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 blonde ale from the Kichesippi Beer Company in Ottawa, Ontario pours a deep and clear golden yellow colour with a small white collar of a head that gets retained well and leaves some spotty lacing. Freshly cut grains and toasted light malts dominate the aroma of Kichesippi Natural Blonde and are accented by a soft, honey-like sweetness as well as a subtle fruit character.
Kichesippi Natural Blonde has a surprisingly rich and balanced taste for its style. The toasted malts and honey sweetness are joined by notes of floral and soapy hops, a hint of berry juice and a good wallop of bitterness comes through in the finish. Also somewhat surprising is the hearty, bready mouthfeel; though a medium-heavy carbonation eases the beer over the tongue. The aftertaste has a certain syrupy sweetness to it, but then fades away crisply and cleanly.