As Kemptville continues to grow (currently the fastest growing community in Eastern Ontario) it only seemed fitting with the amount of entrepreneurs in the area that the North Grenville Chamber of Commerce would eventually host a Wine & Food Show. You can imagine my excitement when I found out for once I didn’t have to drive 30min to attend an event. I was also pleasantly surprised to see two craft breweries listed, Kichesippi Beer Co. (Ottawa, ON) & Lake of Bays Brewing Co. (Baysville, ON)
I’ve had the pleasure of really getting to know Kichesippi’s products over the last year. When we did the craft beer take over at the restaurant one of the first to claim a spot was Kichesippi. Starting off with their Natural Blonde (4.9%) a medium bodied all malt Pale Ale, which I highly recommend. Eventually I lead into a seasonal, Kichesippi Logger; a dark lager brewed in the style of a Pennsylvania Porter (Which I found was the average consumers favourite in December.) I personally also have have a growler which for a very short time was filled up with some delicious 1855 (5.2%.) So when I saw them at the Wine & Food show I obviously popped over to have some Natural Blonde, even though I already knew what they were all about.
Opening in 2010, Lake of Bays Brewing Co. is a still only new but that doesn’t mean that they don’t produce an amazing product. With two year round products and an assortment of seasonsals, Lake of Bays is definitely proving they know what they are doing. Both year round products were available to try, I started off with Crosswind Pale Ale – although it did provide a lot of flavours, (caramel, toasted bread, citrus) I was more intrigued by their Spark House Red Ale. With one sip you could taste the toasted grains, caramel, and toffee coming together into one glorious brew.
With the more tasting I do, the more my palette has started opening up to different flavours. I’ve even started to surprise myself.
Although I am the farthest thing from an expert on wine and I write about craft beer, this wine is local and should get some praise for their amazing products. Blue Gypsy Wines, is owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Louis Gaal and Claire Faguy. In 2011 they opened their fruit winery in Oxford Mills (Where I happened to live close to at a young age, so I was very somewhat familiar of the location.) They are all about local with most of their ingredients for their fruit wines coming from either their own farm or within a 50km radius. The only exception to this would the wild blueberries; sourced in Northern Ontario and the cherries which are sourced in the Niagara region.
It was extremely nice to get to talk one on one with Louis and get the low down on what make Blue Gypsy Wines so special. All Blue Gypsy Wines have minimal amounts of sulfites. Which can cause those nasty hangovers which can sometimes steer people clear from drinking wine. Sometimes sulfites are added to wines to kill off lingering yeast in order to prevent secondary fermentation once the wine is bottled, but not Blue Gypsy Wines.
To date they have a listing of at least nine fruit wines (Ranging from Cranberry, Apple-Maple, Blueberry, etc) and also produce a Blueberry Wine Vinegar (which I was told is excellent to make vinaigrette with.) I sampled some of their Cranberry wine and it was amazing, I’m not a fan of sweet wines and this wine had a great balance of both bitter and sweet traits. Blue Gypsy Wines tasting room is currently closed for the season but will re-open the first Saturday in May. If you’re like me and can’t wait until then they have an online store so you can order at any time of the year.
– The Beer Gypsy