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2014 Great Ontario-Hopped Craft Brewing Competition!

The Bottomless Cup is up for grabs! The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs  is pleased to announce the call for submissions for the 2014 Great Ontario-Hopped Craft Beer Competition. Last year’s inaugural competition was a great success, and the exit survey provided feedback that will make this year’s competition even better.


This bulleted list of topics has been assembled from the survey to help you plan for your submission:


We will once again hold the competition during the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Convention (OFVC) at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls. The actual date and time are yet to be determined, but it will be in February, 2014.


The registration process will remain the same, with the minor change that hop-growers will provide the competition with samples of hops for the hop rub to ensure they are absolutely optimal when attendees come to learn more about Ontario Hops during the competition. Registration forms will be available soon at www.ONhops.ca.


The website is being updated in preparation for the 2014 competition, including photos from the 2013 competition. The site receives  a lot of hits, which is great advertising for the breweries and hop growers participating in the competition.


The “Bottomless Cup” trophy will be up for grabs for the first place team. Permanent plaques will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place contestants.

  • NEW THIS YEAR is the Honourable Mention award, issued at the judge’s discretion.

In order to award the prizes in person, we are considering an awards ceremony in March. Engraved awards will be presented to winners in person, with a media presence, at a local bar or brewery. This could be an opportunity for brewers and hop growers to mix socially and sample select offerings from the participating breweries. We are open to suggestions as to where, when and what this event should be.


Last year, some participants found it difficult to source locally grown hops in time for the competition. We are announcing the 2014 competition early this year to encourage breweries and hop growers to set aside the hops required for the brew and the hop rub. Breweries looking for hop growers can find a list on the Ontario Hop Grower’s Association website under the Directory tab.


The exit survey indicated a wide selection of possible beer styles for the 2014 competition. Given our limit of  15 entries, we can only choose one style, and a slight majority vote pointed to the American Brown Ale as this year’s style. There is a great deal of flexibility in the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) and BeerJudge Certification Program (BJCP) definitions of the style, which should allow the breweries to be creative and still brew to style. The description follows:

10C. American Brown Ale

Aroma: Malty, sweet and rich, which often has a chocolate, caramel, nutty and/or toasty quality. Hop aroma is typically low to moderate. Some interpretations of the style may feature a stronger hop aroma, a citrusy American hop character, and/or a fresh dry-hopped aroma (all are optional). Fruity esters are moderate to very low. The dark malt character is more robust than other brown ales, yet stops short of being overly porter-like. The malt and hops are generally balanced. Moderately low to no diacetyl.

Appearance: Light to very dark brown colour. Clear. Low to moderate off-white to light tan head.

Flavour: Medium to high malty flavour (often with caramel, toasty and/or chocolate flavours), with medium to medium-high bitterness. The medium to medium-dry finish provides an aftertaste having both malt and hops. Hop flavour can be light to moderate, and may optionally have a citrusy character. Very low to moderate fruity esters. Moderately low to no diacetyl.

Mouthfeel: Medium to medium-full body. More bitter versions may have a dry, resiny impression. Moderate to moderately high carbonation. Stronger versions may have some alcohol warmth in the finish.

Overall Impression: Can be considered a bigger, maltier, hoppier interpretation of Northern English brown ale or a hoppier, less malty Brown Porter, often including the citrus-accented hop presence that is characteristic of American hop varieties.

Comments: A strongly flavoured, hoppy brown beer, originated by American home brewers. Related to American Pale and American Amber Ales, although with more of a caramel and chocolate character, which tends to balance the hop bitterness and finish. Most commercial American Browns are not as aggressive as the original homebrewed versions, and some modern craft brewed examples. IPA-strength brown ales should be entered in the Specialty category.

Ingredients: Well-modified pale malt, either American or Continental, plus crystal and darker malts should complete the malt bill. American hops are typical, but UK or noble hops can also be used. Moderate carbonate water would appropriately balance the dark malt acidity.

Vital Statistics:

OG – 1.045-1.060

FG – 1.010-1.016

IBUs – 20-40+

SRM – 18-35

ABV – 4.3-6.2%

Commercial Examples: Brooklyn Brown Ale, Great Lakes Cleveland Brown Ale, Avery Ellie’s Brown Ale, Left Hand Deep Cover Brown Ale, Bell’s Best Brown, North Coast Acme Brown, Lost Coast Downtown Brown, Big Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale

We look forward to hearing from you and welcome your comments on the idea of an Awards Event in March. Remember, the goal of this competition is to promote locally-grown Ontario hops in Ontario Beer… and to have fun.

Kind regards,

Evan Elford and Jason Deveau

GOHCBC Organisers:

Evan Elford, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs evan.elford@ontario.ca

Jason Deveau, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Rural Affairs jason.deveau@ontario.ca

For more details, or information on how to enter, go HERE.

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