After exploring the eastern edge of the Bay of Quinte region’s Cheddar and Ale Trail (with delicious detours to MacKinnon Brothers and Wilton Cheese Factory), I was ready to discover the flavours of the north. Many of the region’s thriving family farms are found throughout the Quinte West, Hastings County and Stirling-Rawdon countryside, the fertile soil and lush pastures ideal for growing the local ingredients that brewers, cheesemongers and chocolatiers use in their wares. Cycle the Trent-Severn Waterway in the fall and you’ll find Gateway Brewing, Church-Key Brewing, Empire Cider, Empire Cheese, The Apple Store, The Village Chocolatier and Ontario Water Buffalo Company… and some gorgeous fall colours, to boot!
Stirling is one of the prettiest places in the region, its streets lined with historic buildings, boutique shops and a picture-perfect babbling river and covered bridge in the heart of the village. Start your road cycling adventure here and make your way throughout the countryside on this gently rolling looped route. There are many Cheddar and Ale and Chocolate and Apple Trail tasting opportunities, such as The Apple Store, Empire Cheese and The Village Chocolatier. There is only one big climb on this route, but you’re rewarded with a fun descent into the village of Campbellford, home to Church-Key Brewing where a flight and a brewery tour are a refreshing break from pedalling. Ontario Water Buffalo Company is on this route too! The Buff Stuff Store, offering cheeses and meats provided by the herd, is open Tuesday through Sunday (don’t forget a cooler bag to store your precious cargo!) While your cleats aren’t the best choice for visiting the farm, you may be able to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants as you ride by.
You will have earned every nibble of cheese, bite of chocolate and pint of beer on this challenging road cycling route that takes your through some of the Bay of Quinte’s most charming towns. Your adventure starts in the heart of Quinte West in Trenton, taking a northerly route towards Stirling and Campbellford. The historic Trent-Severn Waterway and lush farmlands are the backdrop for much of your ride, which includes friendly Frankford, Wooler and Codrington. Cheddar and Ale Trail must-sees on this looped route include Empire Cider, Empire Cheese and Village Chocolatier. A breathtaking descent into Trenton takes you to Gateway Brewing, where you can finally put up your feet in the Tap Room and sample one of their handcrafted beers. Their summer seasonal, Jethro’s Farmhouse Ale, would definitely hit the spot after an epic day in the saddle.
What goes up must come down! This out-and-back road cycling route bookends the challenging terrain of Hastings County with thirst quenching Ontario craft beer. Starting in Trenton, head north through the sprawling countryside, where our region’s vibrant agricultural heritage comes to life. Peaceful pastures are filled with quietly grazing dairy cattle and barley fields are abuzz with busy honey bees… this route is backroad cycling at its best. Your halfway mark is Codrington, home to Empire Cider where a refreshing hard apple cider is waiting to be sampled! Once you arrive in Campbellford, stop for a bite to eat at Capers Restaurant, or carb up like a boss at Dooher’s Donuts. If your legs are willing, take a detour out along Country Road 38 to Church-Key Brewing just outside of Campbellford for a pint. Not ready for another hill? You can stay in town and sample Church-Key’s offerings at The Stinking Rose Pub and Taproom, too!