Guide to New Breweries in the County (Part 2)

In part one of Kingstonist’s introduction to the new(er) breweries in Prince Edward County, we featured County Road Beer Company in Hillier, and Parsons Brewing Company located just on the edge of Picton itself. The final two breweries featured are in the heart of Picton, perfect for a weekend getaway.

555 Brewing Company

555 Brewing Company, brewery, Prince Edward County, PEC, Ontario

Given that the main drag of Picton was a construction nightmare last summer, it’s fortunate that Drew Wollenberg’s–head brewer and one of the owners’ of the lauded County Canteen–dream of opening a brewery wasn’t affected by it. Occupying a prime spot on Main Street, 555 Brewing Company’s exterior offers an expansive patio perfect for a beer garden. And while it might be tempting to sample your flight of Munich helles and American IPA on an empty stomach, if you venture inside the brewery, you will also see from the gorgeous crimson-tiled pizza oven crouched in the corner, that wood-fired pizzas might be just the thing to sate your appetite.

When asked what made him decide on pizza, he laughed and said, “We needed something that wasn’t going to take up a lot of space, because the brew house is undersized, so we decided to do pizza and pretzels. We didn’t have to have giant range hoods or deep fryers. We’re gonna start getting creative {with the menu}; the mustard for the pretzels is made with our beer and we will using our spent grain. We’re even gonna cook paella on the patio!”

555 Brewing Company, brewery, Prince Edward County, PEC, Ontario

Wollenberg, a former homebrewer, takes pride in that he doesn’t just brew the beer, you will likely find him serving you behind the taps or encouraging you to join him for a tour of the brewery. “It’s a big reason why I wanted to do this. I didn’t want the brewing to be tucked away. I like serving someone the beer and 9 times out of 10 they want to talk about it,” he grins. The brewery takes its name from a local court case from the turn of the century with its motif of justice in the logo’s design. The beers themselves do truly reflect a more judicial bent with the names like The Jury, a bright crisp pale ale, and the Executioner, a heady unfiltered dry cider that clocks in at a dangerously delicious 9.5% ABV. The styles of beer on offer range from more traditional styles (IPAs and lagers) to kettle sours; there is also a grab and go fridge full of growlers and bottles near the door.

In the thick of tourist season and beyond, Wollenberg hopes to continue to offer more special food events in addition to the pizzas on the menu. After all, there is plenty of room–and call–for it. 555 Brewing Company is well on its way to being as much of a destination as its sister brewpub, the County Canteen, and Wollenberg wouldn’t have it any other way.

555 Brewing Company, 124 Picton Main St., Picton, ON, 613-476-5556.

Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company

Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company, brewery, Prince Edward County, PEC, Ontario

Photo credit: Aaron McKinney

If you’re looking for a taste of the laidback West Coast surfer lifestyle, look no further than Prince Eddy Brewing Company. The impressively spacious brewery is stationed just past the Picton Fairgrounds, where on a sunny day, you will see locals and beer tourists alike sharing a sip at one of the many picnic tables outdoors. Aaron McKinney, the owner of Prince Eddy’s, emits his own chill vibe as he shows me around the facility. Set up on a 20 barrel system, the brewery is geared for the demand of craft beer, and McKinney makes no bones about wanting to meet that demand. “When I did my research I asked {other brewers}, ‘what would you do all over again?’ And the answer was, ‘Start bigger.’ It takes the same amount of time to brew 20 liters as it does 2,000, right?,” he grins. McKinney is also quick to add that what he loves about starting a brewery: “It’s a really cool industry, unlike any industry I’ve ever been a part of. An industry where your best friends are also your competition. Everybody here helps each other out.”

Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company, brewery, Prince Edward County, PEC, Ontario

Photo credit: Aaron McKinney

Prince Eddy’s tap list often consists of four core beers: their signature Chin Dropper blonde ale as well as an IPA, and their increasingly popular C.R.E.A.M. ale. But if you ask McKinney what the brewery’s goal would be, he answers, “We are trying to make beers that would be the ultimate beach beer and match our brand. My dream beer is a New England-style IPA: super hazy, kinda super juicy.”

In keeping with the youthful ambiance at the core of the brewery’s branding, Prince Eddy’s might be the only craft brewery in the area that can boast of a skate ramp on site! There are no plans to expand into food but McKinney does plan on having food trucks pull up in case his customers feel the need to nosh while sipping their samples. The brewery regularly updates their website to let visitors know what they can expect, which can be anything from live music to a recent stint by a traveling barber. Prince Eddy’s may be the youngest brewery in the County–they’ve only been open since May–but given the bonhomie of their atmosphere and the crushable brews, they will likely be here for a long time to come.

Prince Eddy’s Brewing Company, 13 Macsteven Dr., Prince Edward, ON., 613-438-5973.

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