Ontario Brewery of the Year

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Ontario Brewery of the Year

Postby midlife crisis » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:40 pm

I see that Stephen Beaumont opines that Muskoka is the Ontario brewery of the year:

http://worldofbeer.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/looking-back-post-3-ontario-brewery-of-the-year/

Mine, however, would be Amsterdam, in a close vote. To me, they have consistently made the best seasonals / one-offs, from the Smoked Porter and Spring Bock in the spring, to the Wee Heavy, Boneshaker, Nightman Cometh and the outstanding Tempest as the year progressed.

My honourable mention would go to Great Lakes, with cask Canucklehead being my Beer of the Year. Great Lakes showed an admirable commitment to expanding cask ale in the city, particularly in the west end, and no one can beat them for the sheer volume and originality of their one-offs.

Rounding out my top five would be Beau's (love the seasonals and the Wild Oats beers), Muskoka (Mad Tom a great new addition), and Granite (great to see them experimenting with some new beers, notably the Darkside IPA and the Mild).

What would yours be?
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Postby Belgian » Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:59 pm

Good thoughts. I too would raise my glass to Muskoka and Amsterdam in particular, with no less respect to the other mentions. This province has become a place that believes in brewing better beer.
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Postby Tapsucker » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:14 pm

This has been a great year in this province and will be a close race. I think I'll go back and re-sample everything I can before casting my vote!
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Postby TheSevenDuffs » Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:29 pm

Can't argue with Muskoka being given this honour. I think Flying Monkeys and Amsterdam gave then a run for their money though.
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Postby The Mick » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:41 am

I'm not trying to take anything away from Flying Monkeys, they're my favoutrite Ontario brewery and I think they definitely could compete for a top 5 spot, but with respect to the past year I think Muskoka and Amsterdam did more. It would be a tight race between them and Great Lakes for 3rd. In 2012 they could really crank it up to eleven and take top honours.
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Postby matt7215 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:52 am

Great Lakes
Muskoka
Amsterdam
Flying Monkeys

Id be fine with any of those
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Postby JeffPorter » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:48 am

I'd have to echo the toss up between Amsterdam and Muskoka:

For Muskoka:

-packaging and design
-Mad Tom being the first Ontario AIPA for wide release and being a knock out!
-Tweaking the Summer Weiss
-Strong seasonals (again) with Harvest and DCCS


For Amsterdam:

-Tempest!!!
-Boneshaker (I actually prefer this to Mad Tom occasionally but you have to hit the brewery when they bottle it.
-their work with home-brewers (brew days, nightman cometh)
-lesser known things they did, too, like, elementary pale ale (single malt/hop)

For me, between the two Amsterdam slowly eeks them out, but only because of Tempest...

(Hmm...still have several left...should I have one tonight?)

Although, Great Lakes get lots of points if for no other reason than the cans of Crazy Canuck.
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Postby notdan » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:19 pm

It's hard for me to commend Amsterdam when it's basically impossible for someone outside the GTA to try all their seasonals and one-offs. Likewise, I might vote for Beau's because of their Wild Oat series and amazing Oktoberfest celebration (as well as their commitment to admirable causes like Operation Come Home and their solar panel venture).

However, the new beer I drank the most of this year was definitely Mad Tom (love centennial hops, it's been very consistent, and really easy to find). So I'd be good to support Muskoka on this as well.
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Postby andrewrg » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:50 pm

I have to vote for Amsterdam. Tempest is easily my favourite Ontario beer that I had this year, and especially the bourbon barrel version I had at Volo. Boneshaker is also an excellent reason to love Amsterdam.

Plus it is the closest brewery to where I live.
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Postby PeenSteen » Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:55 pm

Great Lakes by a lot
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Postby matt7215 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:22 pm

just spun this off into a pole if you all care to vote, i used the 5 breweries mentioned so far in this thread as options
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Postby JeffPorter » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:21 pm

notdan wrote:It's hard for me to commend Amsterdam when it's basically impossible for someone outside the GTA to try all their seasonals and one-offs. Likewise, I might vote for Beau's because of their Wild Oat series and amazing Oktoberfest celebration (as well as their commitment to admirable causes like Operation Come Home and their solar panel venture).

However, the new beer I drank the most of this year was definitely Mad Tom (love centennial hops, it's been very consistent, and really easy to find). So I'd be good to support Muskoka on this as well.


I was going to mention Beau's as well, and I think if I lived in eastern Ontario they'd easily get my vote...to be sure, no other brewery is making as good beer as they are with such an emphasis on sustainability. Also they score huge points for all the wild oats stuff, especially for the Jekyll and Hyde and putting together two of my favourite things - beer and vinyl!

Being in Brampton, I have to trek pretty far to get the seasonals and of course we don't get the wild oats stuff except on tap...

Although we beer geeks maybe put too much emphasis on availability. And even if we were measuring availability, Beau's would probably still win out over Amsterdam.

Man, it's just that Tempest is SOOO GOOOD!
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Postby Steve Beaumont » Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:25 am

Good to see that my BotY post is generating discussion; better to see some people actually agreeing with me. :D

To add a little to my already stated reasoning, Beau's was definitely another contender, as was the not-yet-mentioned King, which boasts as solid a stable of regular offerings as does any brewery in Canada. Muskoka, however, made the greatest strides forward of any Ontario brewery, IMO, and bearing in mind that I was picking the Brewery of the Year, I thought this fact put them over the top.

More important than which brewery got the nod, though, was the fact that, again IMO, brewing in Ontario has not seen so fine a year as 2011 for a long, long time. Let's hope that 2012 is even better!

BTW, any comments on my picks for Canada, the U.S. and Latin America? (Australasia and Europe coming up.)
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Postby cfrancis » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:18 am

Great Lakes gets my vote for this year. Their Project X program has been awesome, wish they would release more of them. Releasing Miami Weiss.

Honorable Mentions:

Beau's getting into barrel aging and a few more great Wild Oats.

Muskoka with Mad Tom!

Flying Monkeys finally getting Smashbomb to market.
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Postby TheSevenDuffs » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:27 am

Steve Beaumont wrote:BTW, any comments on my picks for Canada, the U.S. and Latin America? (Australasia and Europe coming up.)
The only one I can really comment on is the US, becuase I don't see enough of the great breweries in BC or in other continents.

While I have the utmost respect for Stone as one of the true pioneers in the craft beer scene and I regularly purchase their beer when I am stateside, I think that was a very safe pick and I am not sure what they have done specifially in 2011 to warrant your award.

If I had to pick, I would probably decide on one of these:

Dogfish Head - Although another "safe" pick, they really boomed in 2011 (in large part because of the brewmasters shows). They Sony music collaboration beers (Bitches Brew, Hell Hound and Pearl Jam Twenty) were a really cool and innovative venture. I consider DFH and Stone to be two leaders of the craft beer scene statside (along with Sierra Nevada)and I just feel that DFH did more interesting things than Stone in 2011.

The Bruery - these guys impress me more and more every day. They continually produce excellent beer across almost every style. Their Reserve Society was a really cool idea and is only growing. They have done a number of colloboration beers and have also brewed and bottled homebrew contest winning beers. They have an excellent barrel aging program and are getting their great beer out to more and more markets.

Founders - find me a bad, or even average beer that these guys bottle? They are the definition of quality and consistencey IMO. Their recent expansion has also been huge as it has not only allowed them to enter some new markets but, more importantly, it has allowed them to start bottling some of their more coveted formerly brewery-only beers (CBS, Blushing Monk, Kaiser). Most of their seasonal releases are highly sought after and traded within the community (Double Trouble, Devil Dancer, Imperial Stout, Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard) and their regular offerings are all top-notch. My favourite brewery, hands down.


I could probably list 2 or 3 more very easily. It is actually quite difficult to evaluate American breweries in the same light as their Ontario and Canadian couterparts because they are so much more mature, making the criteria completely different.

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