Award-winning breweries have Oakville and Burlington ranked high in the global beer scene

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Published October 27, 2023 at 2:53 pm

Nickel Brook Brewing
Nickerl Brook Brewing's new location on Mainway in Burlington

With a population of more than 400,000, four breweries – including a French-based restaurant chain that brews on site – Burlington and Oakville are not exactly overflowing with breweries.

But what they lose in quantity the two Lake Ontario communities more than make up in quality. Two breweries in particular – Nickel Brook in Burlington and Cameron’s in Oakville – have collected a mash tun of awards from provincial, national and global brewing organizations over the years.

Cameron’s Brewing, located on Invicta Drive in Oakville, has won nearly two dozen in just the past two years, including eight medals at the 2022 World Brewing Awards, with a prestigious gold awarded for Best New England-style IPA for Cruising Through the Galaxy.

Galaxy also won gold in 2021 at the World Beer Awards, while Buffalo Roam Barley Wine took top honours at the 2022 U.S. Open Beer Championships and Jurassic Park IPA took home a gold medal at the 2022 Canadian Brewing Awards.

The lineup at Cameron’s Brewing in Oakville

Nickel Brook in Burlington is no slouch at the award table either, earning two gold, a silver, a bronze and an honourable mention – as well as winning the Best in Show for their Jam Stand Raspberry Berliner Weisse (with vanilla & hibiscus) at last year’s Ontario Brewing Awards.

Winning awards is only part of the story, however, with consistent quality and being part of the community – and in the case of newcomer Burlington Brewery and the 3 Brasseurs location in Oakville, great food – also a big part of the success of the breweries.

Nickel Brook was created as u-brew company Better Bitters in 1992 by brothers John and Peter Romano and morphed to a craft brewery in 2006. Named for John Romano’s two children, Nickel Brook has been testing the boundaries of the craft beer world ever since.

With the original Drury Lane brewery transformed to a funk lab in 2016 (part of a former partnership with Hamilton’s Collective Arts Brewing), the brewery went into growth mode during the pandemic, buying Big Rock Brewing on The Queensway in west Toronto in 2021 and opening a Nickel Brook tap roo, and moving its Burlington operations to a new spot on Mainway last fall.

Nickel Brook’s core beers include Headstock IPA and Naughty Neighbour Pale Ale while lovers of all things dark look forward to the annual release of their bourbon barrel-aged Kentucky Bastard series of Imperial Stouts.

Cameron’s Brewing is also in the brewing business for the long haul, having set up shop in Oakville in 1997.

Owned by Mark Falkenberg (former partner and company president Bill Coleman stepped down in 2020) and run by Clint Israel (President) and Jason Britton (Vice President and Brewmaster), Cameron’s Brewing is a community gathering place at its newly renovated location on Invicta, just north of the QEW and east of Eighth Line.

3 Brasseurs, Oakville

Core beers at Cameron’s include the award-winning Cruising Through the Galaxy and Jurassic IPAs, Ambear Red Ale, Cosmic Cream Ale and 12 Mile India Pale Lager, as well as off beat brews like Samurai Sour.

The only other brewery in Oakville is 3 Brasseurs, located in the Oakville Entertainment Centrum, where patrons can always find great food and their traditional beers such as Blonde, West Coast IPA, Amber and White, as well as unique taps like Munich Queen Marzden, Jozo-Ka Hefeweizen, Bloody Amber Red Ale and Maxvimus Pale Ale.

3 Brasseurs was launched in Lille, France in 1986 and expanded to Montreal in 2002. The chain now has 87 restaurants, including 15 in Canada.

A newcomer to Nickel Brook’s turf in Burlington is Burlington Brewery, which operated as a contract brewer from 2017 until they acquired the 5 West Brewpub & Kitchen on Dundas Street in 2020.

The family-owned brewery, run by Fernando Sequeda (the Chef), Iris Gutierrez, Carlos Cime and Jeriuska Sandoval (the team behind Maiz Latin Food in Toronto), put their efforts behind small-batch beers like Magic Town Mexican Lager and the Hoppy Seagull IPA and on the extensive Latin-inspired menu, with offerings including nachos, tacos and churros, as well as brew pub favourites burgers, sandwiches and mac & cheese.

Burlington Brewery is located in the Headon Forest Shopping Centre at Dundas and Walkers Line.

Burlington Brewery

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