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 Russian imperial stout from Wellington County Brewery Incorporated in Guelph, Ontario pours an oil-like, opaque black with a large and frothy, light beige coloured head that burns off quickly, leaving little lace and a thin cap behind. Wellington Imperial Russian Stout has aromas of chocolate syrup, roasted grains, red berries, prunes and coffee.
The taste of Wellington Imperial Russian Stout is deep and rich with roasted grain flavour, accents of dark berries, chocolate and coffee and has a sharp bitterness that lingers throughout the finish. This ale is very full-bodied, grainy and earthy with a subtle tingle on the tongue. The aftertaste is quite dry with notes of prune and pepper.
This European style Lager from the Wellington County Brewery in Guelph, Ontario, Canada is perfect for an afternoon on a patio or dock. It has a crisp, dry and somewhat malty taste and woody aroma thanks to specialty malts from Germany and Czech hops. Trailhead has a smooth, dry finish with a little bitter aftertaste and a light golden colour.
The can is an attractive powder blue that uses the silver aluminium of the can to evoke a river. The logo features a jumping fish drawn with a hard black outline and a distinctive all-caps typeface.