About Canadian Beer

Canada: Beer Eh?

Despite its geographic proximity, Canada has a very different beer scene in comparison to the United States. For example, many beer connoisseurs agree that mass-market Canadian pale lagers are typically stronger and more full-bodied than their U.S. counterparts. Canada’s beer scene also varies due to provincial government monopolies on beer distribution and retail sales. These laws often allow for the rapid growth of microbreweries by eliminating the difficult step of securing distribution and placement in the marketplace. However, it is interesting to note that with an alternatively independent retail sector, Quebec boasts the liveliest craft-brewing scene in Canada, with the similarly unregulated British Columbia falling close behind.

Unibroue from Chambly, Quebec has been recognized by the Beverage Testing Institute and many others for their outstanding range of Belgian-style ales. McAuslan of Montreal boasts an excellent range of Anglo-style ales, many of which are also found in U.S. markets. Apart from various artisanal products, U.S. consumers are most likely to encounter Canadian beers from Labatts, Molson or Moosehead. Additionally, a considerable amount of beer from other countries are brewed under licenses in Canada, including Guinness of Ireland, Foster’s of Australia and Carlsberg of Denmark.
Top Picks for Canada
Cidrerie Arista
Pomme de Coeur
Deep golden amber color. Spicy apple sauce aroma with a silky, fruity medium-to-full body and a long, tangy, and pure honeyed apple and fresh apple cider finish. A delicious and pure cider that is sure to please, especially with desserts.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
La Résolution
Walnut color. Spicy, herbal floral complex aromas and flavors of chai latte, honeyed thyme and lavender, pomegranate chutney, and alpine herbs with a supple, crisp, finely carbonated, fruity sweet medium body and a warming, medium-long menthol mint, spiced chocolate, and creme brulee finish. A rich and complex Belgian ale with evolving waves of flavor; a dessert beer.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
17 Grande Reserve 2011
Copper color. Aromas of chestnuts, toffee, and black raspberry tart with a slightly chewy, tangy, effervescent, fruity medium-to-full body and a silky, complex, long chocolate tangerine peels and oak finish. A superbly balanced and flavorful oak-aged ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
La Fin du Monde
Minutely hazy gold color. Bright, citrusy aromas and flavors of spiced lemon, lavender, and sweet potato with an oily, vibrant, effervescent, off-dry medium body and a warming, charming, medium-long honeyed apricot nut toast, greens, and herbs and white pepper finish. A supple, flavorful, well balanced tripel.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Brasseurs du Monde
Vielle Brune
Hazy mahogany color. Bright, complex aromas of dark berry shrub, mesclun greens, rhubarb yogurt, and marinated meat with a glycerous, tangy, effervescent, sweet-and-sour light-to-medium body and a tingling, subtle, medium-length wafers, pomegranate soufflé, blood orange, and nuts finish. A mouthwatering sour beer with fine balance.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Cidre Beaupré
Rosé Cider
Nickel pink color. Aromas and flavors of green apples, raspberries, passionfruit, cream, and rubber sap with a silky, lightly effervescent fruity medium body and a tangy sour cherry and earth accented finish. A charming, very different cider that drinks like a rosé Vinho Verde wine.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Belgh Brasse
Mons Blonde D'Abbaye
Gold color. Aromas and flavors of toasty banana soufflé and meringue, papaya-pepper relish, toasted lemon herb muffin, and watercress with a slightly chewy, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, long buttered fruit cake, nougat, and delicate spice finish. A fantastically chewy, flavorful and nuanced Belgian blonde ale.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Muskoka Brewery
Legendary Oddity Strong Ale
Gold color. Spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of peach-apple custard tart, toasted pretzel bread, arugula and kale with a lemon-pepper vinaigrette, and herbs de Provence with lavender with a satiny, bright, effervescent, dryish medium body and a warming, layered, medium-long salty butter roasted corn and pepper finish. A supple and well balanced Belgian strong ale with appetizing savoriness.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Brasseurs du Monde
L'Interdite 60 Min Pale Ale
Bright gold color. Interesting, fruity, floral aromas of spiced peaches and apples, apricot vinaigrette on greens, and lilacs with a supple, tangy, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an interesting, medium-long orange marmalade on rye toast, radicchio, kiwi relish, and pink pepper finish. Sort of a hybrid between an American and Belgian pale; very tasty nonetheless.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
Brasserie Schoune
Lambic Framboise
Brilliant burnt sienna color. Lively, fruity aromas of raspberry butter on brioche and berry sorbet with a silky, tangy, finely carbonated, cloying medium body and a smooth, delightful, medium-long sour apple and watermelon sherbet, berry gastrique and cobbler, and white tea finish. A delicious and wide-appealing framboise lambic with a great balance of sweet and sour berry flavors.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab