Canadians love their beer, whether it’s produced by a big brewing company, such as Alexander Keith’s, or the small local craft brewery next door. There are microbreweries located across the country in both the big cities and sleepy seaside towns. Here’s the ultimate list of craft breweries you need to visit in Canada.
“It all began with a 27-year-old brewer, a windowless apartment, and a mountain of credit card debt.” Phillips Brewing has been known as unconventional from the beginning. Located in Victoria on Vancouver Island, the company has since grown to include a soda company, distillery, and Canada’s only malting facility. Some of the brewery’s more unique beers include the Amnesiac Double IPA (8.5% ABV), Hopocalypse Meow Anniversary Ale (9.2% ABV), and the Crookeder Tooth Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Ale.
“Beer Worth Freezin’ For”—this is the slogan for Yukon Brewing, which is one of the few beer producers in Canada’s northernmost territories. The two Ontarian owners opened the brewery in Whitehorse in 1997. The idea came to them around the campfire on a canoe trip. They have an excellent range of craft beers that includes the Midnight Sun Espresso Stout, the Ice Fog IPA, Deadman Creek Cranberry Wheat Ale, and Lead Dog Olde English Ale.
Founded in 1989, McAuslan Brewing is Quebec’s foremost microbrewery. Its first beer was the St-Ambroise Pale Ale, which McAuslan produced in bottles—the first microbrewery to do so. Next came the St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout, which was exported to New England in the 1990s. And 20 years ago, McAuslan began producing seasonal beers: apricot wheat ale for spring, raspberry ale in summer, spiced pumpkin ale in fall, and strong ale for winter. If your friends like cider, they will also love a visit to McAuslan Brewing.
Located in Edmonton, Alley Kat Brewing Company is Alberta’s fourth oldest brewery. The large team behind Alley Kat, which is very popular among Edmonton locals, is passionate about beer. They have a selection of both everyday brews and specialties, according to the season and the team’s crazy ideas. Stalwarts include Aprikat apricot ale, Scona Gold Kolsch, and Main Squeeze grapefruit wheat ale. A seasonal favorite is the Pumpkin Pie spiced ale, which is perfect for fall.
Located on an 11-acre farm in Gibsons, on British Columbia’s scenic Sunshine Coast, Persephone Brewing Company is a certified B Corporation, which means they incorporate “both social and environmental sustainability into [their] operating principles and core values.” Their farm includes two hop yards, a market garden, an apple orchard, and a flock of laying hens. There’s also the Farm to Feast food truck on-site, which is housed in an Airstream trailer.
The Prince Edward Island Brewing Company is more than just a brewery. They also host events, such as international comedic performances and tribute bands. They are also the producers of Atlantic Canada’s first canned craft beer, the Beach Chair Lager. Some of the other beers on offer include the Island Red premium red ale, a blueberry ale, Iron Bridge brown ale, 1772 IPA, and Sydney Street premium stout.
Propeller Brewing Co. has a simple reason for why their business began: they like really good beer. Their IPA is a three-time World Beer Championship gold medallist, but this isn’t the only decent brew in their year-round selection. Other options include a honey wheat ale, an ESB, a London-style porter, and a rye IPA. The Halifax-based brewery also does seasonal beers, including a coffee porter, pumpkin ale, and Russian imperial stout.
“Be a rebel, drink great beer”—this is the slogan for Rebellion Brewing, and it’s something you will definitely do when you visit the Regina brewery. They have a varied selection of year-round beers, including the Prairie Cherry Mead, which is 14% ABV. There’s also the Lentil Cream Ale, made from locally sourced lentils and barley. Some of the seasonal options are the Cat’s Got the Cream Ale (made with Mexican vanilla), and the Cherry Milkshake IPA, which was released in October 2017 to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Quidi Vidi Brewing Company produces one of the most unique beers in Canada today—Iceberg Beer™. The “ice-aged” beer is brewed using iceberg water harvested from 25,000-year-old icebergs off the Newfoundland coast. But wait, as there’s more beer on the menu, such as their 1892 traditional ale, Eric’s cream ale, Quidi Vidi light and premium lagers, and the British IPA.
A place you need to tick off the bucket list is Canada’s northernmost brewery—NWT Brewing Company. Located in Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories (one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights), NWT Brewing Company says they use “Canadian-grown grains with the purest water in the world to create [their] unique beers.” Their award-winning local favourite is the KickSled Cream Ale, but the best beer name award goes to the Bug Repellent IPA.