About Canadian Beer

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

Unibroue La Résolution Dark Ale
96 points
Nearly opaque dark brown color. Spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of sarsaparilla, gingerbread, dark chocolate mint and graham crackers, and menthol-eucalyptus lozenge with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, involved, long spiced melon, chocolate fondue with pears, and toffee finish. A robust, spicy, herbal Belgian strong ale that begs another sip.
Awards: 2017 Best Belgian Style Strong Ale, 2017 Best Canadian Beer
Unibroue La Résolution
96 points
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.
Vancouver Island Brewing Hermannator Ice Bock
95 points
Dark walnut color. Sweet aromas of chocolate covered toffee, marinated strawberry, dark roasted hazelnut, and cured meats with a satiny, vibrant, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a charming, medium-long chocolate babka, chocolate malt shake, mint, and maple finish. A rich but never heavy Eisbock with excellent pure flavors; treat yourself.
Unibroue 17 Grande Reserve Dark Ale
95 points
Hazy mahogany color. Woody aromas and flavors of cedar pencil and eraser, green tobacco leaf and chicory, roasted nuts and bananas, and smoked peppercorns with a satiny, soft, finely carbonated, dryish medium body and a warming, captivating, medium-length caramelized root vegetables, cocoa-dusted nuts, and rubber leaf and sap finish. A oaky Belgian offering.
Awards: 2017 Best Belgian Style Specialty Ale
Unibroue La Fin du Monde
95 points
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.
Unibroue 2014 17 Grande Réserve Dark Ale
94 points
Dark burnt sienna color. Complex aromas of fine chocolates, red bean confection, cola-nut, mandarins in whipped cream, and chrysanthemum with a velvety, crisp, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, nuanced, long cafe latte, white chocolate, tobacco, hoisin sauce, carrot cake, and baked plums finish. An excellent Belgian-Style Ale with a myriad of flavors; try with east-Asian cuisines.
Vancouver Island Brewing Victoria Dortmunder Lager
94 points
Minutely hazy light gold color. Hoppy aromas and flavors of orange and lemon oils, cauliflower with capers and dill, cedar chips, and dried mango with a round, crisp, effervescent, dry light-to-medium body and an appealing, medium-length kale, toast, squash blossoms, and grapefruit rind finish. A balanced hop-forward Dortmunder for the serious lager fan.
Vancouver Island Brewing Dominion Dark Lager
94 points
Mahogany color. Aromas of toasted pumpernickel with nutella and apricot jam, cocoa dusted raisin, and Riesen chocolate chew with a slightly chewy, bright, finely carbonated, bone-dry medium-to-full body and a stimulating, long dry-roasted nuts, baking chocolate, and charred root vegetables finish. A very rich and concentrated dark lager that seems closer in style to a stout; dry and appetizing.
Unibroue Trois Pistoles Belgian-Style Dark Ale
94 points
Mahogany color. Aromas and flavors of pumpernickel with herb compound butter, sweet yogurt with shaved chocolate, bananas on toast, and apple pastry with a silky, crisp, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-long spiced fruits and roasted almond finish. A Belgian strong ale with perky herbal notes balanced by rich roasty malt.
Unibroue La Fin du Monde Belgian-Style Triple Ale
94 points
Hazy gold color. Aromas of meyer lemon curd, bubblegum, buttered grits, artisan cola, and dried mango with a satiny, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a peppery, interesting, medium-length lemon bar, carrot cake, and oregano focaccia finish. A lengthy Abbey ale that presents a wide array of flavors to the curious drinker.