Richard Courneyea has been a prominent Belleville, Ontario business man for years. It used to be a treat to stop in his Richard Davis men’s wear store on Front Street just to see him dressed as if he’d walked out of GQ magazine. But for the last few years he has been dreaming about getting out of the clothing business and reopening the old Corbyville Distillery site. The long term goal was a craft distillery but he would start with a craft brewery.
Two years of road construction on Front Street in downtown Belleville was the incentive he needed to shift gears and follow his dream. Today, I saw Belleville’s formerly best dressed man in cargo shorts, a beer shirt and far more gray hairs than when I saw him last, but he was glowing with happiness. His craft brewery opened July 23 and a week later his patio has been full of customers drinking in the beer, the ambiance and the view with equal relish.
Richard is not someone who starts small and builds. The Old Corbeyville Distillery building has been subdivided into a 4,000 sq. ft event hall with an onsite kitchen that caters to 270 at a seating. It is already booking up fast for receptions, weddings and corporate events. There is a 1000 sq ft bottle shop in the centre and then the working brewery at the other end. The event hall opens onto a huge outdoor patio overlooking the Moira River. He hopes this to become a hub of cultural activity in the quiet riverside community of Corbyville.
This is a destination craft brewery where people will want to come and bring their friends to enjoy the ambiance, the beer, the food and the sights and sounds of the river, and yes there will be live music. The outdoor patio allows it to be family friendly.
I dragged my reluctant driver / photographer husband out to the Signal Brewery this hot Saturday but the minute we walked through the door we both said, “Wow!”. We explored the beautiful riverside patio and views of the water conservation dam upstream with its mini waterfall and walkways out over the river with seating areas for people who wanted to just enjoy the space apart from the crowds.
We had such a beautiful afternoon enjoying the flight of beer samplers, the appetizers and cooling breezes off the river. that we spent our time listing people we had to bring out with us the next time we visit.
I’m not a beer fan but even I loved the beer. For the traditionalist, Radio Tube, the Pilsner has all the appropriate flavours, of this Czech favourite, the German Alt Beer, Ohm, is a tawny ale with overtones of coffee, Wave, a pale ale will be a huge hit with its notes of grapefruit with a soupçon of pineapple sweetness, and the very hoppy Byte IPA had the traditional IPA flavours with a hint of orange peel. These are delightful summertime brews.
It’s no longer just Prince Edward County that has the glorious spots to visit. Thank you Richard Courneyea for your vision!
Please add your comments below of your experience at Signal Brewing Co.
Blog by Veronica Leonard, Photography by Colin Leonard