Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Discuss anything and everything about craft brewers from Ontario here.

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Orval_Al
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Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Orval_Al » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:43 pm

I got a case of the Mondays (12 pack) and I feel like throwing some shade, as the kids would say.

What are the worst Ontario Craft breweries? Let's try and keep the pseudo craft places like Mill St. out of this.

I'll vote for Lake of Bays, a brewery that routinely knocks it out of the park when it comes to blandness and misrepresentation of style.

My second choice would be Hop City, which released that sickeningly sweet black forest cake porter this year, along with another grossly sweet wtf of a beer they called a tropical punch blonde ale. Pouring liquid down the drain never felt so good.

What are your choices?
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby GtownRandy » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:05 pm

I haven’t tried the beers but I will put in an honorable mention for Old Credit Brewing, with their outdated selection of amber ale and Pilsner, with labels designed in windows 95.

Also the few beers from Brothers Brewing in Guelph I’ve had weren’t too good.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Tapsucker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:08 pm

Talk about opening a beer can of worms.

There really is a quantity over quality thing going on in the Ontario scene, so just out of the sheer requirement to remember what we've been disappointed in I think we need all members of this forum to assist.

I'll recuse myself of commenting on any brewers making sours as the whole trend is unappealing enough to me not to fairly comment. But I will remind the members here that Trafalgar were the original whipping boys on Bar Towel when it came to poor quality 'craft' beer and as far as I can tell they were the first to push spoiled beer onto the market. They should have promoted their 'infected spontaneous fermentation' as a brand and grabbed all the hipster attention early. :wink:

As for those attempting (or pretending to) make beer. I think Henderson's is the biggest disappointment for me. For all the investment and community hoopla, the beer (or the one's I have had) are just meh.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby JaseWescott » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:33 pm

Orval_Al wrote:I got a case of the Mondays (12 pack) and I feel like throwing some shade, as the kids would say.

What are the worst Ontario Craft breweries? Let's try and keep the pseudo craft places like Mill St. out of this.

I'll vote for Lake of Bays, a brewery that routinely knocks it out of the park when it comes to blandness and misrepresentation of style.

My second choice would be Hop City, which released that sickeningly sweet black forest cake porter this year, along with another grossly sweet wtf of a beer they called a tropical punch blonde ale. Pouring liquid down the drain never felt so good.

What are your choices?


oh my god that metallic, artificial cherry in the Black Forest Porter by Hop City (MooseHead) was awful :oops:

Brick, Niagara College, etc. have crappy releases but Trafalgar is a special kind of TIRE FIRE hehe
Last edited by JaseWescott on Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby JerCraigs » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:04 pm

Tapsucker wrote:As for those attempting (or pretending to) make beer. I think Henderson's is the biggest disappointment for me. For all the investment and community hoopla, the beer (or the one's I have had) are just meh.


Was there community hoopla for Henderson other than their own promotion? I don't think I have have many legitimately BAD beers from them. They would arguably be among the most disappointing for me - they do enough decent stuff to raise expectations - but definitely not the worst. There are a bunch of breweries in that mid-tier of better / more interesting than macro but not as good as the top tier still.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Tapsucker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:00 pm

JerCraigs wrote:
Tapsucker wrote:As for those attempting (or pretending to) make beer. I think Henderson's is the biggest disappointment for me. For all the investment and community hoopla, the beer (or the one's I have had) are just meh.


Was there community hoopla for Henderson other than their own promotion? I don't think I have have many legitimately BAD beers from them. They would arguably be among the most disappointing for me - they do enough decent stuff to raise expectations - but definitely not the worst. There are a bunch of breweries in that mid-tier of better / more interesting than macro but not as good as the top tier still.


By community I meant their efforts to build a community hub and be a vibrant gathering place in their 'hood. Good on them for that, they have built a nice gathering place. It's just a disappointment that the beer isn't all that good, IMHO. Also, I'm sad when I walk into a bar and they have scored a tap that could have been for something better.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Tapsucker » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:06 pm

JaseWescott wrote:Brick, Niagara College, etc. have crappy releases but Trafalgar is a special kind of TIRE FIRE hehe


I'll give Niagara College a ton of slack, because they are, after all, an experimental facility. I don't think anybody should be misled into thinking they are a production brewery. Instead, we should enjoy the surprises that come when something amazing emerges from there.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby MatttthewGeorge » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:21 am

A vote for Lake of Bays always makes me laugh. The hatred towards them is so off base and totally irrational. Sure their beers tend to be on the safe (bland) side, but I can’t remember ever having an infected or even poorly made beer from them, besides the long defunct River Walker. Not to my tastes, yes for sure, but they’re still made well, and I don’t think they misrepresent many styles, certainly no more than any other brewery.

Look at their current lineup of regs and seasonals:
- Switchback Pilsner: it’s an unfiltered pilsner. Bland and maybe more a Keller. I could give a point here.
- Broken Axe Pale: it’s an American Pale Ale. If you can find it fresh (good luck) it’s actually quite nice.
- Oxtounge IPA: American IPA. Definitely a bit malt forward and less hopped than some but still to style
- Sparkhouse Red: Not my style at all, but it’s a red ale
-Starboard New England IPA: Not as hazy/juicy as it should be, but in the wheelhouse and definitely does not misrepresent the style. First batch of Moxie from GLB was very much like this.
- Pumpkin ale: I hate pumpkin beers, but I remember this one being one of the best on the market
- Nightwatchet Oatmeal Stout: more of a porter than a stout, so a point for misrepresentation. However how many breweries mislabel porter and stout? Too many.
- Spin Dive Summer Gose: A lighter version of Ceres from Nickel Brook. Too tame, but on style
- Pina Grande Coconut Wheat Ale: I found this vile, but it was what was advertised
- West Wind Black IPA: tame but exactly on style
- A Doppel Do Ya Doppel Wiesen: never had it, no comment

In terms of beers I enjoy, lake of bays does not make the list. I agree they’re purposely tame in order to attract the Mill St et al. crowd, of which if you’re on Bartowel you’re not one of them. That said, worst brewery in Ontario? Far from it and quite laughable. Either you haven’t drank many beers from this province, haven’t had any of their beers, or you have an irrational hatred for them. They are not the worst, not even in the bottom 10.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby MatttthewGeorge » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:34 am

A separate post to answer answer the question, the worst brewery is
1) Bayside - so awful, 9/10 times infected, and the fact that ppl drink it makes me said. If I see it on tap at a bar, I’ve lost all respect for that business
2) Brew Windsor - possibly worse than Bayside, but since you can’t get it out of Windsor, that makes me happy, lol
3) Niagara Brewing Co. - Downtown Niagara Falls brewery that opened a few years ago. I was there opening week and beer was so bad I couldn’t believe it. I’m willing to remove from this is if they’ve gotten better, but I doubt it
4) Magnotta - that Inukshk IPA is bad enough to get them on this list. Really awful stuff. Nothing else good either.
5) Grand River - what a fall from grace. Every beer has been changed for the worst and the new beers aren’t good. Such a pitty. Now owned by Magnotta, so might get even worse.
6) Descendants/Bitte Schon - bad enough their beer is rarely on point and always stale, but then they opened a second brewery doing the same thing
7) Ramblin’ Road - that potato beer, good god! And everything else is pretty bad too
8) Neustandt - kinda like Grand River, but not as much of a fall. Had 2 beers recently (Porter & Stout) and both were terrible.
9) Barely Days - it’s been a long time since I had but I’ve never been impressed
10) Brock St - same as Barley Days
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Baulz » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:02 am

MatttthewGeorge wrote:10) Brock St - same as Barley Days


I tried their Blonde Ale a few years ago. It was awful, obviously infected. I emailed to give them a heads up, they offered me a bunch of free shirts and glasses and did not sounds terribly concerned about the beer.

Only recent drain pour I can think of was the Hop City Tropical Ale, I tried hard to drink it but just couldn't do it.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby beerstodiscover » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:18 am

8th Sin Black Lager from Hop City is decent if you like that style.
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Orval_Al
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Orval_Al » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:21 am

MatttthewGeorge wrote:A vote for Lake of Bays always makes me laugh. The hatred towards them is so off base and totally irrational. Sure their beers tend to be on the safe (bland) side, but I can’t remember ever having an infected or even poorly made beer from them, besides the long defunct River Walker. Not to my tastes, yes for sure, but they’re still made well, and I don’t think they misrepresent many styles, certainly no more than any other brewery.

Look at their current lineup of regs and seasonals:
- Switchback Pilsner: it’s an unfiltered pilsner. Bland and maybe more a Keller. I could give a point here.
- Broken Axe Pale: it’s an American Pale Ale. If you can find it fresh (good luck) it’s actually quite nice.
- Oxtounge IPA: American IPA. Definitely a bit malt forward and less hopped than some but still to style
- Sparkhouse Red: Not my style at all, but it’s a red ale
-Starboard New England IPA: Not as hazy/juicy as it should be, but in the wheelhouse and definitely does not misrepresent the style. First batch of Moxie from GLB was very much like this.
- Pumpkin ale: I hate pumpkin beers, but I remember this one being one of the best on the market
- Nightwatchet Oatmeal Stout: more of a porter than a stout, so a point for misrepresentation. However how many breweries mislabel porter and stout? Too many.
- Spin Dive Summer Gose: A lighter version of Ceres from Nickel Brook. Too tame, but on style
- Pina Grande Coconut Wheat Ale: I found this vile, but it was what was advertised
- West Wind Black IPA: tame but exactly on style
- A Doppel Do Ya Doppel Wiesen: never had it, no comment

In terms of beers I enjoy, lake of bays does not make the list. I agree they’re purposely tame in order to attract the Mill St et al. crowd, of which if you’re on Bartowel you’re not one of them. That said, worst brewery in Ontario? Far from it and quite laughable. Either you haven’t drank many beers from this province, haven’t had any of their beers, or you have an irrational hatred for them. They are not the worst, not even in the bottom 10.


Maybe we differ on how incriminating we find blandness in craft beer to be. It bothers me that LOB seems to have a dozen different styles available at any given time, yet none of them ever rise above absolutely mediocrity. Like, not good or okay. Mediocre to poor. This in conjunction with constantly taking up tons of LCBO shelf space really rubs me the wrong way. I understand that shelf space is related to sales, but is LOB really that much more popular that a wealth of other breweries? I feel like maybe there's some weird nepotism or backdoor handshake going on there. Perhaps this is an irrational line of thought, but it happens in all industries.

And I would argue that the Pina Grande yada yada wheat ale was not as advertised. I tasted no coconut whatsoever. It barely even tasted like a wheat beer; more like some strange session ale.

Out of the breweries you listed, I've enjoyed beers from Barley Days, Grand River and Neustadt significantly more than anything I've tried from LOB.

One more place I'd like to add to this inglorious list: Granite Brewery. Went there a couple months ago and got some flights. All the beers where bizarre, flat debacles.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby lister » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:10 pm

Trafalgar is pretty much the bar for bad beers, historically. I appreciated their creativity but man those unintentional sours were brutal. They are the only ones that I've returned to the LCBO for a refund.

There's a bunch of just meh beers and breweries. I think there's a place for that, trying to go after the macro drinkers, particularly existing in areas where there just isn't the density of adventurous beer drinkers. I won't shit on them, I'll just not buy any of their beers.
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby distr0 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:17 pm

I think lake of bays high prices have also contributed to their reputation here. If they were priced similar to the better alternatives, I think people would be more forgiving

To continue the conversation, everything made in Brantford is bad
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Re: Worst Ontario Craft Breweries

Postby Orval_Al » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:53 pm

distr0 wrote:I think lake of bays high prices have also contributed to their reputation here. If they were priced similar to the better alternatives, I think people would be more forgiving

To continue the conversation, everything made in Brantford is bad


That's a good point on LOB prices.

:lol: regarding Brantford. I grew up in Paris so that makes me laugh. I don't hate Bell City to be honest. Peep Show IPA smells like shit, but the taste isn't awful. Also, that beach wheat they put out this summer was half decent.

Has anyone been to Steel Wheel Brewery yet?

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