The Travelling Sommelier: The beers and wines of Collingwood

Thornbury Craft Cider and Brewery. Photo credit: Thornbury Craft Co. Cider & Brew House.
Posted on: December 4, 2023

Consider this Part 2, as last month I wrote about Side Launch Brewery, one of what I consider to be the two top breweries in the Collingwood area. This month I will cover the other one – Thornbury Craft Cider and Brewery located just north along the beautiful blue-green waters of Georgian Bay in Thornbury. They started in the 1800s as a fruit growers building and then became a cidery in the early 20th century, finally in 2016 Thornbury came under the Colio Winery family doing ciders and beers.

We then continued a bit inland up into the rolling hills to Roost Winery where we had the pleasure to sit on the patio on a warm and sunny day overlooking the hills and valleys with trees just beginning to change colour. 

Thornbury Craft Cider and Brewery

Thornbury Blue Mountain Light Lager, 4%abv, clean, dry and refreshing pale lager with aromas of low malt and light floral hop (Hallertauer), and moderately grainy malt flavor in a well balanced dry, crisp finish. LCBO just doubled its order of this one. Nano IPA, 3.2%abv, pale yellow colour, light melon notes with faint citrus – a low key entry crowd pleaser IPA. 20th Anniversary King Pilsner, 4.8%abv, from an award winning recipe, bright and gold coloured, full-bodied and dry finish; hop forward spice and floral aromas with a malt backbone. Well-balanced and crisp, the Bohemian Pilsner malt and Saaz hops come together to create a classic Czech-style Pilsner. Ladder Run Amber Lager, 4.8%abv uses Vienna malt and Noble hops and has a light golden colour with some head/mousse, medium mouthfeel, smooth texture; tasted malt and subtle balancing hop bite notes to cleanse the palate with a crispy richness and toffee-malt. Coffee Pale Ale, 5%abv, light golden colour where they steeped local dark-roast coffee in this smooth pale ale producing an intriguing mix of floral citrusy hops and roasted coffee aromas, all nicely balanced on the palate giving way to a dry, refreshing finish. Dam Dark Lager, 4.8%abv, an authentic Munich-style Dunkel, light chocolate red in colour, with a rich, complex taste that is still light and refreshing; malt forward with subtle hop flavours and hints of nuts, toast and caramel. Clark is in Session, 4.5%abv, is a nod to local history. An old poster advertises the nearby 1912 Clarksburg Fair – a poster featuring a dapper gentleman riding a very large black pig. That was the day that Clark the Pig was born and the pig features on many cider and beer labels. Clark gives this beer his ‘squeak’ of approval! Golden colour and unfiltered, this Session IPA Is hop-forward with a dry finish; aromas of citrus, melon and tropical fruit combine with palate-pleasing hoppiness, spicy tangerine-zest and a soft hint of pine. Haze and Dayz, strong beer at 6%abv, is a golden yellow coloured Hazy IPA with a long lasting head/mousse and a hoppy bite and finish which is restrained but predominant allowing the citrus and stone fruit flavours to emerge in the pleasing finish. 

For a dessert in a glass try the Vodkow Cream Liqueur, $29.95 for 750ml. coming in at 16%abv. It is a beautiful cream liqueur balanced off with Colio Wines spirits. Mix with coffee or take a shot over ice. It has a mouth-coating flavourful creamy and vanilla, butterscotch taste with only a touch of alcohol finish in a balanced blend that keeps it from being cloying or too sweet. 

They have a very good tasting range of quality products and are located at 90 King East, Collingwood, (519) 599-2616. Their brewmaster is James Wilson.

Roost Winery

Roost Winery (519) 599-6269 is located in Clarksburg set in the Blue Mountains, part of the Niagara Escarpment that begins in the Niagara wine region and ends at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to the north. This cold-climate region grows grape varieties like Marquette, Frontenac, L’Acadie, Marechal Foch, Siegerrebe and Lucie Kuhlmann, which I just discovered, an early-ripening grape variety from Nova Scotia that is a crossed sibling of Marechal Foch. Lucie Kuhlmann ripens reliably but tends to have high acidity and an herbaceous character and here is used as a blend with Marquette to make their Sparkling Red, $32.75, harvested early and made in the charmat method, expect a dry red sparkling with fruit, light tannins and beautiful berry flavours. These French hybrid clones are used in more northern climes where ‘noble grapes’ like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, etc., do not grow to maturity. The winemakers Jessica and Michael Maish, produce a range of wines including their best selling wine 2022 Sparkling Rose – Bunch’a Trouble, $28.75, a multi-award winning wine, and their most rewarded wine, recently winning  Double Gold Medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships 2023. Fresh aromatics and notes of warm butterscotch and green apple with hints of off-dry tropical fruit balanced by lively acidity and rich mineral undertones from the hillside limestone beneath the vineyard’s roots. 2022 L’Acadie Reserve, $31.75 at ten dollars has far more fruit extraction than their regular L’Acadie with a slow, wild yeast fermentation at controlled temperatures followed by some aging in French oak barrels. The finished wine is unfiltered, unfined and hand-bottled. Expect a dry wine but with a smooth complexity and minerality, and a hint of apple on the palate, similar to Chardonnay. Two Wrongs Make a Right, $19.75 is, in my opinion, their best white wine blending Semillon and Riesling. Surprisingly aromatic but also benefits structurally with notes of orange peel and cedar, it was light yellow in colour with pear and stone fruit aromas and some complexity notes of vanilla and butterscotch in an off-dry style.

We tried several red wines but the best one, as far as my palate and pocketbook are concerned, is the 2022 Foch, $28.75, 100% Marechal Foch from Four Wheel Farm in Creemore. (BTW try Creemore Lager from their nearby brewery; it is very good). The vines are the oldest in the area and have been cared for meticulously for over 16 years. The fruit is very forward, lightly oaked with notes of currants and black liquorice, and while still a relatively young red, it is already standing up for itself and will only improve with age. It won Silver in the 2023 All Canadian Wine Championships. Check out their website to see their entire portfolio of wines:, and to contact them at

Column by Brian Preston.

The Travelling Sommelier, Portland, ON at

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News