Ontario Brewing Awards

The 2013 Ontario Brewing Awards

On Tuesday evening, brewers from across Ontario gathered at The Gladstone Hotel for the 10th Annual Ontario Brewing Awards, celebrating the best the province has to offer, as chosen by a panel of judges.

Beer makers who had entered their beers for consideration in 25 different categories milled about the Gladstone's event space, serenaded by a probably-a-bit-too-loud classic rock cover band, rubbing elbows with various beer drinkers and interested media, and anxiously waiting to see who would take home top honours in the field, which this year included a homebrewing category as well.

The awards were organized by by Beerlicious Inc. and Roger Mittag of Thirst for Knowledge and, as with previous years, beers were judged on their merits based on characteristics of that beer's typical style, as defined by the Ontario Brewing Awards. The judging was also conducted blind, so no beers were chosen based on anyone's philosophical opinions on craft beer vs. big beer or personal feelings about any one brewery. That is to say, the beer was judged, as it should always be, based entirely on taste.

Once again this year, a Toronto beer was named Beer of The Year as Amsterdam Brewery's Spring Bock ousted last year's choice, Mill Street Coffee Porter.

Ontario Brewing Awards

It was a big night in general for Amsterdam who took home five other awards, including Gold in the North American Lager Category, Gold in the Bock category and Gold in the Barrel Aged Category.

As for the city's other brewers, perennial favourite Mill Street took home seven newly redesigned Ontario Brewing Awards, including both Gold and Silver in the Honey/Maple Beer category, Gold in the British IPA Category, Gold in the Fruit Beer Category, and Gold in the Strong Beer Category.

The city's oldest craft brewers, Great Lakes Brewery, also took home some hardware, winning five awards including top honours for their "Harry Porter." While their neghbours at Cool Beer Brewing Company also took home a Silver and a Gold.

It was also a big night for Ottawa's Big Rig Brewery who took home three trophies, including top spot in the European-Style Pilsner Category, and earned the distinction of being named Newcomer of The Year.

Ontario Brew

It's also worth noting that the nano brewery at Get Well managed to take home Silver in two categories for their dark ale and their porter.

For the first time this year's awards also had a category to honour Gluten Free options and Toronto's own Snowman Brewing Company took home two of the three tops spots in that field.

Ontario Brewing Awards

The winners in each category were as follows:

North American Light Lager
Gold: Cool Brewing Company Stonewall Light
Silver: Laker Light
Bronze: Stonehammer Light

North American Lager
Gold: Amsterdam Natural Blonde
Silver: Muskoka Craft Lager
Bronze: Great Lakes Brewery Golden Horseshoe

European Style Lager (Pilsner)
Gold: Big Rig Champion Pilsner
Silver: King Pilsner
Bronze: Steam Whistle Pilsner

Amber Lager
Gold: Nickel Brook Marzenbier
Silver: Cool Millenium Buzz
Bronze: Hop City Barking Squirrel

Dark Lager
Gold: King Dark
Silver: Big Rig Schwarzbier
Bronze: Waterloo Dark

Bock
Gold: Amsterdam Springbock
Silver: Camerons Deviator
Bronze: Creemore Urbock

Honey/Maple Beer
Gold: Mill St Spring Thaw
Silver: Mill St Royal York Stinger
Bronze: Stonehammer Maple Red

German Style Wheat Beer
Gold: Muskoka Summer Weiss
Silver: Beer Academy Hefeweizen
Bronze: Denisons Weissbier

Belgian Style Wheat Beer
Gold: Labatt Shocktop
Silver: Mill St Belgian Witbier
Bronze: Black Oak Saison

Cream Ale
Gold: Clocktower West Brew
Silver: Camerons Cream Ale
Bronze: Big Rig Gold

British Pale Ale
Gold: Muskoka Cream Ale
Silver: Black Oak Pale Ale
Bronze: Grand River Plowman's Ale

North American Pale Ale
Gold: Nickel Brook Naughty Neighbour
Silver: Spearhead Hawaiian Pale
Bronze: GLB Crazy Canuck

British India Pale Ale
Gold: Mill Street IPA
Silver: Clocktower Wisharts ESB
Bronze: Grand River Curmudgeon

North American India Pale Ale
Gold: Nickelbrook Headstock
Silver: Flying Monkeys Smashbomb
Bronze: Muskoka Mad Tom

Amber Ale
Gold: Niagara's Butler's Bitter
Silver: Clocktower Red
Bronze: Camerons Auburn Ale

Dark Ale
Gold: Magnotta True North Copper
Silver: Get Well Fuggle It
Bronze: Stonehammer Dark Ale

Porter
Gold: Great Lakes Brewery Harry Porter
Silver: Get Well Porter
Bronze: Bellwoods Lost Porter

Stout
Gold: Railway City Black Coal Stout
Silver: Sawdust City Skinny Dipping Stout
Bronze: Spearhead Belgian Stout

Imperial Stout
Gold: Muskoka Winter Beard
Silver: Great Lakes Brewery Bourbon Aged Russian Imperial Stout
Bronze: Amsterdam Tempest

Fruit Beer
Gold: Mill Street Frambozen
Silver: Amsterdam KLB Raspberry Wheat
Bronze: Clocktower Raspberry Wheat

Flavoured Beer
Gold: Black Oak Double Chocolate Cherry Stout
Silver: Sawdust City Skinny Dipping with Friends
Bronze: Sawdust City Red Rocket

Strong Beer
Gold: Mill Street Barley Wine
Silver: Mill Street Ambre de la Chaudiere
Bronze: Wellington Iron Duke

Gluten Free
Gold: Nickel Brook Gluten Free
Silver: Snowman Top Hat
Bronze: Snowman Who's That Brown Ale

Barrel Aged
Gold: Amsterdam Order & Chaos
Silver: GLB 25th Anniversary Bourbon Aged
Bronze: Camerons VSPA

Homebrew IPA
Gold: Geoff Conway
Silver: Neal Fuller
Bronze: Steven Mills

Newcomer of the Year: Big Rig Brewing

Beer of the Year: Amsterdam Springbock

Ben Johnson also writes about beer over on Ben's Beer Blog.

Photographs by Paul Aihoshi.


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