There is nothing better than a cold beer after a long day of working, traveling and unpacking. And when you relocate you will find a large assortment of Canadian beers to try! Before refrigerators were invented, Canada had the perfect climate to make beer, and this is why the European settlers and traders decided to bring us the gift of the beer. Jean Talon built the first commercial brewery in Québec City in 1688, John Molson opened the Molson Brewery on the St Lawrence river in Montréal in 1786 (now the oldest brewing company, and second oldest company in North America), and Moosehead Brewery, founded in 1867, is Canada’s oldest independent brewery. A colourful history, and just the beginning of Canadian beers climbing the ranks to be some of the best in the world.
While companies such as Labatt, Molson and Sleeman have all been purchased by larger foreign companies, their products are still considered Canadian beers, as they are still made at a brewery in Canada. Aside from the major companies, today there are about 40 microbreweries in each of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, Manitoba, Newfoundland/Labrador, Nunavut and Saskatchewan – that means hundreds of great Canadian beers to choose from.
Here are 9 different kinds of beer and some Canadian beers to try:
· Lager: Smooth, while being dry and refreshing. The fermentation process is longer, and undertaken at a colder temperature than it is with an ale.
Try: Molson Canadian, Moosehead Lager, Rickards Red
· Ale: A flavourful brew. They will often be herbal, spicy or fruity. Made with top fermenting yeast.
Try: La Fin du Monde, Naramata Nut Brown Ale
· Pale Ale: Lightly carbonated, highly hopped, full-bodied beers, generally lightly coloured but can range to amber hues.
Try: Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, Great Western Original 16 Pale Ale
· Wheat Beer: Appears hazy, vary in flavour depending on the spice used in brewing, often called white beers due to the high amounts of malted barley and wheat.
Try: Denison’s Weissbier, Rickards White, Unibroue Blanche De Chambly
· Pilsner: Type of lager, golden in colour, distinct hop flavor, bottom-fermented.
Try: 6e Soir, Labatt Blue
· Porters: Sweet or dry, dark in colour, rich roasted malt barley flavor, heavy aroma and full bodied.
Try: Propeller London Style Porter, Tin Whistle Chocolate Cherry Porter, Sleeman Fine Porter
· Stouts: Much like a porter but less sweet, heavily hopped, dark colour, creamy head.
Try: Péché Mortel, Alberta Crude Oatmeal Stout, Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
· Light/Extra-Light: Brewed as ales and lagers are, but low in calories and low in alcohol (2.6-4% alcohol per volume).
Try: Molson Canadian Light
· Fruit/Spice/Vegetable Beer: slightly bitter, dominant fruit flavor with a hint of malt.
Try: Cuvée Boréale, Moosehead Light Lime, Garrison Raspberry Wheat
· Near Beer: non-alcoholic meaning the alcohol content is less than .5%, short fermentation process or regular beer with alcohol removed.
Aside from the brewing aspect, there are also many beer festivals across Canada including Toronto’s Festival of Beer, The Great Canadian Beer Festival in British Columbia, and the Golden Tap Awards in Ontario. Another great way to try some fantastic and unique Canadian beers!
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