Fall for Caledon’s Craft Beverage Trail
Visit these 7 charming destinations to sample and shop for local cider, beer and fruit wine.
Looking for a day trip that combines eating and drinking, foodie shopping and a drive in the countryside? Caledon has you covered. Eye a map of Caledon and you’ll see craft beverage makers make up an almost circular trail. In autumn, Gail Winters of GoodLot Farm & Farmstead Brewing Co. invites visitors to take in the rolling hills and vibrant foliage, “speckled with great local tastes” at her location along with those of her colleagues.
Pop into one of two working fruit farms for a morning pastry and to stock up on cider, wine, fresh fruits and more. Settle in for lunch at one of three outdoor beer gardens while sipping on a crisp beer made just steps away. Or pull up to a brewpub for schnitzel and a German lager. It’s too much to accomplish in a single day – and good reason to start planning your second trip. (And for non-drinkers and kids, there are ample artisanal seltzers, non-alcoholic ciders and other drinks available.)
Here’s a guide to plotting out your visit – check websites for updates.
Badlands Brewing Company: For the insider vibes
13926 Chinguacousy Road
Don’t miss: Inglewood IPA, the third beer in their Spotlight Caledon series, named for the nearby village
Open: Bottle shop Fridays and Saturdays; food Saturdays only
Despite having a bigger brewing operation than when they started, and plenty of spots to sit and sip on their family farm at Chinguacousy Road and King Street, Badlands’ Friday/Saturday-only hours and ever-changing brew list will make you feel like you’re discovering them for the first time. Brewmaster Troy Baxter is deep into IPAs and Double IPAs – watch for an ever-evolving lineup of inventive brews. Badlands leaves themselves “maximum creative freedom” to change things as often as possible, says Troy. All with rotating food options and live music to boot.
Spirit Tree Estate Cidery: The all-around player
1137 Boston Mills Road
Don’t miss: Applelager Cider and Pear Cider
Open: Wednesday to Sunday
Just northwest of Badlands is Spirit Tree Estate Cidery at Boston Mills Road near Mississauga Road, where cider maker Tom Wilson has built a relaxing and engaging playground for foodies and cider lovers. Don’t count on a quick drop-in; your visit here could include an orchard tour, apple picking, a hard cider tasting and a meal or snack in the Cider Gardens. Grab a takeout pizza Friday or Saturday – and artisanal groceries including goodies baked on-site.
GoodLot Farm & Farmstead Brewing Co.: The high energy hang
18825 Shaws Creek Road
Don’t miss: High Fives and Highfalutin, two wet-hopped varieties using hops grown on-farm
Open: Thursday to Sunday
This charming organic hop farm and brewery, northwest of Spirit Tree toward Alton, boasts a lively country beer garden overlooking the hop field Gail and Phil Winters planted long before they made their own beer. Here you’ll sample beers made from those and other local hops – while enjoying live music and a menu from local chef Phil DeWar and other guest chefs. Known for their sunflower-adorned Farmstead Ale, GoodLot also offers sours, pilsners and more. Build in some time to stay for a game of Frisbee golf. And before you leave, visit their wee farmstand filled with produce and floral bouquets from nearby farms.
Sonnen Hill Brewing: The quiet minimalists
20727 Heart Lake Road
Don’t miss: Kellerhell Unfiltered Lager, R&B Fruit Beer
Open: Bottle shop Wednesday to Sunday; food and drink service Friday to Sunday
Sonnen Hill’s chic, elegant can and bottle design may be the first clue that a visit to brewer Callum Hill’s peaceful Heart Lake Road farm (south of Highway 9, near Orangeville) feels good for the soul. Try out a flight of his UK-style pale ales, lagers and mixed-fermentation beers with a charcuterie plate (there’s also occasional food truck fare) at a picnic table in a clearing near the brewery, then ask about walking the farm’s trails. The bottle shop and ordering counter sits in a corner of the barn in full view of the operation’s giant gleaming stainless-steel equipment.
Caledon Hills Brewing Company: The proper brewpub
17219 Highway 50, Palgrave
Don’t miss: Vienna Lager, Bohemian Pils and 1886 Oktoberfest
Open: Tuesday to Sunday
Set in a delightful, renovated church in the village of Palgrave on the east side of Caledon, this family-owned spot beckons for lunch or dinner – enjoy traditional German favourites such as schnitzel and sausage with your draft. Master brewer Stefan Reidelsheimer had been crafting his native country’s brews since 2016 and expanded to this location in 2020. During the pandemic, Stefan and his family soldiered on, installing outdoor tents and service. The airy space inside the pub is punctuated by cheerful yellow and white, circus-like ceiling awnings – an upbeat post-pandemic motif.
Downey’s Estate Winery: The family farm
13682 Heart Lake Road
Don’t miss: Hard Apple Cider, Crimson Cranberry Wine or Framboise Dessert Wine
Part of the sprawling Downey’s estate just north of Brampton on Heart Lake Road, this winery offers hard cider, fruit wine and dessert wines. For more than 20 years, the Downeys have been using their own strawberries, apples and raspberries in their blends. If you’re considering a fall family outing, the farm store, pumpkin patch and play area at Downey’s Farm are open daily. Across the road, Downey’s Strawberry and Apple Farm (at 13707 Heart Lake Road) offers daily apple picking in season – something for everyone!
Pommies Cider Co.: Stock up at the LCBO
Don’t miss: Pommies Original Cider and Pommies Cranberry Cider (seasonal)
Caledon’s Pommies isn’t open to the public, but your next at-home tasting would be incomplete without one of their light, crisp ciders, so we recommend stopping at the LCBO in downtown Caledon East to complete your set.
For more information go to visitcaledon.ca
This article was created in partnership with Town of Caledon.