Week 15, we leave Europe for the first time and cross the Atlantic to Canada, all 10 Million square kilometers of it. There are about 38 Million inhabitants, so 3.8 per square kilometer.
Mounties, Maple Syrup, French speakers and loads of snow, but what else has Canada got to be proud of? The Canadian Rockies, Niagara Falls obviously, their politeness and Moose’s I suppose. They’ve had a few actors and singers over the years and they still have bears, both Grizzly and Polar. Right that’s the tourist bit done, what about the beers I hear you ask.
1415 active breweries according to the RateBeer data base with a healthy bunch of resident rates:
Canada Beer Ratings
1745 beers would get you to 50th on the leader board.
Canada has been split into regions for many years, 13 of them; many Brits have been trying to colour in the Canadian map, but most fail as one or two Provinces are impossible to ‘tick’ unless you actually visit them.
OK, let’s have some stats and stories!
Been to Canadia twice properly plus an afternoon/evening in Vancouver (train up from Seattle, flew to Salt Lake in morning). Proper visits both centred on Toronto and Montreal. 176 beers in total (50 or so were in UK, rest while I was there), and thanks to Canadian law which makes it difficult to ship beer between provinces every beer I’ve had over there is from Ontario, Quebec or British Columbia - I’d have to check to see if I’ve had any other provinces in the UK. Always feel at home in the Toronto area, visiting Whitby, Scarborough, Malton, etc…
Embarassingly this is going to be a very short and sweet post from me - zero rates and zero visits so I have no input at all. I do like maple syrup and ice hockey so maybe that counts for something
There are Toronto residents that couldn’t tell you where Malton is! Love it!
My home country is also my top rated country with 7740 ratings (more than double the United States at #2!) which is not shocking considering I have only rated a handful of non-Canadian beers in the last two years!
68% of that (5240) is from my home province of Ontario, followed by Quebec (1081) and BC (550) to round out my three most rated regions.
I was closer to the top of the Canada list back in the day, but my rating pace trailed off around the same time as Lubiere and the BC guys started rating even faster. I’m not even #1 for Ontario anymore as Sammy and spab have both surpassed me in recent years. I am still number one for Canada based on Fat Phil’s list here (Top Raters of Regions in Canada (2022-01-01)) for now so I will cling to that small statistical victory!
|Top Rated Beers
|Dieu du Ciel! / Hill Farmstead Friendship and Farewell
|Temporal Artisan Ales Ruby Continuum
|Dieu du Ciel! Quintessence
|Les Trois Mousquetaires Weizenbock
|Propeller Revolution Russian Imperial Stout
|Garrison Black Lager
Many of my top 50 ratings are actually ice ciders.
Regions / Places
I have rated a beer from 12 of the 13 regions - Northwest Territories has eluded me to this point. I have visited every region except NWT and Nunavut are the only regions I have not visited. No place ratings for the Yukon since I was only there for like 10 minutes on a touristy train ride from Alaska. I have lived in three regions (Ontario, PEI, and NS).
I have rated 799 Canadian breweries, 385 from Ontario (+43 Cideries and meaderies).
I am on a quest to try every Ontario brewery. (I got it down to just handful in 2018) I have 50 left to rate - 27 of those have opened since 2020 to give you a sense of how fast things are changing here.
It’s a bit of a joke (likely more of an old wive’s tale) that Brits and Europeans coming over to visit Toronto say they wanting to spend a day or two in Vancouver, not realizing that it’s about as far away as flying back to the UK! The UK is a bit less then 1/4 of the size of Ontario but has a much larger population.
I have visited Canada quite often but alas not in my RB days. While living in Detroit in the 1980s I discovered that there was a decent curry to be had if you drove through the tunnel to Windsor Ontario. I have always felt that Toronto is one of those cities that actually works. Discovering I had a slipped disc in my neck after a commuter flight into Hamilton, Ontario is probably my low light whereas whale watching in Vancouver is my highlight. There was a great beer scene there (but I drank without any thought of rating back then) and the food was good too; the consequence was that after a month’s stay, I sat down to dinner back in England and the waist button on my trousers went into orbit. In addition to a return trip to Vancouver, I would love to spend some time in the Maritime Provinces. My token ratings are largely from Collective Arts, but the average is dragged down visibly by a really dreadful beer from Bushwakker which somehow found its way to Weatherspoons in 2015 and managed to lower the tone (its only achievement). Canada is one of several countries with a liberal reputation but quite a conservative soul. Especially outside of Toronto etc. They like their oil and mining, but are friendly with it. I will look out for Dieu du Ciel.
I visited Canada in the late 80’s before I was into good beer. It was in January and it was bloody freezing with loads of snow and brutal temperatures. I visited Montreal and Toronto for 10 days. I actually got a very cheap flight acting as a courier for DHL, it was about £70 return and I actually went in Business Class on one sector flying via Amsterdam.
I’ve only rated 13 beers from Canada, mainly Unibroue and Dieu du Ciel. Picked up most of my Unibroue beers in Belgium and the USA. Dieu du Ciel beers were consumed in London.
I quite liked Canada and would love to visit Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in the future.
Have 27 rates from Canada, my highest at 4.3 are two ice ciders: La Face Cachée de la Pomme Neige Récolte d’Hiver and Pinnacle Cidre de Glace
Have never visited but certainly need to for cider ratings, as there are 324 active cideries, with Revel Cider Co. having the most entries with 157.
The top 5 raters for Canada cider and cideries are:
With Canada being the home of ice cider here is an extra list of the top 5 raters for that style:
Top Raters for Apple Cider - Ice / Fire / Fortified
Rather unsurprisingly they are all from Canada!
I have over planned research docs and custom maps for most provinces if anyone is interested
It’s a cold time to come to Canada but this festival was a good opportunity to try a bunch of cider and ice cider in one place https://mondialdescidres.com/
Canada is my 21st highest-rated country with 45 rates and 10 / 13 regions coloured in. Most of these came from a trade with Duffman, as well as the French supermarket Auchan in France, and the odd French Christmas market which tends to have a Canadian presence, stalls selling maple syrup, ice cider and Unibroue beers.
It’s always been frustrating getting hold of Canadian beers in the UK, and Europe in general especially given the volume of breweries and cideries that have opened up! Those that do appear seem to be at eye-watering prices. I’m fairly confident a big import will land in the UK some time in the next few years, and with it a new social media hype around Canadian beer.
I’ve visited Canada just the once, with my Mum and older brother in my early 20s visiting her friend in Forteau, Labrador which believe me, is not a top touristic destination, For reasons I can’t quite understand my Mum thought they lived in Happy Valley so we flew in there to find a military base, and no friend waiting. We booked another flight the next day on a small plane reading in-flight gun magazines. With all that travelling on 4 flights of course our luggage was lost, so we ended up buying clothes from the local mercantile.
Labrador seemed to be a proper rural part of Canada with a super strong Canadian / Irish accent none of us could understand, and ostensibly very Christian. Her kids were stunned that I wanted a ‘beer’, so to avoid scaring them I stayed sober the entire time. If i’d known I was going to develop a nerdy beer ticking habit later in life I’d have made more effort. Saw some whales off the coast which was nice, and drove into Blanc Sablon, Quebec. Spent an afternoon in St John, Newfoundland inbetween return flights and bought an Amon Tobin CD which ended up being one of my favourite albums of all time.
I think a proper trip over there is definitely on the cards, road trip style, once we’ve scratched our America itch a bit more. East bit, then another doing West bit. Maybe a North bit after that.
Not been to Canada since rating beers and then only twice, each time spending 3 nights at the huge NATO facility, Goose Bay in Happy Valley (Newfoundland and Labrador). Transiting from the UK to Alaska and back. Labatt’s beers down town and draught Dortmunder Union Export in the German Airforce Bar on the base. Mid 1990’s being the time frame. In fact I had a Labatt’s Blue the other day, just to see if it was a crap as I remembered, it was!
My Canadian stats are not too shabby in my opinion: 47 beers @ 3.33 with some really good ones at the top and some really low ones at the bottom. Five beers scoring 4 or over.
I will not post the names of the 5 beers at the lower end, but they all scored below 2.5.
10 of the 13 Provinces rated so far with Quebec on 20, mostly down to Unibroue which I’ve found in the UK, Belgium and California.
Would love to visit Vancouver and Vancouver Island one day, but no plans at the moment.
Oh, cheers @DuffMan, you helped me along the way with some interesting beers and new Provinces.
My 6th highest rated country with 67 rates. Only 6/13 regions which is poor considering one of original region splits. I visited Montreal twice prior to join ratebeer and Toronto one weekend as a beer rater and some great beer bars there. I went to both a Montreal Expos (no longer team) and Toronto Blue Jays game at those stadiums since trying to visit all Major League Baseball home fields 18/31 visited (I like lists). Now that I live in New England my wife and I have plans for two eastern Canada trips, this summer hopefully a road trip up to Quebec City maybe Montreal as well and then in next year or two a cruise that leaves from here in Boston that and goes up to Nova Scotia, New Foundland and Halifax like to find itinerary to get place rates in all 3. Now that Ice Perry is a style I may have to get to Quebec enough to collect some so I can get 10 of every non-beer style.
Canada is my 9th most rated country with 739 rates, and a very high average of 3.18.
Still missing three provinces/territories, despite having spent in total more than 3 months in Canada.
I consider Quebec (the province) to be the perhaps most interesting beer desitination outside of Franconia, with it’s mixture of new world and old world influences and high sense of quality. Spending 2 months in Ottawa it was very interesting to see how the beer scene differed when crossing the river (and thus province border). Seems that “importing” beers across province borders is more difficult than from other countries.
Favourite beer moments is gatherings with local crowds in Montreal and Ottawa, as well as road trip with Oakes up from California ending in Vancouver. Also vaguely remember a pub crawl in a blizzard with lightning in Toronto. There have also been moments where quality of beer has stunned in places such as Dieu Du Ciel!, Le Temps d’une Pinte, Gainsbourg and Brothers Beer Bistro (RIP).
There are plenty of very high scoring beers, but my list is dominated by Unibroue (pre-overtake):
My three highest rated breweries on average are:
Bellwoods Brewery Ontario 7 3.84
Le Temps d’une Pinte Quebec 6 3.83
Gainsbourg - Bistro Brasserie Quebec 10 3.82
Well, @omhper is a tough act to follow, and I’m not the best placed to take on that challenge (unless you’re looking for big contrasts in stats!).
I’ve never been to Canada - I’d love to go, but my wife’s extreme fear of flying means it’s very unlikely. The closest I’ve been was sharing a house with a lovely Canadian lady long before my RB days.
I’ve only had 4 Canadian beers and one cider - although those were from 4 different provinces. As @minutemat says, they’re very hard to get hold of (at least at acceptable prices) in the UK. Here’s my top 5 (and also bottom 5!) Canadian brews to date:
Other Canadian things - despite Celine Dion, there’s been some decent Canadian music over the years with Metric & Arcade Fire as my favourite Canadian bands at the moment.
I also love maple syrup, but I don’t like ice hockey as I never know where the puck is. .Poutine’s another great food from there; I reckon it’d be a great post pub dish!
my local (Rutland, Sheffield) has poutine on the menu permanently, result
Canada is one of my favourite countries & the beer scene is pretty impressive. I’ve been lucky enough to visit 6 provinces over my 4 long visits.
My first visit became as I’d made & become friends with a couple from Toronto while travelling in '99 and was invited to visited & stayed with them for a week the following year while also visiting Montreal & Quebec City afterwards, great memories although thinking about it some of it painful… trying to & failing to roller blade on Toronto’s islands & also canoe in upstate Ontario, but this has to ‘take the biscuit’ as I managed to do a complete cart wheel while cycling downhill on a gravel hill on Montreal’s islands, injuring myself badly on 10 different body parts. I had even turned down a helmet upon hiring the bike, I bravely soldering on for another hour despite the agony & the concern of my travel mate for the day before nonchalantly returning the bike. That evening I picked out the gravel from my cuts & covered myself in iodine while gritting my teeth!
I spent several weeks in British Colombia in autumn 2002 visiting Vancouver & Vancouver Island, this was about time I was really getting into my beer so very enjoyable.
I started seeing a girl from Montreal in 2007/08 so spent some time there that winter, making for a very different experience from my summer visit. Overtaking a snowplow while in a snow storm in upstate Quebec is a great memory, I seriously thought above moving there for a while, but the regular winter -20c temperature’s & my lack of any language skills put paid to that!
My most recent visit was in the summer of 2019 when we did a 16 day roadtrip from Halifax, Nova Scotia taking in much of that Province, some of New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island. Highlight was spending my birthday at the Bay of Fundy with it’s spectacular tides.
My beer stats - 85 ratings, averaging at 3.33 & my 8th highest country
6 / 13 Provinces rated with 40 from Nova Scotia where I just make the top 50 rater’s.
I’ve 10 rates from Prince Edward Island which puts me in 35th.
Top beers - Dieu Du Ciel! Aphrodisiaque with 4.4, equal top of all my rates
4 beers on 4.0 - Shipwright Fischerdorf Alt, Copper Bottom Broadside APA, Stillwell Make 1,2 & Collective Arts Surround Sound Azacca, Amarillo and Comet.
20 places rated from my recent trip - 14 in Nova Scotia.
Clear at the top - Stillwell Beer Bar (92) & Hopyard, Charlottetown, PEI (90)
I’d love another trip to this fine country when things settle down, perhaps to Alberta or Manitoba.
Visited Canada in my pre-RB days. Have been to Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City but no idea what I drank apart from some equivalent of Banghla in an Indian. Was more interested in record shops at the time. And of course sampling poutine (which is now appearing on the menu of burger places, etc, now).
14 beers from 4 Provinces
Ontario - 7
Quebec - 6
New Brunswick - 1
Prince Edward Island - 1
A colleagues’ wife is from Prince Edward Island so I asked them to bring me back a beer. They then sent me a message saying they weren’t sure how many cans they’d be able to fit into their suitcase - I stupidly responded that one beer was fine. More recently they were going to ask their father-in-law to bring some beers over until they rembered that he’s a recovering alcoholic.
Two beer from Alberta yet to be drunk. Spotted some beers from British Colombia on sale recently so may order some.
My Top 5:
7Bone in Reading* do poutine.
*And other locations.
Man, I’m a bit late with these. Canada is one of the 20 or so countries I have visited, but not one I’ve visited since rating beer. I was sweet on a Canadian woman I met in Exeter, and went to visit her in Canada for a week or so. We went to Toronto, Guelph and Timmins in Ontario and Val d’Or in Quebec.
When I lived in the US I was partial to Unibroue when I could get them, Fin du Monde being one of my favourites (I have yet to rate it though, since I last had it around 1998). One of the two Unibruoe rates I do have was drunk at Geneva airport, when I (very stupidly, what was I thinking?) put a bottle of Trois Pistoles in my carry on. The security staff looked at me like the idiot I was, said ‘You can’t take that on board!’ but then suggested I could drink it there and then. I did.
But I digress. Anyway, Canada. A measly 20 ratings and only two since the pandemic. A lot of my Canadian ticks came from Beautiful Beers in Bury St Edmunds who used to get some special stuff in for Canada Day. Haven’t seen it in a few years though.
The best beers & ciders are:
My most rated (as well as my overall favourite) brewery would have to be Collective Arts with 6 rates, followed by 2 each for Dunham, Central City, Flying Monkeys, Les Trois Mousquetaires, Nickel Brook and Unibroue. Looks like my Canadian rates like to travel n pairs.
My top rate is the newest, some ice cider from a couple weeks ago. Never tried the style and it blew us away. I had a hangover from half a little bottle. Totes worth it though.
Place rates: none. I don’t see any in the future either, as I no longer really have any connection to the country and my family live in Florida, which is pretty far from the border obviously. Then again you never know…