2012 was a pretty good year in terms of both the quality and quantity of regularly-brewed Ontario craft beers hitting the shelves at one’s local LCBO or The Beer Store. I selected 12 of them to quantify as favourites, with a few caveats. First, the beers had to be listed at at least 25 retail outlets.
The beers had to be ones that I’ve published a review for, not just tried at a show or festival. Seasonal and one-off beers were not considered, I’ll try to make a list of those next. Re-branded or re-packaged beers were also not counted, however those that were previously available at a brewery’s retail store or at a licensee were. All that said, here are my selections in alphabetical order.
Boneshaker from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario pours a hazy caramel-amber colour with light sediment suspended throughout the glass. A thick and frothy white head leaves thick lacing as it settles into a slim collar and cap. The aroma of this American IPA can best be described in two words: Boom! Hops! Thick tangerine, mango and pineapple tones are countered by a warm honey-caramel body and a sharp, piny bite.
The taste of Boneshaker certainly does not lack bitterness. Citrus fruit rind, lemongrass and raw grain flavours are strong and meaty and set against an equally sturdy and toasty caramel malt backing. The ale is full-bodied with a mild carbonation. The sediment creates a lot of life on the tongue before a viscose oiliness coats the back of the tongue and throat. The finish is bitter and a strong citrus tone remains throughout the aftertaste.