Regional Beers and Sparkling Water
I'm looking to order beers and sparkling water regional to Ontario for an event that will be held in Philadelphia. If anyone could possibly help me with brands, or specifying which are better than others, it would be appreciated. Thank you!!
Steamwhistle. I've not been able to sample Mill Street but anticipate. I tried Neustadt 2 weeks ago and was sadly disappointed, as were my guests. It was the Lager which I used to enjoy, Avoid, at all costs, Steelback. All others suggested are good choices.
I don't think we do sparkling water - here is a zany suggestion. There are private, household wells in Essex/Kent sitting over natural gas. The water is imbued with sulphur dioxide - "fart in a bottle" we called it. The first time I had it on a job site I gagged, but it grew on one to the point where normal water was insipid... this was while our water supply was drawn from artesian wells. Anyone from Leamington/Wheately/Comber/Tillsonburg and through to Blenheim knows what I'm talking about.That water truly satisfies something in us.
If you have connections there you might wish to investigate.
I'll add Cameron's to the list as it probably ranks second or third in my books behind Mill Street. For Mill St., I agree with passing on Stock and Organic lines but I think Tankhouse is worth the risk. Word of caution though - some of the Ontario breweries with more interesting selections don't necessarily have the highest quality processes or equipment. Stick with the list provided in this thread and you'll do well.
You couldn't go wrong with Denison's Weissbier. It's been the top-rated hefeweizen on ratebeer.com for a number of years. When fresh, it's outstanding. Not available in bottles, nor outside of the GTA, so that could be an impediment. Contact Denison's at http://www.denisons.ca/ or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other great Ontario breweries:
Black Oak Brewing: http://www.blackoakbeer.com/
- the Nut Brown is good, seasonals are generally excellent.
Scotch Irish Brewing: http://scotchirishbrewing.ca/
- now brewed by Heritage Brewing (http://www.heritagebrewing.com), some reports that the quality has gone down on the regular line-up - the small-batch and one-off seasonals have continued to be outstanding
Church-Key Brewing: http://www.churchkeybrewing.com/
- again, great one-offs and seasonals, the regular lineup isn't all that exciting, though solid
Mill St. Brewery: http://www.millstreetbrewery.com/
- of their regular offerings, the Coffee Porter is good, the IPA (Tankhouse) seems to have been having some consistency issues since they moved/grew their facilities recently - take a pass on the lacklustre Organic and Stock ales
Wellington County Brewery: http://www.wellingtonbrewery.ca/
- the darker offerings are my favourites, Imperial Russian Stout and Iron Duke Strong Ale
There are a bunch of others. See the Ontario Craft Brewers website for a pretty comprehensive list: http://www.ontariocraftbrewers.com/
If it was up to me, I'd try to avoid bigger players in the 'craft' segment. However, these are probably the easiest to get a hold of. This category would include Steam Whistle (who make one beer, a rather boring pilsener, unfortunately packaged in light-sensitive green bottles), Brick (essentially the founder of the micro-scene in Ontario, but they don't brew anything exciting) & Creemore (who make a decent lager, though not as good as it used to be, but are now owned by Molson-Coors).
For a list of microbreweries, check out web sites of pubs that carry mircobrewed beer. Notably C'Est What. I highly recommend their own brewery as well as:
Mill Street Brewing, Toronto
Granite Brewery, Toronto
Black Oak Brewing, Oakville
Church Key Brewing, Campbellford
Durham Brewing, Pickering
Each of these breweries makes at least one fantastic beer; most make much more. Of course, it's best on draft... bottled beer can never compare with draft beer, especially if it's freshly brewed...
Some more brewery names can be gotten here: http://www.cestwhat.com/otherbeer.asp . They may be good, but I am not that familiar with them.
out of curiousity... any particular reason why ontario?
i spend a bit of time in philly every month or so and love the beer everytime i'm down. some of our regional offerings far from have that oomph that i've grown to really appreciate in many american micro brews.
if you could convince mill st to send down kegs of their helles bock, wit or new nut brown (only sold in the brewpub so far) you'll really have something for comparison.