Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

Local craft brew at Dinner

Mike Corrie, a native of Clinton, is owner of Stone House Brewing Company near Varna.

Conservation Dinner to feature Huron’s first craft brew

Beer from Varna’s Stone House Brewing Company, Huron County’s Original Brewery, featured at Conservation Dinner on April 6, 2017 at South Huron Recreation Centre

The Conservation Dinner gala charitable auction will feature a local craft beer for the first time in addition to featuring local wine. “We are excited to feature finely-crafted local beer from Huron County’s Original Brewery at this year’s Conservation Dinner,” said Mary Ryan-Allen, Co-Chair of the Dinner Committee. “It is exciting to see the growth of craft brewing and Stone House Brewing Company near Varna has been a local leader in this growing movement.”

Stone House Brewing Company is the home of Huron County’s first craft beer. This “small, charming brewery,” nestled in Huron County, opened in May of 2016. It is located just five kilometres east of Bayfield, at 76050 Parr Line, just north of Varna, Ontario. “We are pleased to have a local craft beer featured for tasting at the Conservation Dinner for the first time,” said Janet Clarke, Co-Chair of the Dinner Committee. “It is through the generosity of donors such as Mike Corrie and the Stone House Brewing Company that this charitable dinner event has been able to support nature education and parks and recreation, accessible trails, and other projects in the local community for more than a quarter of a century.”

The 2017 Conservation Dinner takes place on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at South Huron Recreation Centre, 94 Victoria Street East, Exeter, Ontario. Patrons at the auction will be able to try a sample of the Stone House brew. 

Tourists visiting the area, and locals, are discovering the local Stone House craft brewery and its fine beer.  The beautiful field stone façade of the Stone House Brewing Company’s new building, near Varna, gives the firm its name. The firm’s spacious and inviting tasting room inside is as impressive as the building’s exterior. 

The owner of Stone House Brewing Company is Mike Corrie, a native of Clinton. The Business Administration and Management graduate has more than 20 years of experience in the brewing industry (making and distributing beer). He said he is honoured to have his Czech-style Pilsner beer featured at this year’s Conservation Dinner. “I’m happy to be part of this event,” he said. “The Conservation Dinner does so much for the community and that’s great.”

Daily and weekly newspapers have featured columns and articles about this new craft brewery. A London Free Press column was headlined ‘Small Huron County offers big beer flavour.’ The media coverage has been positive and ‘word of mouth’ has also helped grow the brewery. Tourists and locals alike are enjoying the beer and the locale. Visitors from larger urban centres particularly like the spacious country setting of Stone House Brewing Company, according to Corrie. The local brewery has been so successful that, in its early days, it often sold out a batch of beer before the next batch was ready. “I’ve been quite happy with the response from the community,” said Corrie.

The Stone House Brewing Company brews a true Czech Pilsner beer “under the watchful eyes of a German-trained brewmaster.” The quality water source for the beer is drawn from a local aquifer through a 250-foot deep well. The craft brewery’s Canadian two-row malted barley has been called “one of the finest in the world.” The beer’s source of hops is Saaz, which traces its heritage back to Czech origins. The Saaz hop is one of four hop varieties that, grown in its place of origin, is classified as a ‘noble’ hop. Growing and using of Saaz hops has its beginnings in Žatec, Czech Republic, with a 700-year tradition. ‘Noble’ hops are used in beer for their lack of bitterness, lovely aroma, and enjoyable flavor. Famous beers such as Stella Artois and Pilsner Urquell are flavoured with Saaz hops.

The combination of a rural setting, excellent water and ingredients, and a flavourful beer have contributed to Stone House’s success. The Stone House craft brewery sells its beer in containers including the Growler, or ‘Little Brown Jug.’ (Growlers come in various shapes and sizes. The Stone House growler is 64 ounces or 1.89 litres in size. Refills are available at the brewery’s Varna-area location). Patrons of the brewery can also buy beer by the glass at the Varna brewery. The brewery’s owner is planning to add a licensed outdoor porch in the summer.

Stone House offers tour and tasting events. To learn more about Huron County’s Original Brewery visit or call 519-281-1167 or email

The Exeter Lions Club and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation have worked together on the Conservation Dinner as a community fundraiser for more than a quarter of a century. If you would like to buy a ticket for this year’s gala charitable auction and dinner, or get on the waiting list when tickets sell out, phone 519-235-2610 or toll-free 1-888-286-2610. Tickets are $75 each. Patrons receive a charitable gift receipt, for income tax purposes, for a portion of that amount. 

About the Conservation Dinner

The annual charitable gala Conservation Dinner features live and silent auctions of art and other distinctive items including travel packages; sports and entertainment memorabilia; jewellery and more. The event also includes special raffles, general raffles, appetizers, wine and beer tasting, fun and fellowship, and a wonderful meal.

Net proceeds from the event are divided evenly between local projects of the Exeter Lions Club and the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation. This community event has raised more than $1 million in net proceeds for projects benefitting people in this area, thanks to donors and businesses; patrons and guests; volunteers and artists.

The Conservation Dinner funds projects in local communities throughout the watershed. This gala charitable auction has provided financial support for community projects such as:

  • Busing for students and nature education and recreation programs at schools and conservation areas
  • Creating and maintaining accessible trails such as MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail and Rock Glen Conservation Area in Arkona
  • Parks such as MacNaughton Park
  • Stocking fish in Morrison Reservoir (Morrison Lake) for the annual family-friendly fishing derby
  • Offering a bursary for youth
  • Providing work experience and employment opportunities for youth
  • Replacing a fishing dock replacement; accessible playgrounds and conservation area upgrades such as trail stairways and boardwalks; tree planting to enhance habitat; a new Woodland Reflection Shelter pavilion to pause along the trail and commune with nature and remember loved ones; and much, much more.

The Conservation Dinner is at South Huron Recreation Centre, 94 Victoria Street East, Exeter, Ontario on Thursday, April 6, 2017. Visit or to find out more.

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