Canada, we’ve got a lot of breweries. We’re lousy with them. And new ones are opening constantly, coast to coast. So many that it can be a challenge separating the wheat (beer) from the chaff. A challenge we are definitely up for. Behold: the best new breweries of the north! (The research that went into this was just gruelling.)
Stillwell Brewing, Halifax
From Good Robot to the much-anticipated 2 Crows, Halifax is suddenly overflowing with excellent new breweries. But its renewed beer obsession began with Stillwell, a Barrington St. bar with one of the country’s best-curated tap lists. Now, they’re getting into the brewing game. Expect many, many more broken men on Halifax piers.
Godspeed Brewing, Toronto
Toronto’s East End is exploding with new breweries, and its latest — and perhaps most hyped — is Godspeed, which opened to lineups around the block. For good reason: it’s the brainchild of master brewer Luc “Bim” Lafontaine, whose work with Montreal’s Dieu du Ciel is legendary. With Japanese-themed branding, the bar opened with three beers — an IPA, a stout, and a Dortmunder — and they were all exceptionally crushable.
Andina Brewing, Vancouver
At long last, Andina has landed, officially making East Van a craft-beer destination. Tucked into a heritage building on Powell St., the brewery — headed by brothers Nicolas and Andres Amaya — pours South America-inspired beer. It’s the first brewery in Canada to use the Chilean Patagonia Malt, and its roster tastes of raw sugarcane, passion fruit, and guava.
Stray Dog Brewing, Ottawa
Beau’s is still king in Ottawa, but new-ish establishments such as Bicycle Craft Brewing and Tooth and Nail are pushing the sud-soaked envelope. So, too, is Stray Dog, a newcomer to the city’s Orleans district. It opened with a fruity, malty take on an IPA — which the brewery dedicated to late Mobb Deep rapper Prodigy — but also rolled out a perfect-for-summer cucumber wheat beer.
Cold Garden, Calgary
Calgary’s breweries have tripled in the last three years, and Cold Garden’s among the best of the newcomers. The microbrewery, which already has growler refill stations dotting Cowtown, is unapologetically Western — take, for example, its saison, which is brewed with Saskatoon berries. Bottoms up.