A Guide to Canada’s Best Breweries
With a renowned craft beer scene and a thriving population of microbreweries, we Canadians take our beer very seriously. Often looking elsewhere for new and exciting food and beverage scenes we sometimes forget what’s in our own backyard. A study by Booking.com found that 37% of Canadian travellers plan to incorporate new food and drink destinations into their travel plans this year – and more than 46% say they pick a destination for its great food or drink. So whether it’s a guided tour of artisanal brews you’re after, or just a cold one, here are some of Canada’s best breweries.
North Brewing Company, Halifax
Try The Gus' 65m – a classic Belgian blonde
The capital of Nova Scotia, Halifax is quickly becoming one of Canada’s top destinations for craft beer and the North Brewing Company is leading the way. Inconspicuously located on the bottom floor of an industrial-looking house, this brewery has a selection of Belgian-inspired beers, all brewed in North End and downtown Dartmouth. The Gus’ 65m is a classic Belgian blonde with hints of citrus and a wheat finish, but expect to find a range of seasonal beers with spices like black pepper and orange peel. Pair this visit with a stay in the heart of downtown Halifax at The Prince George Hotel.
Dieu du Ciel!, Montreal
All the beers are good, so pick the one with your favourite name
Possibly a contender for the best brewery name, the homegrown house brews and snug atmosphere at Dieu du Ciel! make it a go-to destination for those in search of the perfect brewpub. Widely regarded for the high quality of its beers, you’ll want to go for one of the stouts. Péché Mortel has a roasted coffee aroma to it, while the Aphrodisiac is a dark ale with notes of dark chocolate, bourbon and vanilla. Linger out on the patio or join the bustle of the crowd inside, before heading back to your hotel – Le Quartier des Spectacles, a trendy self-catering apartment nearby.
Yukon Brewing, Whitehorse
Dreamt up around a campfire, this brewery is now a reality
Like all good origin stories, Yukon Brewing was dreamt up around a campfire by two Ontarians on a canoe trip. Since then, Yukon Brewing has grown to be one of the premier beer suppliers to Canada’s northernmost regions with eight beers available that pay homage to the brewery’s northern roots – from the dark and malty ‘Longest Night’, or the balanced IPA ‘Ice Fog’. The brewery also offers guided tours for beer connoisseurs. When you’re done there, Triple B Bed n Breakfast is close by, where you'll have views of the Northern Lights.
Four Winds Brewing Company, Delta
The sample set here is the best way to get a feeling for your favourite
The Four Winds Brewing Company in Delta, British Columbia is lauded by locals and critically acclaimed on a national level. Its beers have infiltrated the Canadian beer conscience, so make the trip to the brewery’s compact tasting room one afternoon and sample a few of the award-winning ales they have on tap. Try the Nectarous, a sour beer with hints of tropical fruit and a tart finish, or for a good session ale, the Juxtapose beer – a wild IPA that will do the trick. Take a few bottles to go, and head back to the Seagrass Guest House, which is only a 12-minute walk from the beach.
Bicycle Craft Brewery, Ottawa
Cycling is best avoided after you've had a few of these beers
The Canadian capital has a burgeoning beer scene, and Bicycle Craft Brewery is one of the highlights. Inspired by Ottawa’s cycling paths, the brewery’s stylish aesthetic – think ladders used as lighting fixtures, exposed bulbs and dark farmhouse-style tables – and delicious beers make it a great spot for those without extensive beer knowledge. The brewery has a roster of seasonal beers and mainstays that include perennial favourites such as the Velocipede IPA, a zesty grapefruit number with subtle hints of pine, and the darker, maltier and slightly caramel Mr Templeton’s Wee Heavy. After all is said and done, meander back into the centre towards the Alt Hotel Ottawa.
Le trou du Diable, Shawinigan
In the Devil's hole, the Dulcis Succubus is the go-to beer
Continuing the tradition of inventive brewery names, Quebec’s Le trou du Diable (or Devil’s Hole) is a cosy microbrewery and gastropub. Located in the town of Shawinigan, expect some otherworldly brews at this low-lit, rustic drinking den. The barrel-aged Dulcis Succubus is a heady mix of grape, vanilla, apricot and leather, and is described by the brewery as ‘a beer you should prepare to sell your soul to’. If life-long dedication still seems like a bit of stretch when heading to the pub, try the Belgian triple La Buteuse, a sweet and maltier alternative. Once you’ve sampled some of the underworld’s best offerings, return to your best self at Gîte Chez Baza.