Canada’s bubbling craft beer scene is beginning to make waves worldwide. Hamilton, Ontario’s got Collective Arts Brewing, melding cutting edge artisan suds with art and music, while British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley wine country has added two new craft operations. And now major player Moosehead is jumping onto the trend with its new Small Batch division in Saint John, New Brunswick. Regional brewers are proudly dabbling with unusual local ingredients and the result is refreshingly delicious.
A decade in the making, high-quality, small-batch beer is now everywhere in foodie-forward Quebec. Choose from 120 breweries (20 in Quebec City alone) producing some 3,000 unique beers. Join Festibière events and Broue-Tours guided walking tours.
Tapping into pure Rockies water and “the best barley in the world,” Calgary has exploded as a small-batch brewery hub. Sip at Citizen Brewing Company (IPA over burgers and live music) and Common Crown Brewing (delicious brown ale).
Sharing tricks of the trade is the vibe in Vancouver’s inclusive, neighborhood-centric brew culture. Many of the masters meet in East Van, aka Yeast Van, at a bunch of low-key tap rooms along a cycling route. A few of the city’s best include suds/coffee café-style 33 Acres Brewing Company, basement crash-pad vibe Bomber Brewing and cheery Off the Rail Brewing. Or explore beyond the city as you follow the BC Ale Trail, the province’s definitive guide to craft brewing.
Canada’s capital has so many micro makers now, it’s best to take a Brew Donkey tour to get to know the collaborative scene. Don’t miss Flora Hall Brewing (beer with seasonal comfort food in a restored heritage building), Vimy Brewing Company, Beyond the Pale and the buzzing Wellington West neighborhood.
With suds made with water from 25,000-year-old icebergs, Maritime microbrewing is truly unique. In Nova Scotia, follow the Good Cheer Trail. In up-and-comer Prince Edward Island, try new husband-wife/beer-music-focused Copper Bottom Brewing Company—located in Montague’s former Town Hall. Or taste concoctions like Mr. Wheaty Pants and Sweater Weather in irreverent, upstart Newfoundland.
Hatched in artsy Winnipeg, the Prairie small-batch movement is spreading. Must-visit spots include the pioneer Half Pints Brewing Co., Nonsuch Brewing Co. with their signature champagne-style bottles and Farmery, harvesting homegrown ingredients from its Neepawa fields. Take the Winnipeg Trolley Ale Trail for a comprehensive overview.