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.
This American-style IPA from the Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a golden-amber colour with a medium-sized off-white head that leaves a moderate amount of lacing and gets retained as a thin collar and film. Dead Elephant IPA has the traditional berry and citrus aromas fans of the style know and love, but here they take a back seat to a warm, toasted grain smell and deep caramel tone.
A nicely embittered grapefruit flavour is much more prevalent in the taste of Dead Elephant IPA and is joined by a slightly sweet, dark caramel tone, as well as a biscuit-like one. The ale is full-bodied with almost no carbonation beyond the first few minutes after being poured, yet there is a bright pop on the tongue followed by a heavy yeast note. The finish is bitter and the aftertaste is oily and grainy, with a subtle fruit tone.