Golf and beer go together like bacon and eggs or fish and chips – a word pairing that’s quite obvious to anyone with discerning taste. Each one is better with the other.
As I’ve written before, there are two kinds of beer drinkers: those that appreciate the taste and texture of fine premium brands and creative craft beers; and those to whom a beer is just a beer. I call the latter group ‘volume drinkers’ and my fridge at home is always stocked with a case of some recognizable big brand. The volume drinkers are happy with that. No point wasting the good stuff on them – they can’t appreciate it anyway.
For others, who have a thirst for something special or a desire to discover new options, there’s an array of stouts, pilseners and ales from all over the world and samplings from local craft breweries in Ontario. Occasionally, through intense conversion therapy, I’m able to help a volume drinker find a different path.
Finding new beers is something of a passion of mine. The shelves at the LCBO are filled to the roof with a dizzying display of options but that’s like fishing in a stocked pond. I prefer to get on the road and go to the source – and when I can combine a road trip with a round of golf, so much the better. Such was the case on a recent golf outing to Parry Sound.
There are three terrific courses in the area – Ridge at Manitou, Seguin Valley and Parry Sound Country Club. You can read more about them HERE.
Unfortunately, on this particular day, our round of golf was washed out. My playing partners headed back to their cottage, but I decided to visit the Trestle Brewing Company in downtown Parry Sound.
The brewery is situated alongside the Seguin River where it flows into Georgian Bay. The location faces west and offers a spectacular view of the train trestle that traverses the skyline and the harbour beyond and must be awesome at sunset. Sitting on the patio, even on a dreary day threatening more rain, was pretty special.
According to their website, Trestle was founded by Chris and Dave – two guys who met in university and had other careers, before deciding to start a brewery together. Since I arrived without notice, I was unable to spend time with the owners but look forward to a return visit when we can talk about why and how, Trestle and food, and of course, beer.
One of the toughest decisions on these craft brewery visits is deciding which offerings to include on the requisite flight. Picking just four beers out of more than a dozen is like being a kid in a candy store with just a nickel to spend. They all sound so good.
Like most craft breweries, Trestle has a unique slate of intriguing names for their product, many paying homage to the local history of the region. The first and obvious one is 30,000 Islands IPA. Parry Sound is a jumping off point to the 30,000 Islands, one of the best boating regions in the world. Others like Big Sound and South Channel also relate to the water.
Underpass Micro IPA was a more of a mystery until I read the story. Apparently, during testing of the Avro Arrow back in the late 50’s, a test pilot flew from Malton to Parry Sound and decided to fly under the railway trestle. Another was BYB White IPA, an acronym for Bone Yard Bay, where during the logging days, old ships and work boats were set ablaze and disposed of in the harbour.
I enjoyed 30,000 Islands IPA (6.3% ABV), No Service Sour Series (4.5%) with passion fruit, orange and guava, South Channel Hazy Pale Ale (5.9%) and Salt Dock Jump (4.3%), a refreshing Saison beer on my flight. All were refreshingly light and tasty.
While I limit myself to one flight if I’m driving, the good news is that the onsite store has the rest of the menu available in cans for delayed enjoyment. Big Sound Lager, Underpass, BYB, 60,000 Islands IPA and Arrow German Pilsener made the trek home and I look forward to trying them soon and reading the fascinating stories that spawned them.
Beatty Covenant (Belgian Strong with Cherries 8.7%), Yard Sale Saturday (Kentucky Common 4.7%) and Brag Load (Imperial Stout 9%) didn’t make it this time but will definitely be on the menu for my return visit. Trestle has also recently released Firewood Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout, described as follows, “Firewood is aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for over 6 months. It’s full of flavours of rich chocolate, coffee and roast melding with notes of oak, bourbon and vanilla from the barrel. At 10.5%, it’s a slow sipper that can be enjoyed now, or cellared to savour later.
Sounds pretty good to me.
So did the restaurant menu. Trestle Brewing is a member of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance, which means they are committed to using and showcasing locally grown and raised products. That includes everything from beef, chickens and cheese to fish and maple syrup.
The Trout Board beckoned but for a party of one, was probably more than I could handle. I chose the Dirty Bird: Buttermilk marinated chicken thighs coated with seasoned corn flour and dressed with your choice of mild, medium or hot sauce. Served on a bun and topped with creamy slaw. Comes with our famous house cut fries and a dill pickle.
Delicious! For a return visit, I already have my eye on the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich.
One final note on the Trestle Brewing Company: the staff were incredibly welcoming and friendly. They went out of their way to make it a fun spot to be. That’s another great reason to come back.
For more information on Trestle Brewing Company, click HERE.