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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Golden Tap Winners


We arrived at the beerbistro by 4:30pm and quickly got around to sampling some of the 80 beers available. This was my first time attending the Golden Tap Awards so I didn't know what to expect.

The event was very organized and credit must be given to Cass Enright, the founder of Bartowel.com. Walking into Beerbistro, we were greeted at the door by restaurant staff who provided beer caps as tokens for the evening. One token cost $2 and that provided you with a three ounce sample pour.

There were many more adults present than a beer fest which meant less drunken students and more swirling, sniffing and judging. Brewers and owners of the various micro-breweries were on hand fratenizing with their customers and prospective buyers. I had some pleasent conversations with the Keefe brothers Ron and Kevin; owners of the Granite Breweries and Kevin mentioned something that's in the works out east in Halifax; stay tuned. Bill White was in attendance and we shared some good stories and talked about various breweries and where the beer scene is heading. I also spoke with Matt and Steve of Beau's micro brewery outside of Ottawa and you could see the love they have for their product. They also won beer of the fest for 2006. Nicholas Pashley who wrote the book "Notes on a Beermat, Drinking and Why It's Necessary" was there and I was able to tell him about how much I enjoyed his book.

What made this event nice was the fact that everyone in attendance was passionate about quality beer and building the Ontario Craft beer industry. Essentially, everyone was on the same page.

By 8pm, just before the awards were to be handed out, the crowd was still growing. When Cass took the mic to announce the winners, the place was packed, and Cass mentioned that this was the largest crowd yet. He also mentioned that bartowel.com had received a record number of votes this year. Up 82% from the last year!!

Out of all the beer that I sampled, I found Church Key's West Coast Pale Ale the best (my vote for beer of the fest). With a deep golden hue, nice heavy mouth, hoppy profile (guessing either dry hopped or added late), with a good balance of malt, yeast profile smell of tangerine. Excellent brew. I also really enjoyed County Durham's Hop Addict. Very hoppy, very aromatic, nice lingering aftertaste. Reminded me of a Propeller IPA. The beer that I did not enjoy was Trafalgar's Oatmeal Stout.

Here are the winners:

Best microbrewery in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) - Mill Street Brewery
Best microbrewery in Ontario (outside of the GTA) - Church-Key Brewery
Best beer brewed in the GTA - Mill Street Tankhouse Ale
Best beer brewed in Ontario (outside of the GTA) - Beau's Lug Tread Lagered Ale
Best bar in the GTA in terms of draught beer selection - C'est What
Best bar in the GTA in terms of bottled beer selection - beerbistro
Best bar in Ontario (outside of the GTA) - Winking Judge
Best brewpub or tied house in Ontario (including the GTA) - Mill Street Brewpub


Here are the winners of the Editor's Circle awards: These awards were picked by a select few from bartowel.com and the criteria was set for those that made a great contribution to Ontario's beer scene in the last year.

Michael Hancock: Denison's (dedication to quality and preseverance)
Great Lakes Brewing (for brewing one off's, engaging in experimentation)
Roland + Russell (importers: bringing Ontario various import beer)
Volo Cask Days (Great beer event and promoter of cask ales)


Overall: This was a great event to get out and meet with the people that are responsible for the Ontario beer segment. All brewer's were friendly and never hesitant to discuss future plans, future beer and explain the taste profiles. Everything ran smoothly and the food was excellent. I had a great time and already look forward to next year. Congrats to the winners.

3 comments:

Cass said...

Glad you had a nice time at the event. Just a point of clarification, the 82% increase in voting was from last year, not since the beginning. The increase from the first year to this year is about 300%.

Troy Burtch said...

Sorry Cass about the mistake. I have edited the post to reflect this change.

Joner said...

This is another beer-related event in Ontario I wish I could attend.. at least Halifax now realizes there's a big interest in beer festivals and craft beer. Interestingly enough, the brewmaster from Church key brewing was in to the brewery this past week. We chatted for quite a while about craft beer out here as compared to the scene in Ontario. He was a really nice guy, but he was convinced that Keith's was brewed in other provinces due to the volume we move and demand for the product. I assured him 100% production is done at Oland, but maybe that's just what we're led to believe... .. The Higher-Ups may know something we do not.

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