Ontario Microbreweries: The Fourth Tier

This two breweries that represent this tier are here mainly because they are so forgettable. They don’t offend the sensibilities like Trafalgar, but their existence often escapes the brain.

Nickel Brook

Regulars: 1/5. Their flagship beer, the Green Apple Pilsner, tastes more like a terrible cocktail than a beer (think an overly sweet apple-tini). That won’t win you many points.

Seasonals: 2/5. Maybe a bit generous, but the pumpkin beer they put out this year was really nice.

Consistency: 3/5. You know what you’re getting when you buy a Nickel Brook.

Availability: 3/5. They get into a lot of LCBOs, but are nowhere to be found on draft.

Extras: 2/5. They show up at the occasional event, but usually not ones where one-offs are required.

Total: 11/25. I’ve always thought as Nickel Brook as a micro that aims to go after the buck-a-beer crowd, which is partially represented by this score. I have nothing personally against them, but you won’t see me reaching for one of their beers anytime soon.

Stratford Brewing

Regulars: 2/5. The pilsner is fine, but that just won’t do in a province overrun with middling pilsners

Seasonals: 3/5. The Stratford Common may not exactly be a seasonal, but it is nice to find on draft every now and then, especially as the style isn’t popular in Ontario.

Consistency: 2/5. Their beers don’t always seem to hold up well and you’ll get a not-so-pleasant pint every now and then.

Availability: 3/5. The pilsner is in the LCBO and they can be found on draft in some random locales.

Extras: 1/5. This is a pity point. Can’t picture them ever at an event, on cask or doing anything interesting.

Total: 11/25. It was tempting to give Stratford a couple of extra points and boost them up further because they make solid beers, but their lack of drive sets them back. A good micro needs to be consistently promoting themselves and their beer, not have an apathetic demeanour to their business.

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One response to “Ontario Microbreweries: The Fourth Tier

  1. I moved to Burlington in the summer and have become quite a fan of Nickelbrook. I concur that the green apple pilsner is an unfortunate choice as a flagship because it is so sweet and would turn off a lot of true beer fans.

    I really, really love the Maple Porter. The ale is pleasantly hoppy and the lager refreshing. I also like their seasonals / one-offs . The marzen that they featured right before Christmas was fantastic.

    I don’t know in which tier I’d place the brewery, but it is worth a stop if you are around and can stop in for samples and a growler to go.

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