It is worth noting that Brewing awards tell you one very important piece of information: Which breweries entered beers for consideration. Labatt did. Apparently Molson did not. (Edit: Thanks to Mark Murphy for pointing out that they did, in fact, enter their Rickard’s brands. Not really a good strategic choice to take on craft breweries in categories where Rickard’s had little chance of succeeding. Canadian or even M might have had a shot.) Here we are then, with an entirely biased set of annotations for the awards given out.
North American Light Lager
Gold: Labatt Breweries of Canada – Bud Light
Silver: Sleeman Breweries – Old Milwaukee Light
People’s Choice: F & M Brewery – Stone Hammer Light
Well, that certainly matches the category title. St.Louis and Milwaukee are well represented in the Ontario Brewing Awards. This result will be meaningful if we can manage to annex Wisconsin.
North American Lager
Gold: Brick Brewery – Red Baron
Silver: Labatt Breweries of Canada – Brava
People’s Choice: Creemore Springs Brewery – Creemore Premium Lager
Good for Brick. It’s nice to see the oldest Ontario craft brewery get out there. Also, I’m beginning to wonder how the People’s Choice awards were arrived at.
European Style Lager
Gold: Labatt Breweries of Canada – Crystal
Silver: Cameron’s Brewing Co. – Cameron’s Lager
People’s Choice: Creemore Springs Brewery – Creemore Springs Traditional Pilsner
I’ve never actually heard of Crystal. I wonder whether I’m missing something here. I’m going to get on the horn to Labatt and see if they want to send over a sample.
Gold: King Brewery – King Vienna Lager
Silver: Nickel Brook Brewery – Nickel Brook Organic Lager
People’s Choice: Nickel Brook Brewery – Nickel Brook Organic Lager
Category makes sense. Unsurprising that King wins, since that’s an excellent beer. Might want to produce more of that one, since it has been difficult to get a hold of previously.
Gold: King Brewery – King Dark Lager
Silver: Brick Brewing – Waterloo Dark
People’s Choice: King Brewery – King Dark Lager
Again, glad to see King doing well. I have a soft spot in my heart for Waterloo Dark, since it’s available at Paddington’s Pump down at the market. It’s really the only beer you should consider pairing with “The Oink With Cheese.”
Gold: Mill Street Brewery – Franconian Bock
Silver: Amsterdam Brewery – Spring Bock
People’s Choice: Amsterdam Brewery – Spring Bock
About right. Both are good beers, but I think the Franconian Bock might have been a little more polished. I had the Amsterdam Spring Bock when it was quite fresh and it had some rough edges. Still a good beer though, and a nice example of the style.
Gold: Sleeman Breweries – Sleeman Honey Brown
Silver: Labatt Breweries of Canada – Lakeport Honey
People’s Choice: Brick Brewing – Laker Honey
I don’t care about this category. At all. I tend to avoid maple and honey even when they’re used in big beers, since I dislike the mouthfeel it imparts. Congratulations to the winners, I guess. Well done. Huzzah!
German Style Wheat Beer
Gold: Denison’s Brewery – Denison’s Hefeweizen
Silver: Muskoka Brewery Summer Weiss
People’s Choice: Hop City Brewery – Lawn Chair ‘Classic’ Weisse
Again, about right. Seems like a tougher category than some of the others, because those are all really good. Grand River 1913 was in this category for some reason I don’t completely understand. It didn’t have a chance being judged to that style. Too bad.
Belgian Style Wheat Beer
Gold: Amsterdam Brewery – Amsterdam Orange Weisse
Silver: Mill Street Brewery – Belgian Wit
People’s Choice: Mill Street Brewery – Belgian Wit
I would have called this an upset, since the Mill Street Belgian is more traditionally a Belgian Style Wheat Beer. Then again, the Amsterdam Orange Weisse was tasty last year. Good job, Amsterdammers.
Gold: Labatt Breweries – Labatt 50
Silver: Sleeman Breweries – Sleeman Cream Ale
People’s Choice: Labatt Breweries – Labatt 50
Cinquante for the win, I guess. I’m not sure it’s a Cream Ale. I guess that doesn’t matter. It could probably have been entered as an American Pale Ale or a Blond Ale or a Golden Ale. I wonder if Muskoka entered their Cream Ale.
British Pale Ale
Gold: Grand River Brewing – Plowman’s Ale
Silver: Mill Street Brewery – Extra Special Bitter
People’s Choice: Grand River Brewing – Plowman’s Ale
Glad to see Grand River dominating. Also glad Mill Street entered their ESB, which is a nice beer.
North American Pale Ale
Gold: Hop City Brewing – Happy Hour Premium Ale
Silver: Flying Monkeys Brewery – Hoptical Illusion
People’s Choice: Mill Street Brewery – Tankhouse Ale
Kind of a tough category, in the sense that they all have different qualities and it would more or less come down to the judges’ palates on the day. You could cycle the results into any permutation and they wouldn’t surprise me.
British India Pale Ale
Gold: Grand River Brewing – Curmudgeon IPA
Silver: Mill Street Brewery – India Pale Ale
People’s Choice: Grand River Brewing – Curmudgeon IPA
Interesting to see essentially a repeat of the British Pale Ale category. Grand River is doing something right.
North American India Pale Ale
Gold: Flying Monkeys Brewery – Smashbomb Atomic IPA
Silver: Amsterdam Brewery – Bonecrusher
People’s Choice: Flying Monkeys Brewery – Smashbomb Atomic IPA
Not surprising. Slight typo there on the awards that were given out. Here is a list of alternate names for the Boneshaker suggested to me by the Amsterdam staff:
Skulldingler, Skinrusher, Bonegrinder, Thighchafer, Ol’ Femur Snapper, Amsterdam’s Patented Lymph Node Exploder, Ow! My Vertebrae! IPA, Kneecapper (Now with hops!)
Gold: Cameron’s Brewing Co. – Cameron’s Auburn Ale
Silver: Amsterdam Brewery – Big Wheel
People’s Choice: Railway City Brewing – Iron Spike Copper Ale
Pretty predictable result, there. Nice to see Bill Coleman from Cameron’s light up like a kid with a new lego set when given the award.
Gold: Railway City Brewing – Iron Spike Amber Ale
Silver: Muskoka Brewery – Muskoka Dark Ale
People’s Choice: Black Oak Brewery – Nut Brown
Kind of a tough category here, as well. Might have to revisit the Iron Spike Amber.
Gold: Amsterdam Brewery – Two Fisted Porter
Silver: Mill Street Brewery – Coffee Porter
People’s Choice: Amsterdam Brewery – Two Fisted Porter
Gold: F & M Brewery – Stone Hammer Oatmeal Coffee Stout
Silver: Muskoka Brewery – Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
People’s Choice: Muskoka Brewery – Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
I would have thought of the Muskoka Stout as an imperial. F & M’s Oatmeal Coffee Stout is pretty much above reproach, though. Deserved win.
Gold: Grand River Brewing – Russian Gun Imperial Stout
Silver: Amsterdam Brewery – Tempest
People’s Choice: Grand River Brewing – Russian Gun Imperial Stout
I guess I’m going to have to stop by Amsterdam and see if some nice person will get me a sample of this here “Tempest” which is apparently still under development. Good rule of thumb: If your beer wins an award without having made it out of R&D, you’re probably onto something.
Gold: Great Lakes Brewery – Orange Peel Ale
Silver: Amsterdam Brewery – Framboise
People’s Choice: Grand River Brewing – Blackberry Wheat
Gold: Mill Street Brewery – Lemon Tea Beer
Silver: Brick Brewing – Red Baron Lime
People’s Choice: Mill Street Brewery – Lemon Tea Beer
I feel like those two could have been combined into a single category, since both Lime and Lemon are technically fruits. Good on Great Lakes, though.
Gold: Grand River Brewing – Jubilation Winter Ale
Silver: Great Lakes Brewery – Winter Ale
People’s Choice: Nickel Brook Brewery – Cuvee
Seems about right.
Congratulations to Grand River and Amsterdam. Nice Showing, guys! You’re going to need bigger trophy cases.