Beer, Glorious Beer
There are fine Canadian breweries both large and small from coast to coast. After years of ongoing, rigorous research, I’ve compiled a list of the (drum roll, please) top four favourite Canadian breweries, in no particular order.
“OSB was opened in 1985 by two German immigrants, Jacob Tobler and Buko Von Krosigk,” according to Western Canada Brand Manager Glen Jessup. Their aim was to brew beers with a wide range of flavours, using traditional ingredients and techniques that Jacob and Buko had learned in Germany.
Extra Special Pale Ale: This, British Columbia’s No. 1 selling pale ale, is B.C.’s original pale ale, introduced in 1989. Clear and copper coloured, it is fruity on the palate, hearty in hops and firm in body with a nice, dry finish.
Okanagan Spring 1516 Bavarian Lager: Introduced in 2002 to celebrate the landmark declaration of the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516-the very foundation of craft-style beers, which states that beers should be made using only four natural ingredients: barley, hops, yeast and water. Flavourful, with a crisp, clean finish and a rich golden colour.
“In business since 1985, Wellington is Canada’s oldest independently owned microbrewery,” says President and Brewmaster Mike Stirrup of the company, named after the Duke of Wellington. Founder Philip Gosling was a military history buff and had served in the British Army. The company’s “oasthouse,” used specifically for drying and packing hops, is the only one of its kind in North America.
Iron Duke: Once only a seasonal blend, Iron Duke has layers of flavours with a lovely, bready coffee nose and a good balance between malts and hops.
Arkell’s Best Bitter: Patterned after the English southern county bitters, it is floral but delicately hopped.
“As old as Canada,” declares Moosehead’s Claire Ryan, “we were established in 1867 by Susannah Oland, who started brewing beer in her backyard in Dartmouth, N.S.” The brewery moved to Saint John, N.B., after the 1917 Halifax Explosion, and has been headquartered there ever since. Moosehead is Canada’s third-largest brewer by production volume and the country’s last major brewer still owned by Canadians.
Moosehead Pale Ale: This beer is a full-bodied ale, brewed with premium malt and European hops using the traditional top fermentation process to produce a flavourful smooth ale with a remarkably clean finish.
Clancy’s Amber Ale: Clancy’s is made with two types of malt, hops, corn and true top-fermenting ale yeast to create a medium-bodied English style beer. Aged longer for taste, it has a sweet, malty aroma with a hint of coffee and a fleetingly bitter taste.
Mill Street opened its doors in 2002 and owes its origins to “three guys-a brewer, a chef and a mutual-fund analyst-sitting around in a bar, sketching out the idea for our new company on the back of a napkin,” says co-founder Steve Abrams. Located in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, the trio purchased a brew pub from Colorodo and trucked it to its current location.
Coffee Porter: Rich and robust, this dark-brown ale has a dark-roasted coffee flavour with notes of chocolate. Made with coffee beans, it offers a bit of a caffeine jolt along with its rich and unique flavour, including an earthy hops finish.
Original Organic Lager: This certified-organic lager is brewed with imported organic malt and hops, and contains no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. A European-style pilsner, it has a light, refreshing flavour, with a well-balanced finish and a pleasant malty/biscuit taste.
With these options available, and your assistance of course, Dad is sure to find his favourite brew this Father’s Day.