The other day on a trip through Blyth, Ontario to our camping spot at Point Farms Provincial Park, Liz and I were fortunate enough to make a stop at Cowbell Brewing Company, which is situated on the corners of Highways 4 and 25 in North Huron County.
We had enjoyed a few of Cowbell’s beers before, their Shindig Lager, their Absent Landlord Kolsh, and their Doc Perdue’s Bobcat Red Ale and Boxing Bruin IPA. But we imagined that the brewery was much smaller than it actually was. We fully enjoyed each of the Cowbell beers we had tried, and for some reason had assumed it was a relatively smaller brewery. Perhaps the idea of the cowbell suggested a small brewery run from a farm that also grew hops. (Yeah, I know: the internet – we could have just looked it up) But in any case, seeing the operation was a delightful surprise.
The building itself was a glorious work of art. Attractive and inviting and warm and friendly feeling. The restaurant inside was bustling with a lunch time crowd and plenty of friendly staff. If we hadn’t had the dogs in the car with us, we would have most certainly gone inside to enjoy what looked like a fabulous menu. But Liz stayed outside to let the dogs walk in the fields behind the brewery while I ducked inside to get some beers for our camping trip. The bottle and swag shop was similarly warm and inviting; smiling staff to greet you and answer questions, an excellent selection of cans to go and growler fill options and some pretty awesome shirts, hats and many other related items with the brewery’s logo on them.
Because we wanted to get a variety of beers to enjoy, we ended up picking up the Road Trip mixer pack, which contains the Shindig and most of their Founders’ Series of beers (the aforementioned beers, along with Kelly’s Contraption). Five great beers of different styles to enjoy. What a brilliant idea to make it easy for traveling craft beer lovers to get a variety of wonderful brews without having to manually create their own pack. We grabbed that case as well as a half dozen of small batch releases from the Renegade Series: #019 – Abbey Braggot IPA and #018 – Paradise Lime Wit.
The Abbey Braggot IPA, for example, has a hearty hop taste up front and then is followed by an unexpected malty finish. Definitely a unique one.
These limited releases were as unique and delicious in their own right as the regular beers there, prompting me to sign up for their updates so we can be sure to make the drive from Waterloo to Blyth to check out their next releases in that series.
One of the things I noticed (and hadn’t paid attention to before, perhaps because I’d only ever enjoyed their beers on tap at various great local craft beer bars), is that there’s an intriguing local history story behind each of their Founders’ series beers.
For example, Kelly’s Contraption tells the story of Blyth inventor John B. Kelly who was an engineer and a steam engine genius, who created a working automobile in 1883, four years before Henry Ford. The noise his contraption made frightened horses and was banned from the streets. Check out a short video about this here. There are other tales of the local veterinarian Doc Perdue and the Berkshire, England wealthy landowner who bought most of the town without ever having visited it.
We not only love the beers that Cowbell creates, but the effort put into the stories behind the beers celebrating their town’s history, the presentation of the farm-to-table food from their restaurant and event spaces (that we look forward to enjoying on our next stop), and the overall look and spirited feel of the place suggests one thing: I got a fever and the only prescription is more Cowbell.