It’s definitely no secret. Canadians love their beer.
Canadian beer can be said to be the pride of the nation. Most social events, gatherings and get-togethers in Canadian culture feature local beers.
Grabbing a beer at the end of a long workday, while watching hockey, or cheering on your favourite sports team while drinking a local beer are all part of Canadian tradition and culture. And it’s not surprising, as beer culture in Canada dates back generations.
But as much as they honour their ancient traditions and ways of their forefathers, they’ve also integrated the evolution of beer drinking and beer-making as time has gone on.
If you want to find out more about Canadian beer, grab a seat, pop the tab and keep reading!
Brief History of Canadian Beer
Canada was first introduced to beer in the seventeenth century by European settlers. They brought their ways, traditions and foreign culture to the country and part of that was the process of brewing their own beer.
Interestingly, Canada was celebrated as the perfect spot to brew beer due to how cold it was. This was a huge bonus because it was long before the fridge graced us with its helpful presence.
Canada’s first commercial brewery was built and opened in Montreal, Quebec in 1650. After this, breweries started popping up all over the place for the next few hundred years. Everything was flourishing nicely for local brewers until 1918 when Canada introduced the Prohibition laws.
This lasted until 1920. Once Prohibition was abolished, the success of Canadian beer brands and local breweries has continued to evolve and prosper into the present day.
What Are The Top 5 Canadian Beers By Popularity?
The most popular Canadian beers are:
- Molson Canadian (Canada’s largest by overall sales, now Molson Coors)
- Labatt Blue (now part of AB Inbev, brewer of Budweiser)
- Moosehead Lager (Canada’s oldest independent brewery)
- Sleeman (now part of Sapporo in Japan)
What Is The Official (or Unofficial) Beer Of Canada?
The (un)official beer of Canada, depending on who you ask, is still Molson, by overall sales and popularity.
Founded in 1786 by the Molson Family in Montreal, the first brewery was built on the St Lawrence River. In 2005, Molson merged with the Adolph Coors Company to form Molson Coors.
What Are The Different Styles Of Canadian Beer?
As the craft beer scene continues to grow in Canada, the number of styles have also increased substantially. Below are some of the popular styles in Canada:
What Are The Best Canadian Beers By Style?
Here are our suggestions of the best Canadian beer brands to try for each style of beer:
- Brown ale: Muskoka Brewery with their Harvest ale.
- Porter: Clifford Brewing makes a delicious Porter that is definitely worth a try.
- Pale Ale: Steam Whistle Pale Ale, from Ontario.
- Lager: Moosehead, Molsen or Labatt Blue are the most popular ones. But if craft is what you’re after, then read on.
What Are The Best Microbrew Or Craft Beers In Canada?
Here is a list of some Canadian Microbreweries to look out for:
- Blood Brothers
- Bandit Brewery
- Halo Brewery
- Matron Fine Beer
Which Canadian Beers Have Won The Most Awards?
The best Brown Ale in Canada that has won the most Golds last year is Georgetown Brown. The Imperial Stout that won the Gold was Stout Imperial. The awards change year on year, see the latest results on Canadian Brewing Awards.
What Are The Cheapest Canadian Beers?
All of these beers listed below are priced for budget consumption:
- Molson Pilsner
- Old Vienna
- Lucky Lager
- Labatt Blue
Where To Buy Canadian Beer Online?
That really depends on where you live (due to alcohol shipping laws). There are plenty of places to buy Canadian Beer online, from specialty online shops to online giants like Amazon.
Our recommendation is to browse Amazon first to get a sense of prices, variety and quality. Because Amazon also sells Whole Foods products, you are likely to find the widest range of quality and price. Then do a detailed comparison online.
What are the Best Canadian Beers To Pair With Canadian Food?
Keen on beer pairing in Canada? Here’s what you need to try:
Bock and dark lagers are malty and strongly flavoured with a hint of sweetness. The best foods to pair with these strong beers are roasted or grilled meats, especially game. Don’t choose any meats that are too subtle in flavour as the beer’s intensity will overshadow the taste of the meat.
Brown ale ranges from deep amber to medium brown. This delicious, rich and deeply flavoured beer is well known for its sweet caramel and chocolate tastes. This beer pairs extremely well with red meats and barbecue sauces. Pair it with a rack of prime rib smothered in sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, and your taste buds will be singing a very happy tune.
Pilsner is slightly bitter with a dry, crisp end result. Pair a Pilsner with a hot chicken curry on a cold winter’s evening, and you will experience the depth of the Pilsner tastes.
Lambic is a cloudy, carbonated three-year-old sour beer. The best food to pair a lambic with is a sweet or creamy dessert. Another option is to pair this beer with cream cheese on crackers after dinner.
Wheat beer is light in colour and cloudy. It’s got a mild taste and slightly lower alcohol content. Its got a citrus sweetness that is complemented by a dry spicy finish. We really enjoy wheat beer with some fried chicken (or any fried foods, really) because the citrus cuts through the fat better.
Stout is made from black unmalted barley which is what gives it its dark colour. It’s wonderful to cook and pair with, especially with red meat, chocolate and oysters.
Best Canadian Beer To Pair With Poutine?
Pou-what? The unofficial food of Canada that’s what!
Poutine is a pub-like plate of food consisting of French fries, cheese or cheese sauce, brown gravy and several other choices of toppings. The toppings can be pretty much anything you desire, from bacon bits to spring onion slices. Basically loaded fries, in French!
A variety of beers can be paired with Poutine, all depending on personal preference of the toppings and the taste of beer you generally decide to go for. But, our best suggestion and match for this yummy Canadian food is pale ale. The sharp bitterness is a fantastic match for all the fatty ingredients and textures. There is a rich sweetness that comes from the maltyness in the pale ale and it is a fantastic match for the saltiness of the Poutine.
Grab yourself an India Pale ale and s for yourself how well it pairs with the cheesy-salty-gravy flavours.
How To Order A Beer In Canada (Canadian English & Quebec French)?
If you sit down at a Canadian bar and ask the bartender for a “brew”, then you will fit right in with the locals. If you want to order a beer in the French speaking areas in Canada then the sentence to say is: “Une bière s’il vous plait” (oon-beera-see-voo-play). This directly translated means, one beer, please, but it sounds much sexier in French!
Jake has been a craft beer and homebrew enthusiast since his college days. He loves scouring Europe for unique and unusual hops to add to his beers.
Founder of Jake’s Brew Haven – he currently hosts beer-tasting sessions at select local pubs in Baltimore.
Jump To a Section Below
- Brief History of Canadian Beer
- What Are The Top 5 Canadian Beers By Popularity?
- What Is The Official (or Unofficial) Beer Of Canada?
- What Are The Different Styles Of Canadian Beer?
- What Are The Best Canadian Beers By Style?
- What Are The Best Microbrew Or Craft Beers In Canada?
- Which Canadian Beers Have Won The Most Awards?
- What Are The Cheapest Canadian Beers?
- Where To Buy Canadian Beer Online?
- What are the Best Canadian Beers To Pair With Canadian Food?
- Best Canadian Beer To Pair With Poutine?
- How To Order A Beer In Canada (Canadian English & Quebec French)?