What better way to toast the glorious Canadian summer than by taking a deep dive into its tastiest new brews? Craft brewing in Canada has come a long way since the country’s first brewery set up shop in the 1660s. More than three-and-a-half centuries later — in 2019 to be exact — the number of Canadian craft breweries hit triple digits. To save your liver the trouble, we did some hard-nosed reporting and put together this definitive list of the 19 best craft wobbly pops to enjoy at the cottage, cabin or chalet this summer. You’re welcome, Canada!
Iceberg Lager, Quidi Vidi Brewery
Does knowing that a beer is brewed with water from 20,000-year-old Newfoundland icebergs make it more refreshing? It sure doesn’t hurt the appeal of this crisp North American-style lager, which combines notes of toasted grain with a very smooth and dry finish.
Ball’s Falls Session IPA, Bench Creek Brewing
Named after one of the Niagara Escarpment’s most famous cascades, this Beamsville brew evokes a picturesque waterfall with its pale golden hue and foamy head. Going down, it delivers juicy hop aromas of peach and citrus fruit, and finishes dry with a hint of cedar.
This small-batch beauty is brewed using a traditional step-mash process that makes it medium-bodied yet satisfyingly dry at the finish. The tall can’s stylish artwork couldn’t get much more Torontonian, and 1 percent of Divercity sales support the Canada Centre of Diversity and Inclusion. Tastes good, looks good, and you can feel good about drinking it.
Southern Light, Hometown Brew Co.
Hometown Brew Co.’s Southern Light is a sessionable Belgian ale brewed in Langton, Ontario. It’s got a malty sweet flavour, finishing with hints of American wheat. Hell, we’re ready to pour a glass of this golden treat right now.
Blueberry Blonde, Broadhead Brewing Company
Broadhead Brew Co. brews its fruity Blueberry Blonde in Ottawa. The seasonal beer packs a mean berry punch. An ideal choice if you’re looking to bust out some left-field flavours at a Canada Day party.
Strathcona is all about celebrating the diversity of its namesake Vancouver neighbourhood, and this Sour Ale provides a prime example of its mission. Brewed with generous quantities of guava puree, lemon juice and a hint of lactose, this eye-catcher is light in body, tart in finish, and lip-smacking all round.
KickSled Cream Ale, NWT Brewing Company
One of Canada’s most northerly breweries is set in the heart of Yellowknife. The KickSled Cream Ale is an award-winning, sessionable beer with a creamy head. Its Canadian malt is crisp AF, and is ideal for a hot summer evening under the midnight sun.
Wheat Burst, Black Bridge Brewery
Straight outta Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Black Bridge Brewery stays true to its roots with a Wheat Burst beer. Its hoppiness is sure to have your mouth watering and your taste buds tingling with fruity notes.
Working Class Hero Dark Mild, Riot Brewing Co.
If the radical can design doesn’t turn your head, the can’s contents will. Brewed in Chemainus, B.C., the subtle roasted malt flavour and deep amber colour of this World Beer Cup-winning oat soda will cool off every hard-working Canadian who tries it.
Canada’s ”Beer of the year” in 2016 and winner of several silver and gold medals at the Canadian Brewing Awards, this product of Delta, B.C. balances sourness and complex acidity with tropical fruit esters en route to a clean, tart finish. Bring it to any Canada Day bash and behold as you blow everyone’s socks off.
If Sidney Crosby has never tasted the Irish red ale named after his Nova Scotia hometown, the NHL legend is missing out. Its full-bodied hoppiness complements its toasty malt flavour beautifully, with a velvety finish that’s as smooth as Sid’s moves on the ice.
Kolschlaga, L’Espace Public
Like many Canadian craft breweries, Montreal’s L’Espace Public is big on the double-fermentation technique. This blonde has light aromas of fruit and cereal, with pleasing pilsner malt attributes. Santé!
Greenwood IPA, Left Field Brewery
Left Field’s juicy flavours are sure to hit a home run in summer, with the pale-gold Greenwood IPA featuring a refreshing full body that goes into extra innings if need be. Pairs well with peanuts and Cracker Jacks — no joke!
Made from premium Canadian barley malt and generously hopped in the Pacific Northwest style, this apres-ski favourite is just as satisfying on a sunny dock or patio. Brewed in sublimely scenic Golden, B.C., Blower Pow encourages drinkers to “shred, enjoy, repeat.”
This moderately sweet and malty ale cuts through summer heat like the 55-tonne axe in the middle of Nackawic, New Brunswick, that gives this brewery its name. Far from being heavy, however, this brew made from local hops is refreshingly light and crisp.
What do you get when you combine the beer basics of filtered water, Canadian barley malt, premium hops and yeast? In the case of Tall Ship Light, you get a crisp and clean 4 percent brew that pours pale yellow and finishes smooth and dry with a very mild hop aroma.
Why is Winnipeg’s most famous annual event lending its name to this lager? The short answer: Because the beer pairs perfectly with music and sunshine. With subtle malt flavours and a crisp, clean finish, Folk Fest Lager is worthy of several encores.