PRESS RELEASE: The Canadian Brewing Awards are coming to our Nation’s Capital

It’s that time of year again! The 15th annual Canadian Brewing Awards is fast approaching. This year some of Canada’s best breweries and cideries will be honored in our nations capital. The awards will be held May 25-27 2017. Online submissions far now open at and will be open until March 10, 2017. For more information on the awards, conference and tickets head over to and read the full release below.

The Canadian Brewing Awards are Coming to our Nation’s Capital

15th Annual CBAC will be held in Ottawa, Ontario

Toronto, ON – January 31, 2017 – The 15th annual Canadian Brewing Awards (CBAC) is set for May 25-27, 2017 at the Ottawa Conference & Event Centre. CBAC 2017 combines three days of industry education and business networking, ending with an exciting awards gala recognizing the top beers and ciders in over 50 different style categories.

“Being Canada’s 150th birthday and the [Canadian Brewing Awards’] 15th anniversary, it only makes sense to have this year’s CBAC in our nation’s capital,” said Rob Engman, CBAC president. “Ottawa’s vibrant brewing community is so eager and enthusiastic about this year’s CBAC, it’s going to make it a really diverse and exciting experience!”

Alongside the announcement of the 2017 conference location, new eligibility rules have been announced for this year and beyond. Taking effect this year, all beer and cider submissions must be from a Canadian-owned brewery or cidery whose products are produced and packaged in Canada.

Last year, the CBAC saw over 1200 entries from 240 breweries/cideries. This year, organizers expect to see a significant increase in entries to reflect the growth in the Canadian brewery and cidery industry.

Online submissions for the CBAC are now open at and will be open until March 10, 2017. Early bird pricing for the conference is also open and tickets can be purchased at With tickets selling out in 2016, the planning team is anticipating another sold out conference for 2017 in Ottawa.

About the Canadian Brewing Awards

The Canadian Brewing Awards are the premiere competition for judging the quality of Canadian manufactured beer and ciders. The contest is the only truly national competition that invites breweries and cideries of all sizes from across the country to compete in a Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) sanctioned blind tasting to determine who creates the best beer/cider in a variety of style categories. A Canadian Brewing Award medal is a widely recognized symbol of brewing excellence in Canada.

BC Beer Awards 2015 – The Best of The West…For The Most Part Anyway

BC Beer Awards 2015 Title

Annually, one of the pinnacle events for brewery bragging rights and sampling beer in BC is the BC Beer Awards which are held every October. This year, 78 breweries entered over 500 beers in 20 different judging categories all hoping to medal and best each other in this Provincial competition. Sporting everything from a Rookie tent that featured a new beer and brewery every hour, to a beer can derby and a sour beer brewers challenge, the BC Beer Awards always seems to capture the essence of the BC beer scene in one evening of festivities.

This year, I felt that the judges did a decent job but still picked a few odd ball winners in some of the categories, while perfectly nailing many of the other ones. As always, with any subjective evaluation, when you examine the list of winners there’s going to be a bit of controversy with the results (even amongst the judges too). To see the full list of winners, click here, but for the purposes of this article I wanted to highlight some of the big wins (beers to look for) and a couple unusual results that I felt didn’t belong. At the end of the day, all judging is subject just like my own personal tastes, however beers are typically judged by how closely the represent a particular style and not necessarily which ones have the best flavour – but that’s a discussion for another day over a pint or three!

First off, the hardest award to argue with is the People’s Choice Award, which for the second year in a row went to Four Winds Brewery and is voted on by attendees. They decided to add some lime juice and a couple bottles of Bourbon to their already amazing Nectarous Dry Hopped Sour, essentially creating a beer inspired Whisky Sour. This was, I have to admit, one of the best things I have ever tasted at a beer fest (and I am attempting to recreate at home). The vanilla, oak and spices in the Bourbon melded perfectly with the sour ale and Galaxy hops, giving it a nice one-two punch of sweet and sourness with a rich savory vanilla booziness for an extra kick on the side. Their creativity never ceases to amaze me as they are by far my favourite brewery in BC for a reason, so I was thrilled that everyone agreed with me at the fest and voted for them to win again.

BC Beer Awards 2015 -1

Secondly, the standard setting and ever popular North America IPA category, once again saw the return of Central City’s Red Racer IPA to the top of the medal running’s. In fact, Central City walked away with two medals, something that the bigger craft breweries tend to struggle with. This was a big deal because with so many new breweries opening up in BC and so many different excellent IPA’s being produced, it’s nice to see a classic and long serving BC beer get recognized for what it truly is. Notably absent from this category were Yellow Dog Play Dead IPA and Driftwood  Fat Tug, two beers that always come into the “best IPA in BC” conversation, if not all of Canada.

Three notable breweries finally won Gold for beers that were a bit overdue for some higher level recognition. First off,  Dageraad, our local but traditional Belgian style brewery, thankfully got recognized with Gold for their amazing Belgian Blonde Ale in the Abbey Ale Category. I’ve had this side-by-side with many imports and it wins every time in my books. Secondly, Steel and Oak who is often regarded for making Lagers cool again, got rewarded Gold for their Dark Lager in the Amber/Dark Lager category. The head brewer is a German trained brewer who grew up locally and has really mastered the art of lagering, using smoked malts and being creative with malt forward styles of beer and they deserve to be recognized. Lastly, Four Winds Brewing finally got a Gold Medal for their Juxtapose Wild IPA in the Sour/Wild Ale category, this is a Sacc Trios yeast brewed IPA that is by far one of the more creative beers to hit the BC market in recent times and well deserving of gold, despite the odd category entry.

BC Beer Awards 2015 -3


Finally, the Rookie of the Year award and Best Stout winner went to Doan’s Craft Brewery, a brewery run by the little brother’s of one of my best friends through Elementary school. They took home best Stout with their Rye Stout and Rookie of the Year, which is very well deserved because they make excellent stuff. It’s nice to see them get recognized, they’d been trying to open a brewery for three years and finally did it in 2015 to much excitement and relief. I was glad to see an award like this, the new breweries need ways to get their names out, especially the ones that make the best beer.

So who maybe didn’t deserve to win? Well personally I wasn’t a fan of seeing Big Rock Brewery (an Alberta owned brewery who opened up shop in BC) win any awards. I mean they make so-so beer in their Vancouver brewery, but still managed to claim a couple of awards that I don’t think were particularly well deserved based on both location and product quality. If you’ve ever had their country wide offerings, you’ll know what I’m talking about overall. Also, Stanley Park Brewing, often makers of mediocre beer in my personal opinion, somehow managed to snag two awards for beers I wouldn’t willingly drink. Lastly, although a good beer, the Sour Challenge winner went to a pretty basic sour ale and ignored three outstanding sours from better breweries. But, alas, that’s just the way these things go sometimes and all the beers were blind tasted so any bias has been removed from the equation and I’ve since heard that their were some politics in the judging and the beer I thought should win actually had more votes, but from less influential and acclaimed judges so it lost out.

BC Beer Awards 2015 -4

What’s the point of all of this anyway? While other than putting on an amazing tasting festival, most of the awards went to some excellent beers that are truly approaching world class levels of quality and flavour. Our best IPA is distributed pretty much across the country and in much of the United States as Red Betty, not Red Racer. Our newer breweries are pretty much leading the market in terms of creativity and awards, and you can expect to see them grow and eventually make their way into other provinces over time. You’ve got some amazing stuff headed your way Canada, the beer from out West is just getting bigger and better and eventually we’ll stop drinking it all and send more to the East! Unfortunately, with some recent changes in AB beer laws, it’s unlikely that’ll we will see many Eastern Canadian beers out west. Thanks for spending some time reading the article, the opinions above are mine, but I’d love to hear yours in the comments section, including how you think your local events compare!

2015 Ontario Brewing Awards Winners and Gallery

The Ontario Brewing Awards took place last night celebrating their 12th year of honouring some of Ontario’s best beers and breweries. The event took place at Corus Quay on 25 Dockside St in Toronto, which housed brewers and industry professionals from all over the province. Here are your 2015 Ontario Brewing Awards Winners:

North American Light Lager

Gold: Cool Beer Brewing Co. – Stonewall Light
Silver: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery – Antigravity
Bronze: Laker Brewing Company – Laker Light

North American Lager

Gold: Triple Bogey Brewing Co. – Premium Lager
Silver:  Laker Brewing Company – Laker Lager
Bronze: Sleeman Breweries – Original Draught

Gold: Steam Whistle – Pilsner
Silver: Creemore Springs Brewery Ltd – Lot 9
Bronze: Kichesippi Beer Co. – Donny’s Dort

Amber Lager

Gold: Old Flame Brewing Co.- Red
Silver: Hop City Brewing Co.- Barking Squirrel
Bronze: Cool Beer Brewing Co. – Millennium Buzz

Dark Lager

Gold: Silversmith Brewing Company – Black Lager
Silver: Hop City Brewing Co. – 8th Sin Black Lager
Bronze: F&M Brewery- StoneHammer Dunkel


Gold: Lake of Bays Brewing Company – Crazy Eyes Darcy Tucker
Silver: Creemore Springs Brewery Ltd – UrBock
Bronze: Cameron’s Brewing Co. – Rye Pale Ale

Honey / Maple Beers

Gold: Haliburton Highlands Brewing – Honey Brown Ale
Silver: Railway City Brewing Co. – Shambock
Bronze: The 3 Brewers – Maple Ale


Gold: Side Launch Brewing Company – Wheat
Silver: Smithworks Brewing Company – Hefeweizen
Bronze: Muskoka Brewery – Summer Weiss


Gold: Mill St. Brewery – Belgian Wit
Silver: Northwinds Brewhouse – Moonlit Wit
Bronze: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery – Solstice Saison

Flavoured Beer

Gold: Wellington Brewery – 2014: A Spice Odyssey
Silver: Trafalgar Brewing Co. – Ginger Beer
Bronze: Mill St. Brewery – Lemon Tea

Farmhouse Ales

Gold: Nickel Brook Brewing Co. – Le Paysan Saison
Silver: Cameron’s Brewing Co. – Into the Shade Saison
Bronze: Amsterdam Brewing Co. – Howl

Lagered Ales

Gold: Sawdust City Brewing Co. – Gateway Kolsch
Silver: Nickel Brook Brewing Co. – Cause and Effect
Bronze: Sleeman Breweries – Cream Ale

British Pale / Bitter

Gold: Big Rig Brewery – ESB
Silver: Wellington Brewery – Arkell Best Bitter

American Pale Ale

Gold: Great Lakes Brewery – Canuck Pale Ale
Silver: Nickel Brook Brewing Co. – Naughty Neighbour
Bronze: Liberty Village Brewing Co. – 504 Pale Ale

British IPA

Gold: Longslice Brewery- Hopsta La Vista
Silver: Railway City Brewing Co. – Dead Elephant Ale
Bronze: Sleeman Breweries – India Pale Ale

West Coast IPA

Gold: Sawdust City Brewing Co. – Twin Pines IIPA
Silver: Stone City Ales – Green Goddess Imperial IPA
Bronze: Stone City Ales – Uncharted IPA

Dark IPA

Gold: Nickel Brook Brewing Co. – Malevolent Black Imperial Ale
Silver: Manantler Brewing Co. – Dark Prince
Bronze: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery – Netherworld

Amber Ale

Gold: Kilannen Brewing Co. – New Zealand Red Ale
Silver: Orange Snail Brewers – Rattle N’ Nemo
Bronze: Old Tomorrow Brewing  – Canadian Pale Ale

Dark Ale

Gold: Wellington Brewery – County Dark Ale
Silver: Clocktower Brew Pub – Bytown Brown
Bronze: Wellington Brewery – Iron Duke Strong Ale


Gold: Clifford Brewing Co. – Porter
Silver: Innocente Brewing Company – Charcoal Porter
Bronze: Block Three Brewing Co. – Pushbroom Porter


Gold: Trafalgar Brewing Co.- Schwartzy
Silver: Liberty Village Brewing Company – Black Blessing
Bronze: Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery – Cadillac Graveyard

Imperial Stout/ Baltic Porter

Gold: Wellington Brewery – Imperial Russian Stout
Silver: Big Rig Brewery – Cherry Bomb Imperial Chocolate Cherry Milk Stout
Bronze: 5 Paddles Brewing Co. – Midnight Paddler

Fruit Beer

Gold: Mill St. Brewery – Frambozen
Silver: Trafalgar Brewing Co.  – Raspberry Mint
Bronze: Amsterdam Brewing Co.  – KLB Raspberry Wheat

Vegetable Beer

Gold: Trafalgar Brewing Co. – Pumpkin Ale
Silver: Wellington Brewery  – Farmers’ Market Rhubarb Saison
Bronze: Garden Brewers – Green Thumb IPA

Flavoured Porters / Stouts

Gold: Trafalgar Brewing Co. – Schwartzy Xpresso
Silver: Barley Days Brewery – Scrimshaw Oyster Stout
Bronze: Amsterdam Brewing Co.  – Full City Double Tempest

Strong Beer

Gold: Smithworks Brewing Company- Blonde
Silver: Side Launch Brewing Company – Belgian Hat Trick
Bronze: Amsterdam Brewing Co.  – Vicars Vice

Gluten Free

Gold: Snowman Brewing Co. – The Rambam
Silver: Trafalgar Brewing Co. – Ginger Mead

Barrel Aged – Whisky

Gold: Amsterdam Brewing Co.  – Double Tempest
Silver: Cameron’s Brewing Co. – Deviator Doppelbock
Bronze: Amsterdam Brewing Co.  – Recidivist

Barrel Aged – Wine

Gold: Nickel Brook Brewing Co. – Winey Bastard
Silver: Amsterdam Brewing Co. – Sour Cherry Imperial Stout
Bronze: Sawdust City Brewing Co.  – ODB

Smoked Beer

Gold: Black Oak Brewing Co.  – Nox Aeterna
Silver: Covered Bridge Brewing – La Cabane à Sucre
Bronze: Mill St. Brewery – Rauchbier

Newcomer of the Year

Trafalgar Brewing Co.

Beer of the Year

Amsterdam Brewing Co. – Double Tempest

I would like to thank Beerlicious Inc. and Roger Mittag, of Thirst for Knowledge, for the truly amazing evening, as well as all the staff from Corus and the other staff that helped make this night happen.