A Top 10 Because Why Not?


If Ben Johnson has taught me anything, aside from the fact that one can add cheerios to a peanut butter and banana breakfast wrap to great success, it's that people love a good list. Personally, I don't know what I'd do without lists. While I observe other homo sapiens committing important numbers and dates to (presumably) memory, I'm always the one in the corner frantically scribbling down notes. Sure, I don't look as laid back and carefree , but in my defence, I'm never the one stuffing hot dogs in my face at IKEA, suddenly realizing that I just missed a dentist appointment.

We're beginning to get all our ducks in a row for the year's end, and thought now would be a good opportunity to revisit our favourite blog posts of 2014. We've done our best to get a new post up every single darn Friday, whether it's info about an upcoming beer release, articles about pertinent beer-centric topics, or honest accounts of Bellwoods behind-the-scenes.

Without further adieu, our Top Ten Blog Posts of 2014, in no particular order:

1. MAKING MOTLEY: Back in March, right before we were set to release our second batch of Motley Cru, news of the much anticipated brew was heavily guarded. Tensions were running a bit high as we locked down the final blend, got all the precious beer in bottles, and waited for the final conditioning to take place. This blog post takes a detailed look at all the (14 months) of prep work that goes into making a beer of this magnitude.

2. REVEALING MOTLEY: As soon as we tried those first carbonated sips, we knew that this was going to be one of our favourite beers of the year -- but it was still a huge surprise to see it sell out in 5 hours! There's always something a bit strange about working on a project for over a year and then watching it vanish in a fraction of the time, but ultimately we're happy that people enjoy this stuff as much as we do. Now at the other end of 2014, we can say this strange and delicious brett barrel aged IPA is still on our favourites list. Only a lucky few still hold this in their cellars...

3. THE MAKING OF A LABEL: We had a lot of fun revealing our process in making Motley, and we thought, why not apply this to other areas of our brewery? We get so much positive feedback about our beautiful Doublenaut labels, and in April we decided to interview the brothers and design team behind all your favourite Bellwoods characters. As an added bonus, we showed a lot of sketches of our labels in the initial idea phase, before they get fleshed out and spit polished.

4. COLOUR THEORY: This one was one of my favourite posts to write in the year, specifically because it's a topic with lots of misinformation surrounding it. Many patrons look to colour as a strategy for choosing a beer to drink, and we spent a whole blog post talking about why that might just be the worst way to make your decision. Beer colour is beautiful, but it doesn't give you that many clues about what your flavour future will hold. We tell you which factors should guide your way.

5. THOUGHTS ON NORMAL BEERS: In the brewpub and bottle shop, a lot of people ask us, "Why don't you make normal beers", and instead of starting some lengthy discussion, we chose to address this one in a post form. The short answer? Categories are broad, labels are misleading, and ‘normal’ is in the eye of the beholder. The long? Well, you can read the post.

6. WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT HOPS: Hoppy beers are popular, and IPAs have finally found their rightful place on the shelves of the LCBO. But what the hell does hoppy mean? How do hops vary? And why should anyone care? We aim to tackle the rich and delicious topic in this equally nerdy and informative post.

7. COMING OF AGE: It was the post to trump all other posts in the year, the motherload, the whopper, the doozy. We announced our expansion, you waved your hand around like you just din't care.

8. GROWING OLD TOGETHER: You asked and we delivered -- The Bellwoods Unofficial Guide To Cellaring Beer. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked, "How long can I age X?" I'd be rolling in it. Instead, I just wrote a lil' guide for you to access in times of need. Alas, the rolling will have to wait.

9. BREW LIFE: This post gave a detailed timeline of a day in the life of a Bellwoods brewer, and it received a ton of positive feedback. People finally got a chance to see that it's a lot of heavy lifting and hard work that makes this place tick -- not just a group of people quaffing beer and nodding in agreement.

10. TASTE BEERS WITH US: This was the post that announced our Monday night Guided Tastings. Y'all were so excited we booked up entirely in 3 days for the duration of 2014! But turn those frowns upside down because in mid-December we'll be releasing news of our new and improved 2015 sessions, slated to kick off in the second week of January.

So there you have it folks, a walk down memory lane on the Bellwoods Brewery blog. Honourable mentions go to The Science of Tweaking, where we discussed the fluid nature of our recipes, our delicious Drunken Clams recipe made with Farmageddon, and our Omertá release complete with musings on the roller coaster ride that is brewing.