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Friday, May 7, 2010

3rd Annual Queen's Park OCB Tasting

Queen's Park was abuzz with excitement Tuesday evening as various member of Ontario Craft Brewers (OCB) poured samples of their product for Ontario MPPs, legislative staff, Canadian Brewerianist members and various media representatives during the 3rd Annual Tasting of OCB Beers hosted by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, The Honourable Steve Peters.

There were 15 OCB breweries in attendance pouring over 48 beers from their portfolio's. The breweries were set up around the outside of the two rooms and a cheese table and food table joined them, offering invitees something to nosh on while roaming the room with glass in hand.

MPPs and their staffers were issued ballot cards upon entry, featuring the names of all the beers which were broken up into their respective styles, and they were encouraged to sample some of the beers before placing votes. The beers with the most votes in each category will be highlighted in the Legislative Dining Room for the remainder 2010 and part of 2011, and the Speaker himself chooses one beer known as the Speaker's Selection.

As mentioned, Tuesday's tasting was the 3rd such event in the Speakers initiative to showcase OCB beer in the Legislature. It is a great way to introduce MPPs to the breweries that may exist in their riding and allows them to get more familiar with the beers being produced in this province.

Speaker Peters gave a very passionate speech about craft beer during the tasting that received generous applause from the OCB members in the room (see video for small snippet). His willingness to talk openly about his views on the brewing industry in Ontario is very refreshing to hear and hopefully other MPPs will retain bits and pieces of his speech.

The winning OCB brands were selected in the following categories:
Golden Lagers & Pilsners:
Beau's All Natural Brewing Co. - Lug Tread Lagered Ale

Refreshing Ales:
Cameron's Brewing Co. - Cream Ale

Amber Lagers, Ales & Honey Beers:
Flying Monkey's Craft Brewery - Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale

Malty Dark Lager or Ale:
Muskoka Cottage Brewery - Dark Ale

Bold Flavoured Ale, Stout or Porter:
Grand River Brewery - Plowman's Ale

Wheat Beer & Specialty:
Mill Street Brewery - Lemon Tea Beer

Speaker's Selection: Railway City Brewing - Dead Elephant Ale
*To honour the 125th anniversary of the fate of Jumbo, Speaker Peters has chosen Dead Elephant Ale from Railway City Brewing - a perfect combination of the Speaker's two great interests - Ontario product and Jumbo the elephant.

Click here to see the past winners of the Queen's Park Tasting of OCB beers.

Picture: Speaker Peters and OCB President John Hay

And shameless plug - The Spring Issue of 
TAPS: Canada's Beer Magazine features a four-page extensive interview with the Speaker.  We covered his love of breweriana, supporting locals, the brewing industry, and government relations with respect to breweries.

Read the full press release:



Seven new Ontario craft beers to be highlighted at
Ontario’s Legislative Assembly

TORONTO, ON – (May 5, 2010) – Ontario MPPs cast their votes for  the most popular representatives of Ontario’s Craft Brewing industry during an annual tasting and selection event hosted by Hon. Steve Peters, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario at Queen’s Park last evening.

MPPs and Queen’s Park staffers tasted a selection of 48 craft beers from 15 of Ontario ’s popular craft breweries and cast their votes in favour of the craft beers to be highlighted at the Legislative Assembly for 2010-2011. The event included a delicious menu to accompany the beer featuring Ontario ingredients and a beer and cheese pairing table.

The new beers, to be highlighted in the Legislative Dining Room and at other Queen’s Park venues, are brewed in local communities throughout the province, including: Barrie, Burlington, Cambridge, Etobicoke, Guelph, Port Credit, Muskoka, Neustadt, Oakville, Prince Edward County, St. Thomas, Toronto and Van Kleek Hill.

 “An initiative of mine as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly is to ensure that our Legislature is a showcase of everything Ontario – from the gifts in our gift shop, to the food, beer, wine, and fruit wine we serve at events and in our dining room” Speaker Peters said.  “Events such as this one are a great way for the Members to learn more about the world-class beer made and produced right here in Ontario .”

This is the third year the Speaker has hosted the exclusive tasting event, part of his ongoing initiative to showcase Ontario products in the Legislature. The tasting event consisted of 48 beers from 15 Ontario Craft Breweries. Tasters cast ballots to choose their favourite varieties in six categories, a seventh category the “Speaker’s Selection” was tchosen by the Speaker himself. (See below for full results).

“Demand for Ontario Craft Beer has exploded in the past few years, even despite the economic slowdown,” says Gary McMullen, Chair of Ontario Craft Brewers and President of Muskoka Cottage Brewery. “Ontario Craft Brewers have been working hard to build this industry and create jobs in Ontario and we are very grateful to the Province of Ontario for its ongoing support.”

The winning Ontario Craft Beer brands were selected in the following categories:

Golden Lagers & Pilsners
Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company:       Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale
Refreshing Ales
Cameron’s Brewing Company: Cameron’s Cream Ale
Amber Lagers, Ales & Honey Beers
Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery:
Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion Almost Pale Ale
Malty Dark Lager or Ale
Muskoka Cottage Brewery:
Muskoka Dark Ale
Bold Flavoured Ale, Stout or Porter
Grand River Brewery:
Plowman’s Ale
Wheat Beer & Specialty
Mill Street Brewery:
Mill Street Lemon Tea Beer
Speaker’s Selection
Railway City Brewing:
Railway City Dead Elephant Ale*

*To honour the 125th anniversary of the fate of Jumbo, Speaker Peters has chosen Dead Elephant Ale from Railway City Brewing – a perfect combination of the Speaker’s two great interests – Ontario Product and Jumbo the elephant.

About the Ontario Craft Brewers
The Ontario Craft Brewers is an association of more than 25 small brewers dedicated to making great tasting, high quality beer in Ontario. The 25 members of the Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally using fresh, all natural ingredients in communities throughout Ontario – from the Ottawa Valley to Waterloo and Niagara to Muskoka. Handcrafting over 150 premium beers, Ontario Craft Brewers employ about 600 people in Ontario , accounting for over 20 per cent of the overall brewing employment in the province.  Ontario ’s Craft brewers’ share has more than doubled since 2002, going from slightly less than two per cent to approximately five per cent of the beer volume sold in Ontario and continues to be the fastest growing segment within the LCBO’s beer category. For more information about the Ontario Craft Brewers


For more information, visit online at

For Ontario Craft Brewery interviews or images contact:
Christine Mulkins, OCB Publicist

Office of the Speaker contact:
Maggie Head, Executive Assistant
Office of the Speaker

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