Owing to the increasing number of brewers in the city, every year vetting the ever-growing output of craft beer made in Toronto to find the very best becomes a more and more difficult task. Thankfully, my constitution and my inability to deal with emotions make me uniquely suited to the task of consistently consuming large quantities of alcohol in my quest to find the beers that rise above the others.
Here are the fruits of my trauma-suppressing labours — the top local beers of the last year.
Bellwoods Brewery’s Motley Cru
The name given to the beer that Bellwoods opts to release on their birthday in April each year, the ingredients and process of this second installment had nothing to do with the first Motley Cru–and little to do with any other beer either. A blend of IPAs, Motley Cru was barrel-aged with funkifying Brett Lambicus yeast for 14 months before it was dry-hopped and then bottle-conditioned with fresh champagne yeast for another two months. The taste was simultaneously woody and fruity with vanilla, juicy peach, and even smoke and cherries. This a beer that you crack, smell, and sip, and then put your fist through some drywall in rage because you didn’t buy more.
Great Lakes Brewery’s THRUST! An IPA
People sometimes complain about Ontario’s craft brewers and a perceived propensity toward “overly-hopped” beers. THRUST! An IPA is the beer that proves there is no such thing. This beer was hops on hops on hops and its execution proved how amazing that can be in the hands of an adept brewer. The Gold winning entry for the American IPA category at the 2014 Canadian Brewing Awards has citrus, mango, and stone fruit in the aroma and the flavour is big, juicy fruits balanced with resinous pine. The finish is perfectly bitter. If you can drink this and still talk shit about hoppy beer, you probably don’t deserve to drink beer.