Ben's Beer Blog

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Remembering the closure of Lakeport Brewing

In February of 2007 Labatt Brewery, owned by AB InBev, purchased Hamilton’s Lakeport Brewery for $201 million. In March of 2010 they announced that they would be closing the Hamilton facility and shifting production of all Lakeport brands to the London, Ontario Labatt’s facility.

This is, obviously, pretty old news but I had occasion to revisit it recently for a forthcoming article and thought it was worth sharing again for a couple reasons. First, there is probably many a craft beer fan who hasn’t actually been following beer news since 2010 and might not know the tale and second, it’s pretty remarkable to consider that 2010 moment in Hamilton’s beer scene given how far it has come since.

As Hamiltonians will remember, there was some uncertainty about what might happen at the Lakeport facility when its closure was announced, and Labatt did offer some incentives to future lessees of the brewery with one important caveat: Whoever took over the building next could not be a brewer. And so, when companies like Calgary-based Minhas Creek Brewing Company announced interest in the space, Labatt declined, allegedly shooting down a total of three beer company offers, including one from Rochester-based North American Breweries that would have saved all the jobs at the facility and likely even created more. Instead, Labatt opted to shutter the doors on the facility until the lease expired and they fired 143 people. Continue reading


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Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour is now available in cans

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In case the title of this post and the image above didn’t make it abundantly clear: Nickel Brook’s Naughty Neighbour is now available in cans.

You can find the 473mL cans now at the LCBO for $2.80.

Personally, I’m excited about this for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I’m a big fan of the current trend toward sessionable pale ales. There has been an argument made as of late that “sessionable” is basically just a nice way to say the beer facilitates binge drinking. Frankly, I’m OK with that. Yes, I am a nerdy beer-sniffing snob and am capable of approaching beer with a discerning, critical eye, nose, and mouth, but there are also times I feel like drinking three, four, five, even six of the same beers in one sitting. And Naughty Neighbour is actually chief among my beer choices when I opt to do so. The 4.9% American Pale Ale is aromatic, with all the grapefruity, citrusy, bitter goodness I love in a pale ale but at wholly reasonable 4.9% (and I know it seems like I’ve been giving a lot of love to Nickel Brook lately, but let’s face it, they’re making some good beer). Continue reading


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Head Stock: Meet Ontario’s best IPA again for the first time

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Nickel Brook’s Head Stock IPA is the best regularly available IPA in Ontario–and it is finally getting a better look.

If you’re like me, the first time you heard someone positively mention Head Stock, you probably said, “You mean that beer with the terrible 60s-themed can with a Stevie Ray Vaguhan stand-in silhouette?”

Yes. That’s the one.

Like you, and I assume many others, for a long time I dismissed this beer out of hand for its can–quite literally judging a book (beer) by its cover (can)–and assumed it was another iteration of the ubiquitous crystal-malt heavy “Ontario Pale Ale.”

I didn’t even bother trying it.

I was very, very wrong. Continue reading