The sudsy celebration that is the Canadian Brewing Awards has come and gone for another turn through the calendar pages, and a northwest-style India pale ale from BC has emerged as 2011’s pick of the pubs. Fat Tug IPA, produced by Driftwood Brewing Co., was named beer of the year in this annual contest that invites breweries from across Canada to submit their wares for consideration in 31 style categories.
This year’s event—the ninth—is being lauded for its efforts to cast a wider net than in times past. Previously criticized for its Toronto-centric positioning and apparent partiality to breweries based in Ontario, Quebec and BC, organizers of the 2011 contest undertook an outreach campaign to attract contestants from further afield.
Among the entries that consequently poured in from nine provinces and one territory (the Yukon) was Picaroon’s Traditional Ales, a tiny craft brewery from Fredericton, NB, that scored as Brewery of the Year.
And in another inclusionary move, coordinators have announced that the awards will be held in Montreal in 2012, the first time they’ve ventured out of the Tdot. That’s significant, Frederick Tremblay, owner of MicroBrasserie de Charlevoix (which took gold and silver in the Belgian Abbey Ale category for its Hibernus and Triple, respectively), told the Star recently. “This way, brewers can realize it’s not just a Toronto show.”
The awards are judged by a panel of certified “beer experts” (that’s gotta look good on a business card), accredited by the Beer Judges Certification Program. They considered five criteria—aroma, flavour, mouth-feel, appearance and overall impression—in a blind tasting session.
TAPS Media, the Toronto-based company that also publishes an eponymously named magazine, runs the event. The full list of winners is at: www.canadianbrewingawards.com.