Sometimes, through a dearth of planning, you end up with a previous engagement during an important awards show and end up in bustling downtown Guelph during the proceedings. The Golden Tap Awards or “Tappies” are an important Ontario beer institution and I was lucky enough to be able to dispatch my junior correspondent, Catherine Strotmann to provide some coverage for my blog, all for a couple of additional adjectives for her title and some bottles of homebrew.
I would like you to know that her title is now “Junior Deluxe Extra Specially Bitter Correspondent Royale.” Take it away, Catherine:
Last night was the 2010 Golden Tap Awards. For those who might not know what the Golden Tap Awards are, it’s an event showcasing the best pubs, breweries and brews in Ontario, presented by The Bar Towel. This year’s awards, as with many previous years, was held at Beer Bistro, which is a great venue, not only for their spacious bar area and plentiful selection of the world’s finest beer, but also for their amazing staff.
I have this theory that if you dress big and bold for an occasion, it will catch on and become big and bold, so all dolled up the Volo crew and I arrive at BeerBistro fashionably late, minutes before the awards show started. Walking into a room of the best of the beer geeks Ontario has to offer can be daunting, but after a few hellos and a quick jaunt to the bar, the party started to roll. The list of draught beer for the night was a big one, with a few new names. I particularly enjoyed the C’est What Chocolate Stout and the Cheshire Pale Ale.
The award ceremony itself was quick. There were 14 awards, 9 pub and brewing awards, 4 editors choice and one best in show award voted on during the night. No huge surprises with the winners, Granite stole the show winning three awards, with Beau’s winning two. One of the best-deserved awards was for Black Oak’s 10 Bitter Years double IPA, Ken also gave one of the best speeches of the night announcing that 10 Bitter Years will once again be available mid September, not before mid September. The bar awards went to C’est What and barVolo, with Beer Bistro winning one of the editors choice awards. For a full list of the award winners and categories go to (ed. note: They don’t seem to have actually posted the winners online as of yet, so I’ll just list them here.
Best Microbrewery in Ontario: Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Company
Best Brewery for Cask-Conditioned Ale in Ontario (presented in partnership with CASK!): Granite Brewery
Best Bar for Draught Beer Selection in Ontario: C’est What
Best Bar for Bottled Beer Selection in Ontario: Bar Volo
Best Brewpub or Tied House in Ontario: Granite Brewery
Best Bar for Cask Ale in Ontario (presented in partnership with CASK!): Bar Volo
Best Regularly-Produced Beer in Ontario: Beau’s Lug-Tread Lagered Ale
Best Seasonal or Specialty Beer in Ontario: Black Oak Ten Bitter Years
Best Cask Ale in Ontario (presented in partnership with CASK!): Granite Hopping Mad
Editor’s Circle Award: Great Lakes Caskapalooza
Editor’s Circle Award: Drinkvine
Editor’s Circle Award: Milos Kral & Chancey Smith’s
Editor’s Circle Award: Brian Morin & beerbistro
Best Beer of the Festival: Church Key Black IPA)
At the end of the night I chose to finish with Cantillon Kriek and Rose De Gambrinus, which are both huge guilty pleasures of mine, again I love Beer Bistro’s selection, while waiting for the announcement for the best in show, which went to Churchkey’s Black IPA. Would I have chose that? No, but it was a good beer. Although this year was very similar to last year, I really think that the Golden Tap Awards make for good entertainment, and a nice sense of community within the Ontario beer world. I also think that although there is a question of it just being a popularity contest due to online voting, the outcome of the awards are often correct. Ontario still has a lot of room to grow compared to the international scene, embracing the best we have and putting pressure on the industry to step out the box can only help.
Thanks to Cass, The Bar Towel, Cask! and BeerBistro for another great show!