Last night, the winners of Ontario Brewing Awards for 2018 were announced at the Berkeley Church in Toronto. Cass Enright hosted the show and also announced the winners for his Golden Tap Awards.
The OBAs are a traditional-style beer awards system where breweries submit packaged beer to be scored blind by panels of BJCP judges. Up to three medals are given for each of 44 style categories.
Big winners at the OBAs this year included Wellington with six trophies – five of them gold – and Muddy York, also with six. Amsterdam, Cameron’s, Nickel Brook and Walkerville all took home five — and Amsterdam added a best-in-show trophy for Rational Energy, which is aged in red wine barrels.
As a good complement to the pro-style judging of the OBAs, the Golden Taps are popular votes, conducted over the last few weeks by internet ballot. Beau’s All-Natural Brewery led the pack with nods for best brewery, best regularly-produced beer (Lug Tread) and the best staff. Bellwoods pulled down a pair of Golden Tap awards for best brewpub and most innovative brewery.
In the newcomer categories, Bar Lupulus in Ottawa got the new bar now and Little Beasts in Whitby won for new brewery.
It’s also worth noting that Growler contributor Ben Johnson was knocked off for best beer writer by Robert Arsenault, a.k.a. Drunk Polkaroo.
The OBAs are a pretty good weathervane for up-and-coming talent. The list of winners you may not have heard of before includes The Grove Brew House (4) in Kingsville, Stray Dog (3) in Orleans, Vimy Brewing Company (3) in Ottawa, and Stack Brewing (3) in Sudbury.