Canada’s mountains, streams and prairies aren’t the only fresh things the country has to offer. Canada’s breweries and pubs are world-class watering holes for the best—and the freshest—local craft beer.
Thanks to Joann Pai, Tamara Elliott, and Stoked for Saturday for their local tips.
33 Acres Brewing Company - Vancouver
After a day of hitting Vancouver’s bustling food scene, exploring natural wonders just beyond the city limits or soaking up local culture, there’s no better place to unwind than 33 Acres Brewing Company. Featuring minimalist, modern design and a serious obsession with really good beer (really, really good beer), 33 Acres Brewing Company is a favorite communal watering hole in the happening Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Locals say the refreshing 33 Acres of Ocean IPA, with hints of pine and grapefruit, embodies the distinct taste of the Pacific Northwest.
Stubborn Goat Gastropub & Beer Garden - Halifax
We like our beer with a view. Some gourmet food to pair with a craft pint doesn’t hurt either. Halifax’s Stubborn Goat Gastropub, a Nova Scotia favourite, offers both in two locations. The , Stubborn Goat’s waterfront beer garden offers one of the best views of Halifax Harbour topped off with a menu heavy on local craft beer. Not a bad way to immerse yourself in historic Halifax.
Yukon Brewing Company - Whitehorse
Go back to 1997 in the Yukon wilderness and you might find two canoers dreaming big around a campfire under the northern lights. What did this dream result in? A brewery, of course! Yukon Brewing quickly came into fruition after that trip, and now serves delicious craft brews to Whitehorse locals and thirsty travellers. Favourites include the Chilkoot Lager and seasonal offerings like the Longest Night Cascadian Dark Ale.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. - Victoria
Starting from humble means (a windowless apartment and a “mountain of credit card debt”), the Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. has made a name for itself both by being an integral part of the Victoria scene and by brewing some of the most interesting beers. Try a classic—like Blue Buck—or opt for a seasonal pleasure, like their Solaris white peach ale. If you’re in Victoria and looking for a taste, stop by for a tour and a sample. Look for their quirky labels, as well as their sodas and spirits.
Picaroons - Fredericton
Looking for a taste of tradition and some of the best beer in Atlantic Canada? Head to Fredericton, Atlantic Canada’s Craft Brewing Capital, where Picaroons Brewing Company has been brewing English-style ales for over 25 years. Picaroons uses a traditional, open-air fermentation process, which yields fantastic products like the all-organic Dooryard summer ale and the “sweet and toasty” maple cream ale. In addition to serving their own brews, the Picaroons Roundhouse offers a wide selection of craft beers, ciders, wines and spirits from around New Brunswick as well as a fast-casual menu from 540 North. Local tip: arrive early to secure yourself an outdoor fire pit spot from Thursday to Saturday. If you find yourself in Saint John, stop by the Picaroons General Store to experience the same great tradition in a different locale.
Last Best Brewing & Distilling - Calgary
Last Best Brewing & Distilling is a true hidden gem and one of Canada’s most unique spots for hyperlocal beer in Calgary. Calgarians are especially fond of the Show Pony Pale Ale and Dirty Bird Black Lager. Last Best also distills its own fine spirits with local ingredients. Make sure to sample their award-winning Savage Love and Fortunella gins which each took home World Gin Awards in 2020. Inside the brewpub, you’ll find beautiful industrial decor and great food. Outside, a cozy courtyard summer patio awaits, the only one of its kind in Calgary.
Granite Brewery - Toronto
It’s not surprising that a family-owned and operated business offers one of the most comfortable places to sip a craft beer in Toronto. Granite Brewery has been around for over 30years–meaning it hit the scene before most people even knew what craft beer was. Now that the masses are educated when it comes to the delight of local brews, Granite still remains a favorite with its English-style ales. Try one of their 15 seasonal and rotating drafts and grab a meal on one of their two (!) patios for the full big-city experience.
Stillwell Beer Garden - Halifax
A striking open-air bar in downtown Halifax, Stillwell Beer Garden is the epicenter for local craft beer enthusiasts and anyone looking to enjoy a night out under the stars. Stillwell might describe themselves simply as “a beer bar,” but the contemporary space lends to a hip, modern aesthetic with satisfying eatsand new beers rotating on the taps daily. Halifax might be steeped in history, but Stillwell and other local breweries prove that the city is constantly reinventing itself.
9 Mile Legacy Brewing - Saskatoon
Nine miles, that’s the distance that separated the Moen and Pederson families back in the early 1900s in southwestern Saskatchewan. Three generations later, the families have been united through hoppy vows as friends Shawn Moen and Grant Pederson founded 9 Mile Legacy Brewing in Saskatoon. At Nine Mile, a nanobrewery that prides itself on quality, innovation and strong relationships, you’ll find plenty of collaboration-driven brews on tap. When you visit, expect East-meet-West inspired beers as one of their regular contributors is the family behind Odd Couple, a delectable local restaurant known for its many Asian influences. Whether you’re filling a growler to-go or enjoying a taproom pint, this nanobrewery is sure to show you the friendliness and ingenuity of Saskatoon locals.
Benelux Brasserie Artisanale - Montreal
For a cool 5 à 7 (the French version of happy hour) with an energetic clientele that enjoys first-rate craft beer, head to Benelux Brasserie Artisanale in the heart of downtown Montreal. With beer styles ranging from traditional Belgian to hoppy American to India Pale Ale, there’s a fresh pour to please every discerning palate at Benelux. For a more relaxed vibe and a larger outdoor seating area, venture to Benelux’s second home in up-and-coming Verdun, about 20 minutes from downtown. Those with an affinity for fine spirits will appreciate the interesting selection of well-priced scotch and whisky offered at both locations.
Quidi Vidi Brewery - St. John’s
It’d be unthinkable to visit St. John’s without visiting the beautiful historic fishing village of Quidi Vidi and trying Quidi Vidi Brewery’s legendary iceberg beer. This unique, specialty beer is made using icebergs that float down the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. The stunning Quidi Vidi seaside brewery is arguably one the most scenic taprooms in the world and, if you happen to catch a Friday night Kitchen Party (a musical tradition in the area), you’ll leave convinced it’s also the world’s friendliest brewery.
NWT Brewing Co - Yellowknife
While known for its unparalleled wilderness and northern lights, the Northwest Territories is also home to mighty fine beer. Established in 2014 by northern brewing pioneers Fletcher and Miranda Stevens, NWT Brewing Co is Canada’s second northernmost brewery and a one-of-a-kind brewing post. Their production includes beers like the award-winning and local favorite Kicksled Cream Ale and the complex Ragged Pine Ale. Hungry from a day of adventuring around Yellowknife? Stay for a meal at the Woodyard Brewhouse & Eatery, which blends unique pub food and one-off creations in a friendly atmosphere (families are welcomed on Saturdays).
NuBrew Co. - Iqaluit
Baffin Island is home to Canada’s northernmost brewery and brewpub: small, intimate NuBrew Co (also known as The Nunavut Brewing Company). At NuBrew, beers are crafted using the pristine water from the adjacent Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park as well as a sustainable carbonation process which reuses the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. Visit Iqaluit to try beers like the The Floe Edge, a northern lights-inspired lager, and the Irish red ale Aupaqtuq ("red" in Inuktitut).
Barn Hammer Brewing - Winnipeg
Historically, barn raising has referred to the actions of a community rebuilding a barn together. Barn Hammer Brewing’s Barn Raising Nights modernized the concept. Once a month, this small and always friendly Winnipeg brewery donates one dollar from every taproom beer sale to a nonprofit organization. Barn Hammer is not just a microbrewery with a cause, it’s also , the city’s first tap room, where many locals have been introduced to the concept of craft beer. This small-scale brewhouse serves up enough liquid gold to satisfy everyone from newbies to seasoned beer connoisseurs. Fill up a growler or stop by for a taste.
No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing in Canada, there’s few better places to unwind and soak up Canadian culture than one of the country’s well-loved breweries or pubs.