The past few years have brought a boom in microbreweries across Canada, particularly in the country’s more rural towns. Craft beer has become the drink of choice in many a quaint town, with plenty of artisanal brews vying for attention. Below we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite draughts from coast to coast, and since patio season is starting to wind down, there’s no better way to make the most of late summer than by planning a weekend getaway in search of the country’s finest pints!
PEI BREWING (Charlottetown, PEI)
PEI is certainly a family-friendly tourism spot, what with plenty of Anne of Green Gables-focused destinations and the province’s famous COWS Ice Cream. However, there’s also adult fun to be found in the island’s capital. Located in a 19th-century mansard-roofed building in downtown Charlottetown, the PEI Brewing Company produces a wide variety of ales and seasonal beers. The feather in its cap? The company distributes the first canned craft beer in Atlantic Canada: the Beach Chair Lager.
BANDED PEAK BREWING CO. (Calgary, AB)
The Banded Peak Brewing Company is “proudly crafted for adventure in Calgary.” Its beers are affectionately named after the regional landscape and its climate: Summit Seeker (an IPA made from Alberta’s world-class barley), Chinook Saison (a Belgian farmhouse style ale), a Plainsbreaker (an aromatic, hoppy pale ale), and the Southern Aspect (a beer that pays homage to the unpredictable southern aspects on the mountain slopes in winter) are the four brews in the core lineup, with plenty of seasonal varieties to choose from as well.
LITTLE BROWN JUG BREWING CO. (Winnipeg, MB)
This Little Brown Jug Brewing Company’s flagship was originally the old livery stables for Winnipeg’s city hall. It was then home to the Red River Motor Coach Lines in the 1920s, and would go on to house a wallpaper store and a print shop. Little Brown founder Kevin Selch set his sights on the space and took his passion for architectural restoration, uniquely crafted beer, and a desire to impact the city of Winnipeg to the next level.
The resulting facility is quite spectacular, leaving much of its original elements intact or reused wherever possible. A 64-foot stretch of windows offers views into the brewery, a nod to the company’s desire to provide unparalleled transparency into the process of how beer is made.
BRASSNECK BREWERY (Vancouver, BC)
Worth a visit, the Growler Shop and Tasting Room at the Brassneck Brewery in Vancouver, British Columbia were designed to make customers feel part of the process. The brew house and cellar wrap around the retail space, putting you in the very heart of the brewery.
Thanks to a special type of liquor license, patrons do not have to be seated as in many other Food Primary licensed locations in Vancouver. Standing room and communal tables makes for a breathable, pleasant social environment. To accommodate overflow, as the Tasting Room is of modest size, there is usually a different food truck out front from Monday to Sunday, so you can order outside and bring it on in!
Always experimenting with different beer styles, the young craft brewery has already brewed an impressive 120 different beers.
SPRING MILL DISTILLERY (Guelph, ON)
Taking a tour the Spring Mill Distillery, you will feel as though you’ve wandered back in time. Exposed stone walls, glistening copper stills, huge and powerful wooden washbacks… And, despite that feeling of having stepped backwards in history, what you’re seeing is new. The distillery is located in the heart of what was originally known as St. Patrick’s Ward (sometimes called The Two Rivers Neighbourhood); over the years it came to be known as The Ward. This moniker was adopted as the name for the tasting bar, a comfortable, unpretentious space where you can gather with friends for a genuinely good time.
CAMERON’S BREWING (Oakville, ON)
Cameron’s Brewing Company is a family-run craft brewery based in the affluent town of Oakville, Ontario. What began as a mere hobby in 1997 has certainly evolved into a booming business! Celebrating 20 years of operation, Cameron’s first introduced quality craft beer to the Ontario marketplace and quickly turned into an award-winning brewery.
Today, Cameron’s remains true to its roots with a dedicated team of beer experts committed to brewing delicious, quality, locally crafted beer.
Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. (St. John’s, NL)
Nestled in the small fishing village of Quidi Vidi, which is located at the mouth of the St. John’s harbour and is just a short drive from downtown, is the Quidi Vidi Brewing Co. Housed in the former Cabot Seafood’s fish plant, this company brews with a distinctive ingredient: iceberg water harvested from icebergs that drift off the coast of Newfoundland. This ingredient spawned the creation of one of its most renowned draughts, Iceberg, “a gently hopped, light-bodied brew offering a clean, sparkling finish, crisp with no aftertaste.” You can try this one, along with a bunch of other award-winning brews, on a guided tour. You’ll also learn the step-by-step process behind each delicious batch.
Bench Brewing (Beamsville, ON)
Situated in the benchlands of the Niagara Escarpment, a region home to Ontario’s finest agricultural lands, this company prides itself on having a farmhouse approach to craft brewing, capturing the unique terroir of the region in the same spirit as the local wines. Breathing new life into the historic Maple Grove Schoolhouse in Beamsville, the expansive facility features a three-acre hops field, a barrel-aging and wild ale program, a taproom, beer garden, and food kitchen.
BLOOD BROTHERS BREWING (Toronto, ON)
Blood Brothers Brewing is a family owned craft brewery. Opened in 2015 by Dustin and Brayden Jones, it is situated in the hipster neighbourhood of Dovercourt and Dupont in Toronto, Ontario.
From its humble beginnings, Blood Brothers has been centred around brewing interesting beers that the owners’ friends and family would want to drink. From the way they source ingredients to their methodical brewing process, they approach each step with passion and independent spirit. Their goal is to provide innovative beers to all customers as they strive to push back against consolidation and uniformity in today’s beer market.
GRIZZLY PAW BREWERY (Banff, AL)
Located just minutes from Banff National Park, and surrounded by the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Canmore is a truly beautiful spot, and the Grizzly Paw Brewery is the perfect place to take in the surrounding scenery. From light bodied pilsners to malty nut browns or the sweeter raspberry ale, the brewery offers a wide array of beers made with fresh mountain water. Book a tour of the 20,000 sq. ft. facility to learn all about the art of the craft. You can even bring the kids along to taste some of the company’s caffeine-free handcrafted sodas.