Most Important Canadian Beers

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Bunman3, Dec 14, 2017.

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  1. Bunman3

    Bunman3 Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2014 Canada (AB)

    I came across this article the other day. It got me thinking about my top 10 most important Alberta beers. What would your list of most important Canadian beers include?

    Here's my first run at a top 10, based on local/national significance and influence

    Big Rock - McNally's Extra Ale (sorry - Alberta boy, had to include this one)
    Bellwood's - Tough call, but I'll go with Witchshark
    Driftwood - Fat Tug
    Four Winds - Nectarous
    Garrison - Imperial IPA
    DDC - Peche Mortel
    McAuslan - St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
    Nickel Brook - Immodest
    Unibroue - La Fin du Monde, Maudite

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  2. taxandbeerguy

    taxandbeerguy Poo-Bah (3,361) Jul 12, 2013 Canada (ON)

    Can't speak to all of these, but Bellwoods certainly has the rep, Peche Mortel by DDC is regarded as a top notch beer by everyone and represents the pinnacle (or near pinnacle) of Canadian Brewing. Fat Tug is regarded as a great IPA and it gets solid distro in the Golden Horseshoe so i can't disagree with that (Red Racer IPA could be substitute here?)

    The St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is certainly a good pick, although their Pale Ale possibly has / had more influence as when it was introduced back int he late 80's / early 90's many people thought that beer was too "hoppy". Compared to what's offered now, that seems impossible yet their reps (at a beer festival a couple years ago) indicated that was the case when the pale ale was introduced.

    Unibroue - spot on selections

    Nickel Brook - As much as I love Immodest, I don't really know how they are that different than a lot of the Ontario Breweries. Compare them to Amsterdam, Flying Monkeys, Beau's, Wellington, Collective Arts (lately) and a bunch of others I'm probably missing. Their product is pretty good and have been doing some fun things with sours and barrel aging recently, but Beau's has the distinctive bottles, green initiatives, company owned by the employees and pretty good beer as well. I might go with Lug Tread by Beau's instead as another choice for Ontario.
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  3. Jerk_Store

    Jerk_Store Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2015 Canada (QC)

    - Unibroue Blanche de Chambly (started Unibroue)
    - Unibroue La Fin du Monde
    - Beau's Lugtread (got everyone to drink craft beer)
    - DDC Péché (just the best damn coffee stout in the world)
    - Boréale IPA du Nord-Est (not the first NE style IPA, but my favourite and is also re-shaping the business model of a pretty big brewery)
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  4. yasky

    yasky Disciple (386) Dec 21, 2008 Canada (ON)

    All-time important, or relevant today? I never drink them all that much anymore but if we went all-time (at least for Ontario) you're looking at Steamwhistle, Tankhouse, Smashbomb, etc. A good chunk of Unibroue's lineup would make it onto both lists.

    Relevant today is a tricky one with the amount of selection we have now. Off hand I'd go with Peche Mortel and most of its variants, Nectarous, Fat Tug, Singularity, LTM's Porter Baltic and variants, Double Tempest, Le Castor Yakima, the aforementioned Boreal IPA, a handful of Great Lakes IPA, Bellwoods and Auval.

    Reminds me, now that BIL, I gotta revisit some of those barleywines from years past! Olde Deuteronomy, Burly Wine, Old Cellar Dweller, etc....
  5. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Poo-Bah (1,892) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Society Trader

    For my generation, beers like St. Ambroise Pale Ale and Brasal Hopps Brau really turned a lot of people I knew in Montreal onto macro alternatives. Likewise the Unibroue beers mentioned above.
  6. Bunman3

    Bunman3 Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2014 Canada (AB)

    I struggled with the distinction between “all time” and current. St. Ambroise and Unibroue definitely fall into the former category, bridging the gap between “microbreweries” of the 90s and today’s current craft situation. I think both have merit and are reflected in the original article.

    Either way, it makes a guy reflective (and thirsty...)
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  7. polloenfuego

    polloenfuego Poo-Bah (1,887) Jan 26, 2013 Canada (NB)
    Society Trader

    Just had this on draft, and it blew me away. It was a fresh keg, so it was an amazing beer. I was a little dubious given the name Boreale. I would have to agree this is changing the field.
  8. Jerk_Store

    Jerk_Store Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2015 Canada (QC)

    Coming out in tall cans this week too :wink:
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  9. flaskman

    flaskman Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2015 New York

    I have to say:

    Labatt Blue
    Molson Canadian
    Old Vienna

    Not craft but historically speaking they have their place in Canadian culture and history.
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  10. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Poo-Bah (2,564) Mar 7, 2013 Canada (QC)
    Society Trader

    It's a great beer either way. But it is really good on tap.
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  11. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (345) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    This can go a few ways. Really depends how far back and how historical you want to be.

    Molson Canadian probably has the biggest international rep any Canadian Beer will ever have, despite tasting like crap imo. But hey I drank it at one point.

    Sleeman Honey Brown is the first flavored beer I can remember trying. And if you believe the commercials even Al Capone liked it hahaha.

    In Manitoba where I’m from Fort Garry stands out as being the only remotely craft option for a long time until Half Pints came along. Lil Scrapper is probably still the best local IPA.

    Further West in Calgary/college, Big Rock Traditional stands out. Again because there wasn’t a whole lot of anything other than fizzy lagers even in 2005.

    Fast Forward to the last 5-10 years and there’s a whole crap tonne of important beers. Red Racer, Fat Tug shaped a huge army of current Hop heads out on the coast.

    Peche Mortel is a beer that hopefully never changes and remains one of the best beers in the world.

    Unibroue. I bet it’s the most recognizable Canadian Brewery in the USA to this day. Fin Du Monde.

    You could even argue Steamwhistle is very important the national beer scene especially out East.

    Focusing on the current craft breweries toppings the scales? I think it changes far too frequently and wonder how many will truly leave a lasting impression.
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  12. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Disciple (309) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    Canadian beer is not "important."
  13. hoser

    hoser Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2003 Canada (AB)

    In Stephen Beaumont’s new World beer guide . He chose Unibroue as an iconic world brewery, Then he mentioned four Canadian breweries he thought were world class Dieu du Ciel, Hoyne and two more which I forget as his Canadian favourites.
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  14. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Poo-Bah (2,564) Mar 7, 2013 Canada (QC)
    Society Trader

    Exactly! It is literally important. No need for quotation marks :sunglasses:
  15. polloenfuego

    polloenfuego Poo-Bah (1,887) Jan 26, 2013 Canada (NB)
    Society Trader

    Thanks for the troll.
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  16. Lone_Freighter

    Lone_Freighter Initiate (0) Jun 4, 2017 Vermont

    I'm guessing he's never had Peche Mortel and well, I guess there's more Bellwoods for the rest of us. :grin:
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  17. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (345) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    He’s kinda right though. Important and World-Class are not the same thing. Sure we have locally important beers but internationally?

    Has any canadian beer ever impacted world trends or anything along the lines of Belgians or Hoppy American brews? Perhaps around prohibition a little bit.
  18. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Poo-Bah (1,892) Apr 21, 2014 Canada (ON)
    Society Trader

    Had the list been expanded to North America it would be hard to argue that Unibroue doesn’t belong in one form or another. Did another New World brewery do as much for the proliferation of Belgian styles as Unibroue?

    I found the stuff about Anchor Porter interesting. Labatt was selling Velvet Cream Porter throughout the 70s and 80s. I remember my grandfather drinking it.
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  19. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,798) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Society Trader

    Anything from Unibroue is just fine if you dig Belgian style ale.

    Dieu du ciel! Might be overall even better because I love 'dark beer' better.
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  20. papposilenus

    papposilenus Poo-Bah (2,045) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    Clearly, the herring chokers are underrepresented on this forum. The most historically significant beers in Atlantic Canada are Moosehead Lager and Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale. In my derelict youth (1970's), Alexander Keith's was classier because Moosehead was domestic (NB) and Alexander Keiths was imported all the way from Nova Scotia.
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  21. polloenfuego

    polloenfuego Poo-Bah (1,887) Jan 26, 2013 Canada (NB)
    Society Trader

    Too funny...I grew up in New Brunswick and loved Moose Pale Ale...not the crap in the green bottle, the good stuff that was NB only for years. They are both pretty weak and Keith's isn't much better, but I definitely see your point.

    Moosehead does deserve some credit for being Canada's oldest independent brewer. While the other big brewers have been swallowed, Moosehead continues to resist....for better or worse
  22. RKP1967

    RKP1967 Disciple (309) Sep 26, 2010 Virginia

    I have had Peche Mortel. Both at the brewpub in Montreal, and in bottles here in the States. Great beer, but great imperial stouts are a dime a dozen here in the States. So perhaps important to you, but not important to me. I haven't had one in a few years, and until this thread, haven't given it much thought.

    Last night I sort of had my first Bellwoods beer on draft.. It was a collaboration beer (DIPA with maple) with The Veil here in Virginia. Good beer, but not as good as the other three Veil beers I drank. Not good enough to buy any of the cans they had on offer.
  23. hoser

    hoser Initiate (0) Feb 17, 2003 Canada (AB)

    Dageraad was another one of SB’s fave four Canadian breweries. Can’t remember the fourth but it was from Ontario.
  24. Jerk_Store

    Jerk_Store Initiate (0) Feb 13, 2015 Canada (QC)

    Last year I might've argued with you. Can't now though since America is great again.

    Anyway, you must find Canadian beer somewhat interesting, otherwise what are you doing here and how did you stumble upon this thread?
    #24 Jerk_Store, Dec 20, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2017
  25. polloenfuego

    polloenfuego Poo-Bah (1,887) Jan 26, 2013 Canada (NB)
    Society Trader

    Are there important American beers? Are there important Belgian beers? English? German?

    Yes, of course...they are important not only to the world beer culture, but their own country's beer culture. So why wouldn't Canada have beers that are important? More specifically to our beer culture. Admittedly, our craft culture is behind your nation. But beers such as Fin du Monde, Peche Mortel and the work of brewers like Bellwoods are helping that culture change.

    Why were you compelled to comment? It still seems to me like you are trolling.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but we don't have to respect it, just as you don't seem to have respect for us...doesn't seem the spirit of Beer Advocate to me.
  26. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (345) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    At least we didn't spawn Bud Light up here. Probably one of the worst most influential beers of all time and because of that it's importance is huge.

    I still don't think we have any International important beers ever made in Canada. Yes we have some great, world class beers. But I didn't interpret the OP question as what is best and most tasty.
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  27. Smakawhat

    Smakawhat Poo-Bah (8,314) Mar 18, 2008 Maryland

    Hard call, good first list I think..
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  28. Derek

    Derek Poo-Bah (4,007) Apr 2, 2005 Canada (BC)

  29. atomeyes

    atomeyes Initiate (0) Jul 13, 2011 Canada (ON)

    great list.
    Old Deut isn't good. revisited and then gave away the remainder. hah. think mine were 5-6 years old?
    also disagree with you on the quebec IPAs. I'd toss in La Buteuse special. top 3 Canadian beer.

    My modern day list:

    La Buteuse special (barrel aged)
    LTM Porter Baltique barrel-aged
    Double Tempest
    Peche Mortel
    GLB Karma Citra
    Bellwoods Bring Out Your Dead
    Dulcis Succubus
    A La Fut Co Hop V
    (and I'm sure Auval or Le Petit Caribou will move onto this list real soon)

    My Hall of Fame List:
    LTM Porter Baltique (regular)
    La Buteuse special
    Unibrou Blanche du Chambly
    Unibrou Qu'elle qu Chose
    Peche Mortel
    Dieu du Ciel Moralitee 1st batch
    Dulcis Succubus
    Amsterdam Tempest
    Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisiac
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  30. BakaGaijin

    BakaGaijin Aspirant (275) May 20, 2014 Canada (ON)

    Trillium did a collab at Bellwoods and it wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. These collabs are hit and miss.

    Most Bellwoods beers are quite good. Their Hellwoods imperial stout is better than the The Veil's Sleeping Forever IMO.
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  31. Sammy

    Sammy Poo-Bah (15,454) Dec 1, 2003 Canada (ON)
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    I drank labatt porter. I bought a bottle when I was seven, noone cared. Very sweet porter I remember, different than the real malty stuff.
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  32. flaskman

    flaskman Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2015 New York

    Old Vienna could had conquered the word. Who can forget buckets of OV splits!! It all died when Carling O'Keefe sold the line. Now it's brewed in Rochester New York. Love that Genesee River water. Yuk!
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  33. beerswillingIPAfan

    beerswillingIPAfan Initiate (0) Jan 6, 2018 New York

    I thought that too until I had IPA no's 2, 3 and 4 from Collective Arts Brewing out of Hamilton, Ontario.
  34. Beersnake1

    Beersnake1 Poo-Bah (3,857) Aug 17, 2013 California
    Moderator Society Trader

    Interesting thread. I am Canadian, and it was Canadian beer that got me hooked on craft beer. I have lived in California for the past 7 years, so I have had the chance to consider Canadian beer from afar. I am living in Germany this year, so I have that perspective now as well. From a Canadian perspective, Big Rock was always a big one (as an Albertan). However, Unibroue (specifically Trois Pistoles) did it for me. It's still one of my all time favorites, but gets very little attention outside of Canada. Now that many breweries have diversified, Canada kills it with some of the craft (Driftwood, Bellwoods, Le Trou du Diable, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, and more). From an American perspective, not much has come through. I think that's because there are SO MANY breweries down here, and so many new BA stouts and crazy stuff to try. In Germany, I have been able to purchase some Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! and Le Trou du Diable, but they haven't really caught on. Hopefully soon. In the end, my favorite Canadian beers are Trois Pistoles, Peche Mortel, Singularity, and Old Cellar Dweller.
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  35. JonnyBeers

    JonnyBeers Disciple (345) Oct 24, 2012 Canada (BC)

    Americans have very little exposure to Canadian beer aside from the big macro crap and a few select craft breweries. Out of 150 or so BC breweries I think maybe 4 or 5 ship to the US regularly.
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