You’re not going to find any quality fall colours at the bottom of a pint in a downtown dive. Hit the 404 northbound, then head west, for the best eats, suds, and leaves.
Stop One: Stouffville
Drinks: Applewood Farm & Winery
Chat up owners Matt and Stephanie Passafiume as you sample stellar meads and ciders from fruit grown on this charming family-run farm. A highlight is the sparkling Mac Mead, which contains in-season McIntosh apples and honey. After a stop at the petting zoo, put restless travellers to work picking nine varieties of apples (and, later, pumpkins).
12442 McCowan Rd., 905-642-4720, applewoodfarmwinery.com.
Eats: Red Bulb Espresso Bar
Grab your designated driver a peppy espresso ($1.94), and line the drinkers’ stomachs with homemade three-raisin cinnamon scones ($2.42) from this bright and airy coffee shop on Stouffville’s main strip.
6148 Main St., 905-591-2054, redbulb.ca.
Stop Two: Barrie
Drinks: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery
On weekends, employee Bruce Richardson (a.k.a. “The Beerophile”) leads a super-fun brewery tour, with lots of free suds along the way. At the on-site shop, pick up rare brews, like Green Man Imperial Lager, made using the brewery’s pilot system, specifically for experiments.
107 Dunlop St. E., 705-721-8989, theflyingmonkeys.ca.
Eats: The Local Gastropub
Pair your pint of Flying Monkeys with a Scotch egg or fish and chips from this well-frequented eatery on Barrie’s waterfront, just a short walk from the brewery. Scottish-expat owners Scott and Hollis Connor are mad about Ontario-made brews, with 13 taps devoted to the stuff, including two for one-offs and seasonal varieties.
37 Dunlop St. W., 705-252-9220, thelocalgastropub.com.
Stop Three: Creemore
Drinks: Creemore Springs Brewery
Sip free samples of Creemore’s three lagers and its new specialty Mad & Noisy line of brews. If you’re itching to high-tail it back to T.O., the 20-minute tour is short and sweet—but to get a glimpse of the brewery’s big expansion, you’ll have to peek through some construction tape.
139 Mill St., 800-267-2240, creemoresprings.com.
Eats: Creemore Kitchen
Opened in May 2013, right across the street from the brewery, this resto serves up meat and veg from local farmers alongside classics like fried chicken and biscuits. Wash down with your choice of beer from three Creemore taps. 134 Mill St.,