It's been a great 2016 for beer in Toronto, but what will 2017 hold?
We did it, everyone. We finally hit the holidays and we’re hitting the final days of this year. Take a break. Have some eggnog. You deserve it.
But as we say goodbye to 2016, it’s always fun to think about what the next year will hold for us. So with that, here are a few predictions on what we may have in store for us in 2017…
Brewpubs, Brewpubs, Brewpubs!
Brewpubs have definitely been on the rise in Toronto and with upcoming ones like Big Rock’s Liberty Commons, Goose Island, Godspeed, and 33 Acres lined up to open soon, it’s safe to say that we’re just going to get more places with excellent food, in-house beers, and bottles to go.
The past year has definitely seen a massive influx of sour beers. But thanks to further education among brewers on kettle souring, there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a lot more of them. Kettle souring, essentially, is a fairly inexpensive and quick way to make a beer with high acidity and nice sour pucker without introducing bacteria that could potentially wreak havoc on a brewhouse. It’s a nice alternative to the more traditional way of souring beer, and definitely allows brewers to keep up with the demand for sours. However, buyer beware. While there are a LOT of amazing kettle sours out there, there are bound to be a few brewers who think the process is simpler than it really is and create something that is essentially acidic water.
We’ve been seeing a few this year, but 2017 is going to have a lot of beers that’ll be downright juicy. In most instances it will be making use of hops specifically made to showcase the lighter side of hops (Sawdust City’s cloudy and wonderful Juicin’ IPA is an example), but in some cases it’s due to fruit being included in the brewing process. Raspberry, peach, mango, strawberries…we’ve been getting them and they’re just going to grow. Heck, Bellwoods Brewery announced the release of two returning cherry-infused beers, Niagara Montmorency Cherry Farmageddon and 3 Minutes to Midnight.
More Simple Styles
Pilsners have been on the rise this past year, but next year we may see more brewers return to the simple done well styles of English IPAs, ESBs, and even Munich Helles. 2016 Canadian Brewing Awards’ brewery of the year, Side Launch Brewing, is doing incredibly well with their Munich Helles Mountain Lager and Toronto’s Amsterdam has brought out a new winter seasonal, the 2017 Helles Golden Lager. In a scene that seems to be jam-packed with the new and flavourful, it’s good to know that there is a moderately flavoured, but well-crafted option out there.
The LCBO’s online retail store was a good first step in getting beer sent right to your door, but what about the breweries who aren’t available in the LCBO? Well, of special note are the folks at Seaforth’s Half Hours on Earth, who are selling their truly world-class beers from their online store and shipping them out via Canada Post. Other breweries have started to bring in this model for their own (Highlander Brew Co. and Barley Days are two such examples), but I suspect that we’ll be seeing more breweries in distant parts of the province take on the mail order route as a means to get their beer out directly to the public.