t get me wrong, I think cats are cute, but I was WAY more excited to see the farm animals! River Road’s own herd of highland cattle, who were happily lazing and grazing around in their pasture, couldn’t have cared less that we were there – but I was still thrilled to see them.

As an animal lover, this sign made my day.

After a few minutes of cattle-watching, we headed inside the brewery. We were greeted by Meg, who was super friendly and personable, and she walked us through all of the beers on tap. There are a ton of choices, so it was helpful to have someone knowledgeable about the offerings who could narrow down the options for us. River Road also sells popcorn, chips and baked goods if you’d like a snack to go with your beverage. We decided to partake in a flight of four samples so that we could try a few different options, then we headed out to the fields to sip and enjoy!

River Road has a massive outdoor seating area, with several picnic tables and Muskoka chairs, and an outdoor stage where they host live music events.

Out of the four samples we chose, three were beers: the Zesty Farmer (a citrusy pale ale), the Cherry Blonde (a blonde ale infused with fresh cherries) and the River Road Blonde (a malty blonde ale that happens to be their signature brew). We also decided to try – on Meg’s recommendation – the light and refreshing Sangria Seltzer, which is a classic seltzer infused with apple, orange and lemon. The Cherry Blonde was sweet, fruity and delicious – our definite favourite of the four! The Zesty Farmer came in a close second – I love citrus-forward beers. River Road describes the flavour as “lemon pie meets light beer” and I think that’s a perfect characterization. I also heard that they offer a pumpkin-infused beer in the fall, which I can’t wait to return and try!

There are even more farm animals out by the seating area, which made my day. We spent a leisurely hour sipping our beers and listening to live music, surrounded by sheep, horses and ducks. All in all… a perfect afternoon!

Do you have any favourite craft breweries in Ontario to recommend? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email – would love to hear any suggestions y’all have!

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