The Tap List – July/August 2013

As my summer vacation meant missing OCB Week and making it hard to catch up for a Tap List post right after, the lists for July and August are being condensed into one. As a refresher, the Tap List ranks the hottest and most newsworthy Ontario breweries from the past month. No scientific formulae are used and people are more than welcome to debate the order of breweries or any notable exclusions.

1. Bellwoods (Last Month: #5). High profile releases with the Motley Cru and No Sleep Till Brooklyn (their second collab with Evil Twin). Their beer has been spotted in New York City, which might for a first for an Ontario craft beer. Had to close down their bottle shop for a bit because they were running out of beer.

2. Beau’s (Last Month: #6). The Lug-Tread beat out many other great brands (and many ones with large advertising budgets) to win the Brewmaster’s Cup put on by the LCBO. Yes, that just means they had fans that would vote over and over, but it also means their fans are rabid enough to sit at a computer and constantly vote. The Tom Green beer also won best collab at the Session festival.

3. Great Lakes (Last Month: #1). Lots of great patio beers have been coming out from Great Lakes, including Gary (a saison aged in Chardonnay barrels) that was a personal fave. The bottle bonanza two weekends ago was incredible. Golden Child of the LCBO – seems like they have a new beer in stores every month.

4. Creemore (Last Month: Not ranked). The Mad and Noisy side-project continues to spark debate. At least the packaging has got more going on visually than the standard Creemore cans.

5. Collective Arts (Last Month: Not ranked). Ontario has now gone past the contract brewer phase and into the world of “gypsy” brewers. It is an interesting endeavour, one that will hopefully distinguish them from other contract/gypsy brewers.

6. 5 Paddles (Last Month: Not ranked). Early reports out of Whitby are promising for this new nanobrewery. Now if only I could find someone to smuggle some bottles across the city line…

7. Flying Monkeys (Last Month: Not ranked). Now living up to their PR and consistently doing more adventurous beers, including a collab with Central City. Quality and consistency are still missing, though.

8. Amsterdam (Last Month: #3). The Brewhouse was supposed to be the crowning achievement for the venerable brewery, but it has been marred by mediocre service (the downside of opening during the peak of summer). It definitely has been a big topic of conversation for the last month.

9. Nickel Brook (Last Month: #9). That Naughty Neighbour is a damn nice beer for the summer.

10. Radical Road (Last Month: Not ranked). The Wayward Son is another barrel aged beer that doesn’t skimp on packaging, but early reports have people wondering whether they need to spend more time on the product rather than how it is dressed.

Drain Pour: Highlander Twisted Spruce. No spruce flavour, which didn’t help cover up the bland base beer.

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