Hamilton’s Clifford Brewing named Canadian Brewery of the Year

I first met Brad Clifford back in 2015. I volunteered to bartend at the Ontario Brewing awards and I proudly served up his Clifford Porter. At that time, Brad was contract brewing. For people who don’t know what contract brewing is, it’s when a brewery basically produces your beer for you because you don’t have a facility.

Fast forward a few years and tucked away in a corner lot at Nash and Bancroft, in an industrial part of Hamilton’s North East end, you’ll find Clifford Brewing.

Since 2009, Brad as like most brewers in the business, was a home brewer. He then moved into contract brewing until the time when he could afford to open his own brewery.

In the spring of 2017, construction began at 398 Nash Rd for the Clifford Brewing facility. By the fall of 2017, Clifford Brewing was producing beers in their new brewery. By May 2018, Clifford Brewing opened its taproom and brew house to the public.

As Clifford Brewing prepares to celebrate its one year anniversary this Saturday, Brad and his staff celebrated last week in Toronto at The Canadian Brewing Awards.

Clifford Brewing received a gold medal for their Clifford Porter, a gold medal for Porter Barrel Aged, a silver medal for East Hamilton Lager (a German style Pilsner), and a bronze medal for Marigold (a Belgian style Pale Ale). But the most important award came at the end of the night when they announced Clifford Brewing as Canadian Brewery of the Year.

“Super excited about the award,” says owner Brad Clifford, as he trains and learns about his new canning machine. “There’s so many amazing breweries across the country, we’re feeling humbled and stunned at the awards we received over the weekend. The four of us love working in the industry and we love representing Hamilton’s brewery scene. Thanks to everyone who’s supported us from day one — we couldn’t do it without you.”

The Canadian Brewing Awards (CBA) is a National Beer Competition for judging the quality of Canadian beer in 55 different style categories. This is the 16th year of the competition.

With well over 700 craft breweries producing beer in Canada, to win Brewery of the Year means you are definitely doing something right. The award not only recognizes the quality of the products that Clifford produces but it also shows that Hamilton can compete in the craft beer market.

Hamilton’s craft beer scene currently consists of Collective Arts Brewing, MERIT Brewing, Grain & Grit, Fairweather Brewing, Shawn & Ed, and Clifford.

Nick Gibbons from Collective Arts Brewing said “its great for the Hamilton beer scene when one of us wins.”

Joe Mrav, owner of Grain & Grit shared a similar sentiment by stating “its awesome, gives people another reason to come to Hamilton and check out the scene. Brad’s a great guy and makes great beers”.

The attitude and responses from fellow brewers in Hamilton is what makes Hamilton great. We’re here for each other and to see others do well in such a tough, competitive market is nothing short of amazing.

If you’re out and about this weekend, join Brad and his staff as they celebrate the one year anniversary on Saturday May 11th at the Brewery from 12 – 8 pm. Live music, one-off brews, special beer releases, a pig roast, and more will be there.

Let us know in the comments who your favourite Hamilton brewery is!

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