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.
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.
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.