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.
Hops and Robbers from Double Trouble Brewing Company in Guelph, Ontario pours a beautiful golden colour with amber tinges. Its large and frothy white head gets retained as a foamy collar and leaves minor lacing. The beer doesn’t smell like a typical Ontario brewed American IPA. It has more of a toasted grain character with citrus and berry tones in the background as well as hints of pineapple and banana after warming.
The taste of Hops and Robbers has a slightly sweet, toasted caramel malt character with subtle berry, grape and citrus notes, along with a nicely-balanced bitterness from dry-hopping. The beer is crisp on the front of the tongue then gives way to a sturdy bread-like sensation with a nice oiliness before finishing dry. The oily character remains in the aftertaste and the toasted character really lingers.