Clifford Brewing tops a strong Ontario field at the Canadian Brewing Awards

Hamilton’s Clifford Brewing took home the top trophy at the 2019 version of the Canadian Brewing Awards.

Clifford’s perennial favourite porter took home a gold medal in its category. East Hamilton lager and the barrel-aged version of the porter took silver while Marigold, a Belgian golden ale brought home a bronze. The CBAs base the brewery of the year award on tallying results across all categories.

In total, 58 of the trophies went to Ontario craft breweries.

Here are a few notable results from breweries you may not have tried beer from (because not much of makes it to the LCBO):

  • Jagged Little Pilsner – Stray Dog Brewing (gold)
  • Dingman dark lager – Herald Haus Brewing (bronze)
  • Barbe Blanche – Tuque de Broue (bronze)
  • Dubbel – New Limburg (bronze)
  • Quad – New Limburg (silver)
  • Brett Quad – Royal City (bronze)
  • Gosé Cuervo Tequila Lime Sour – People’s Pint (gold)
  • Final Bow (porter) – Overflow Brewing (silver)
  • Darkside chocolate stout – Upper Thames (bronze)
  • Black Donald – Calabogie (gold)
  • Paradise lager – The Grove (bronze)
  • Roger That (cream ale) – Overflow Brewing (bronze)
  • Iron Horse Trail IPA – Red Circle (bronze)
  • Exhibition (session IPA) – Royal City (gold)
  • Anchor Shoes (BBA dark saison with cherries) – Short Finger (gold)
  • Fargo (sour with lavender in gin barrels) – Short Finger (silver)

Brad Clifford is well-known as a former homebrewer whose awards helped give him the push he needed to turn pro. Another beer with a homebrew connection — Marcelo Paniza’s entry that won the Henderson Cup and was made into their Ides of February release — scored gold in the bock category.

Getting a true sense of what beer awards really mean can be tough because not all of them are transparent about key details. For instance, the per beer entry fees and restrictions on which beers qualify have gotten to the point where many of the best breweries feel like it doesn’t make sense to enter.

Aside from the awards, the other big news out of the conference was that a new, Canada-wide craft beer association has been formed. The Canadian Craft Brewers Association will work in concert with the existing provincial organizations.

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