The Ontario Craft Brewers

The Ontario Craft Brewers

November 10, 2005 13:26 ET

The Ontario Craft Brewers: Add Great Flavour And Good Cheer To Your Celebrations With Ontario Craft Beers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 10, 2005) -

Attention: Food Editors, Beer Writers And Lifestyle Editors

Timely Tips from Ontario Craft Brewers:

Unique Gifts, Exceptional Celebrations and Distinctive Beers for the Holidays

HERE'S TO THE HOLIDAYS! Make this holiday season merry in traditional Ontario style -- with good friends and great beer. The 26 Ontario Craft Brewers brew more than 100 full-flavoured beers that will bring taste and originality to your holiday gifts, celebrations and recipes.

"Ontario Craft Brewers are passionate about making full flavoured, high quality beers that appeal to every taste," says Ken Woods, President of Black Oak Brewing Co., one of the 26 Ontario Craft Brewers. "This year, indulge in some of the delicious and distinctive Ontario craft beers available. Whether you're hosting a party or giving a gift, treat yourself and your friends, families and colleagues to great tasting Ontario craft beers."

Add Cheer To Your Holiday Party

Ontario Craft Brewers make beer in a wide range of beer styles, including: blonde lagers, amber lagers, dark lagers, pilsners, light ales, medium flavoured ales, rich ales, wheat beers, bock beers, stouts, porters, and specialty beers such as raspberry, spiced, honey and hemp beers.

So why not celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with the 12 styles of Ontario craft beer? Serve party guests a selection of premium Ontario craft beers and matching holiday fare for a special and delicious holiday get-together. Guests will enjoy sampling the range of tastes and can take pride in supporting Ontario's local beer talent.

And here is a unique spin on a traditional theme: a beer and cheese party! Because beer clears your palate after each sip, Ontario's craft beers make a good match for gourmet cheeses. It's a fun way to keep your guests entertained by new tastes.

A full list of Ontario craft beers organized by brewery and style is available at

Gifts with Good Taste

Looking for that special holiday gift for the beer lovers on your list? Consider creating personalized gift baskets with a selection of Ontario craft beers, perhaps a different beer for each of the 12 days of Christmas, and other beer-themed items such as openers, beer books, glasses and specialty snacks to match the beer. Some Ontario Craft Brewers offer customized gift packs and special festive packaging. A wide range of Ontario's finest craft beers are available at LCBO stores, The Beer Store and directly at the breweries' retail stores.

For those with a thirst for knowledge, beer appreciation courses are available at some of Ontario's craft breweries, such as Robert Simpson Brewing Company in Barrie.

Ontario Craft Brewers' Holiday Events and Traditions

Ontario's craft brew masters celebrate the holidays with their own long-standing traditions of entertaining friends and family with their beers and seasonal food.

To experience the hometown festivities at Ontario's 26 craft breweries or to shop for unique beers for your holiday festivities, visit craft breweries located in communities throughout Ontario. At the breweries, visitors can sample beer not available anywhere else, explore historic buildings, meet passionate brew masters and tour local communities ranging from Toronto and Windsor to Neustadt Springs and Campbellford.

Here is a sampling of craft brewers' traditional seasonal festivities:

Mike Stirrup and Doug Dawkins at Guelph's Wellington Brewery hold an annual Christmas snowmobile tour for employees, family and friends. Guests tour some of South Western Ontario's finest snowmobile trails on two-dozen decorated sleds. After the outing, chilly revellers warm up with venison stew served fireside with Wellington's County Ale and Special Pale Ale at the Iron Duke House pub in Guelph.

At Brick Brewing in Waterloo, President Jim Brickman hosts annual festivities for staff, friends and family to celebrate with music, food and, of course, their handcrafted beers.

Many of Ontario's craft breweries also have special event space on their premises, which make a unique and entertaining party venue for holiday or office festivities. Directions and contact information for each of the 26 Ontario Craft Brewers, winter daytrip ideas for each of the five Ontario Craft Beer regions, and a downloadable map of the Craft Beer Route are available at

Flavourful Holiday Cooking With Craft Beer

When planning your holiday menu, think outside the 'bottle' and consider cooking with beer. Be it an ale, lager, pilsner or stout, craft beer adds distinctive flavour to a dish, enhances the natural flavours of the other ingredients, and makes the perfect match to serve with the finished dish.

"Bake, broil and baste with beer this holiday season," says Woods. "Whether you're using it as a marinade, in turkey gravy or dessert, beer is a unique ingredient that'll add a delicious, creative twist to holiday recipes. And, of course, be sure you sample some while you're creating your culinary masterpieces!"

Chocolate Ale Fondue
Courtesy of Chef Brian Morin, The Beer Bistro

3/4 cup 35% cream
2 tbsp. butter
2 lb semi sweet dark chocolate
8 oz. Mill Street Coffee Porter

Strawberries, raspberries, pineapple chunks, banana chunks, orange
segments, ladyfingers, brownies or banana bread


Broil cream and butter together. Chop chocolate very fine. Pour boiling cream mixture over chocolate. Slowly stir the Coffee Porter until the correct dipping consistency is achieved. Serve chocolate mixture warm in a fondue pot. Dip fruit and ladyfingers into fondue mixture. Enjoy! Serves 10 people.

Baked Oysters with Spicy Cheese and Stout
Courtesy of Chef Brian Morin, The Beer Bistro
Recommended beer match: County Durham Brewing Company Black Katt Stout

18 oysters
3 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
1 tbsp. garlic, finely diced
1 bunch watercress, roughly chopped, stems removed
1/2 lb baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 Jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1 tsp. black pepper
6 oz. weight cream cheese
1/4 cup Granite Brewery's Keefe's Irish Stout
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


Rinse oysters well. Shuck and set oyster and juice aside. Reserve the cup half of the shell for later. In a hot large frying pan add butter and saute shallots and garlic together until soft and translucent. Add watercress, baby spinach, Jalapeno, black pepper and the juice from the oysters to the pan. Saute until greens are wilted. Let mixture cool.

Place cream cheese into food processor and blend until smooth slowly pouring in beer until fully incorporated. On a baking-proof tray, place oyster cups facing up.

Chop wilted greens. Place a small bed of spinach/watercress mixture on the bottom of each oyster cup. Place an oyster in each cup, and top with a spoonful of the cheese-beer mixture and then the parmesan cheese. Bake in a hot oven until cheese mixture is light brown and bubbly (approx. 8 minutes). Serves six people.

Beer and Cheese Dip (yields 4 cups)
Courtesy of The Duke Pubs (
Recommended beer match: Brick Amber Lager

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp onions, finely minced
1/2 cup milk
1 cup water
1 tbsp chicken soup base
2 cups Brick Amber Lager
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 cup grated old cheddar cheese


Saute onions in butter until soft (not browned). Add flour and mix in roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add milk and stir until the milk is completely incorporated and very thick. Dissolve chicken soup base in water and add to milk mixture. Bring to a rapid boil. Add beer, Worcestershire, Tabasco and mustard powder. Mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Add cheese gradually, making sure each addition is completely melted before adding more. When all the cheese has melted, transfer the mixture into a clean container and let it cool. Serve with toasted pita wedges and enjoy!

The Ontario Craft Brewers

The Ontario Craft Brewers are a group of 26 small brewers that are dedicated to making great tasting beer in Ontario. The 26 members of The Ontario Craft Brewers brew their beers locally in communities throughout Ontario - from Carleton Place to Windsor and St. Catharines to Bracebridge. Ontario craft beers can be found at the breweries' on site retail stores, pubs, restaurants, and select LCBO and The Beer Store locations throughout Ontario. For more information on The Ontario Craft Brewers, visit

NOTE: Photos and additional recipes are available upon request

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