Canada Day long weekend is here and this is the best time of year to take in a barbecue, watch the fireworks, enjoy all things Canadian and savour Canada’s best beers.
Canada has my favourite beers on the planet, and with such a wide variety of styles available all across the country, I felt like Canada Day is the perfect time to create the "Great Canadian Six-Pack."
It features the best of the best Canadian beers from across the nation that you can find here in Westman.
I’ve included eight beers in this six-pack as not everybody likes the same kinds of beer. Enjoy!
Amsterdam Big Wheel Deluxe Amber Ale (Toronto, Ont)
Big Wheel is your standard craft amber ale consisting of lightly toasted caramel malts, a nice amount of floral hops to give the beer a sweet caramel flavour, with a bit of a bitter hop backing. $2.99 per 341mL can, available at Liquor Marts in Brandon, Minnedosa and Russell.
Central City Red Racer ESB (Vancouver, B.C.)
My favourite Extra Special Bitter, it’s a nice bittersweet grapefruity ale with an abundance of bitter hops, sweet with a hint of lemon. Not your typical ESB as it’s much more of an India pale ale to me due to the fact it uses much more hops than the standard ESB. $4.95 per 650mL bottle at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart.
Double Trouble Prison Break Breakout Pilsner (Toronto, Ont)
When I think of a great pilsner, this is what comes to mind. Prison Break is a light golden pilsner that doesn’t compromise on taste. It has a nice crisp taste with notes of fresh cut barley, a mild sprinkling of hops and a light sweetness to make it a great bonfire beer. $3.11 per 473mL can at Brandon Corral Centre and 10th and Victoria Liquor Marts, as well as Russell and Virden.
Fort Garry Raspberry Quencher (Winnipeg, MB)
I’m not a fan of fruity beers but Fort Garry did an amazing job on its Raspberry Quencher wheat ale, a cloudy wheat ale made with freshly puréed raspberries to give it a nice sweet Sunday afternoon on the patio sort of feel. $2.96 per 473mL can at all three Brandon Liquor Marts.
Half Pints’ Stir Stick Stout (Winnipeg, MB)
One of the very first stouts I ever actually enjoyed — sorry, Guinness, I can’t stand you. It’s a rich coffee stout with hints of dark chocolate, a bit of cream, and of course, roasted coffee coming from the roasted malts. I can taste the bitterness of the coffee already, and I haven’t even had a bottle for a few months! It’s available in 650mL bottles for $4.33 each — unfortunately it is currently sold out, but it is also available in Half Pints’ Mixer pack, which is available for $21.50 for 12 bottles at all Brandon Liquor Marts. If Stir Stick Stout still isn’t available by the time this article is published, then a great alternative to Stir Stick Stout is Toronto’s Mill Street Brewing’s Coffee Porter, a bit lighter than Stir Stick Stout but it makes a great dessert beer. Coffee Porter sells for $2.26 per 341mL bottle and is available at 10th and Victoria.
Howe Sound King Heffy Hefeweizen (Squamish, B.C.)
Here in the Wheat City, we take wheat ales for granted, but then there’s King Heffy, Howe Sound Brewing’s most popular beer — so popular that it’s the "King". King Heffy is a German-style hefeweizen with notes of bananas, cloves, and a bit of gritty barley. It’s unfiltered as nature intended. If you like beers like Rickard’s White, this will be for you. $9.99 per 1L bottle at the 10th and Victoria Liquor Mart.
Phillips’ Bottle Rocket India Session Ale (Victoria, B.C.)
With the session style of beers (beers with less than 5 per cent ABV but still full flavoured) becoming the new trend in beers, this isn’t quite a "session ale" as it’s right at 5 per cent. Nonetheless, Bottle Rocket is a great take on a lighter India pale ale. It boasts aromas and flavours of pine hops, lemons, some grassy notes from the barley and oddly enough, a bit of a peppery spice to give it a bit of heat. $2.69 per 355mL can at Liquor Marts in Roblin, Russell, Virden and 10th and Victoria in Brandon.
Unibroue la Fin du Monde (Chambly, Que.)
My go-to Belgian-style pale ale. Rated one of the best beers on the planet, La Fin du Monde has aromas of honey, coriander, yeast and just a hint of tartness. For flavour, it starts out with a certain bite of alcohol that I can’t put my finger on it — but considering it’s 9 per cent ABV, it’s expected. It features notes of honey, citrus zest, cloves, a hint of apricot and is quite sweet and yeasty to the taste buds. This is essentially Quebec’s beer ambassador to the world. $6.15 per 750mL corked bottle at the Corral Centre and 10th and Victoria Liquor Marts, as well as Minnedosa and Roblin.
I hope you all have a safe and happy Canada Day. Remember not to drink and drive — call a cab, get a friend or family member to drive you or take public transit.
Also, don’t be shy about demanding better beer. Tell your local beer retailers, pubs and restaurants that you want craft beer — the more noise that we make, the more likely we’ll see better beer on tap rather than six varieties of Alexander Keith’s.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 28, 2014