Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

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nickw
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Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby nickw » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:05 am

(Apologies for the Toronto-centric post...)

I've been wondering lately what folks would consider the best breweries in Ontario that a) aren't from Toronto (e.g. Bellwoods), and b) don't have wide LCBO distro (e.g. Great Lakes). Basically -- if you had a weekend and couldn't leave Ontario, what breweries would you stop at?
Coronaeus
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby Coronaeus » Tue Sep 22, 2015 7:57 am

I've enjoyed what i have had from Beyond The Pale and Dominion City in Ottawa. I've only ever received their beers from trading partners though; I've never visited.

My last visit to Block 3 in St. Jacobs made me think that they have significantly improved their product over the past year. I'm looking forward to visiting again the next time my wife drags me to the market. Their 1-Up IIPA was surprisingly good when I had it a few weeks ago. I've got the barrel aged Dubbel Dead Later in fridge for later this week. Still nothing spectacular, but certainly improved from what I had last year, and that is the kind of trajectory I like to see. Bonus points for the crokinole boards you can use while you taste!

Work takes me out to Whitby fairly often; 5 Paddles is often hit or miss, but they seem to be improving with time. Million Dollar Shag, their Raspberry Hibiscus Saison was a pretty interesting recent release. While Brock Street Brewing is pretty uninspired, it is across the street, so there is that. Also, you can drive a few minutes down Thickson to the industrial Buster Rhino's location for some good BBQ.

Honestly though, I'm glad I live in Toronto, because my preferred Ontario breweries are by and large located here.
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jp_jkl
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby jp_jkl » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:19 am

Orange Snail in Milton does not get nearly enough love. I've never visited myself, but my brother-in-law often grabs a growler when he hosts a fam jam. They do have a retail store, but I'm not exactly sure what's there besides growlers. I've always been impressed with everything I've had from Orange Snail.
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby admviolin » Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:04 pm

Royal City in Guelph does some pretty cool things including a tasting contest to help decide the house yeast for the brewery and two barrel aged Oud Bruins with different brett strains
Black Swan in Stratford has some solid offerings
Stack in Sudbury have done some good things and some so-so things, but have been pretty adventurous. They also win for funniest label I've seen in awhile (their dunkleweiss called Lazerhosen)
S. St. Jeb
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby S. St. Jeb » Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:20 pm

Kilannan in Rockford just south of Owen Sound. Love their Alt and Kolsch beers.
midlife crisis
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby midlife crisis » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:41 pm

Whitewater (though way in the middle of nowhere) in the Ottawa Valley. Nice drive in the summer. Block 3 in St. Jacobs. Stone City in Kingston. Old Flame in Port Perry. Silversmith in Virgil (NOTL). All have very pleasant little tasting rooms/mini-pubs.
Last edited by midlife crisis on Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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boney
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby boney » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:03 am

Yeah, a little dicey outside of Toronto. I'd agree with Black Swan and Block 3 being mostly above average. I'd add Forest City and Sleeping Giant (when I can get it, which isn't too often). With all of them, there is the caveat that there are some definite misses there too.
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Craig
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby Craig » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:12 am

Royal City and Stone City have been winners for me lately. I've had a few nice IPAs from Barnstormer recently too. I haven't gotten to try much from Beyond the Pale, but what little I have has been good.
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby midlife crisis » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:16 am

^^ Funny, I didn't really find anything at Royal City that I liked that much. What do you recommend? I will give them another try.
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Craig
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby Craig » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:31 am

Hard to say, since I haven't actually had anything they make consistently.

The beer that made me take notice of them was their Smoked Honey, which is really not a style I would normally go for at all. Mild dark malt flavours, balanced out by the honey and just a hint of smoke.
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby MattS » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:38 am

It's all personal taste, but I'm not on the Royal City bandwagon either. They're doing very well here in Guelph and the storefront is always busy, but I'm yet to find anything that I'd class as better than average (and many times, a lot worse than average).
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Kish84
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby Kish84 » Thu Sep 24, 2015 5:40 pm

Yeah, I haven't had much I like from Royal City, the Smoked Honey I don't mind, and they had a Hibiscus Tea Saison that was decent, nothing great, but not bad. Haven't liked any of their IPAs.

I was thinking of heading there tomorrow to see what else they have. Another place I want to check out is a new distillery in the same industrial plaza as StoneHammer.

However, I may just end up going to Block Three, I really liked the IPA they released last week.
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alsiem
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby alsiem » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:29 pm

I had a great session IPA at Barnstormer Brewery(Barrie), called something like Cirrus Session ale and then topped it with a Mosiac hopped ale. To be fair, I finally tapped into one of their standard IPAs (something like Late All Day IPA?) and I found it average. Like Presidents Choice IPA average. The Blonde they had in cans was very good though and was a big hit with the clan on the dock.

The strangest beer that I had that I enjoyed was from 5 Paddles and was called something like Grandma's Back Yard and was a pale ale flavoured with basil. It had a nice anise astringency that worked well with the malts.

WIth fall coming I'm planning a roadtrip out to west of the city. Need to check out Block 3, Elora and Innocente (probably not all 3). Would love to get some Clifford Porter from Innocente.
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby midlife crisis » Thu Sep 24, 2015 6:34 pm

Brewery retail stores are not permitted to sell contract brews, even if brewed on site, IIRC. So maybe don't count on that Clifford Porter.
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Re: Best non-Toronto, non-LCBO breweries?

Postby MattS » Thu Sep 24, 2015 9:46 pm

Yep, no Clifford Porter at Innocente, but they have one of their own - Charcoal Porter - which is very good. For me, I'd go Innocente first of those three, but I haven't had any of the house-brewed Elora yet.

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