It’s Canada’s birthday, so it’s a great time to crack open a craft beer and reflect on 150 years of maple syrup, hockey and the systematic oppression of our Aboriginal population.
If you’re a lower middle-class Caucasian dirtbag like me, you’ll probably be down at the park getting sunburned and drowning that white guilt. Hey, a day off work is a day off work!
Thankfully, a host of local craft breweries have sesquicentennial-themed offerings that are perfect for the occasion.
Mt. Begbie Brewing Co.
Hot off its recent medal haul and Brewery of the Year win at the Canadian Brewing Awards, Mt. Begbie has released this variant of its classic cream ale, which was released more than 20 years ago.
This smooth and easy-drinking ale benefits from the addition of organic Quebec maple syrup, which provides a clean dry finish and some subtle maple flavours. Can’t get more Canadian than maple.
I’m willing to bet a case of Confed 150 that Mt. Begbie brewmaster Bart Larson stirred the mash with a hockey stick, too.
Available in 650mL bottles at the brewery (which is in Revelstoke, so, road trip!), and select private retailers.
Red Racer Across The Nation Collaboration
Central City Brewers + Distillers
Surrey’s Central City got together with breweries from every province and territory (except Nunavut, which doesn’t have a brewery) for this ambitious 12-pack.
I can’t even imagine the logistics involved in pulling this off, but leave it to Central City to make it happen.
“There is a great sense of camaraderie among us craft brewers in Canada, and what better way to show our pride in our country than to bring together some of Canada’s best breweries on a celebratory mix-pack to commemorate this huge Canadian milestone,” says Central City brewmaster Gary Lohin.
“We all know Canada is renowned for our great beer and it has been such an honour to work with each of the breweries. We can’t wait to showcase some spectacular beers and the brewing talents of all 12 breweries.”
Featured are Four Winds Brewing (B.C., obvs), Last Best Brewing (Alberta), Black Bridge Brewery (Saskatchewan), Half Pints Brewing (Manitoba), Beau’s Brewing (Ontario), Le Trou Du Diable (Quebec), Picaroons Traditional Ales (New Brunswick), Garrison Brewing (Nova Scotia), PEI Brewing Company (Prince Edward Island), Quidi Vidi Brewing (Newfoundland), Yukon Brewing (Yukon), and NWT Brewing Company (Northwest Territories).
There are some pretty interesting beers in this 12-pack. I particularly enjoyed the Upper Reaches pale ale, the collaboration with Beau’s, which features peaches and white spruce tips. The Across the Nation Collaboration is available at B.C. Liquor Stores while supplies last.
Est. 1867 Pale Ale
Trading Post Brewing
First off, how awesome is this bottle? It’s like a stubby tallboy. Very retro, very cool.
Trading Post got together with the Fort Langley National Historic Site to come up with this beauty. The beer is nothing fancy, a pretty standard pale ale at five per cent ABV and 18 IBU.
Trading Post very accurately describes it as a “crisp and balanced, no-nonsense beer” and is “as easy-drinking as Canadians are nice.”
Available at Trading Post’s brewery in Langley, its taphouse in Fort Langley, and at the Fort Langley National Historic Site café.
150 Heritage Ale
Lighthouse Brewing Co.
Victoria’s Lighthouse Brewing created this strong ale to pay homage to Canada’s many “keepers,” who have long kept watch over our lonely and dangerous coastline.
The beer features maple syrup to represent Canada (notice a trend here?), smoked malt for the lighthouse keeper’s oil lamps, and rye for a red colour.
Available in 650mL bottles in B.C. Liquor Stores and private retailers.
Canada 150 Variety Pack
Big Rock Brewery
Big Rock is celebrating the big one-five-oh with this nifty variety pack full five Canada-themed one-off beers and its classic Grasshopper wheat ale.
Each beer represents a different region of Canada featuring ingredients and ideas unique to those places: Hibernation Ale (North), Peach Pilsner (West Coast), Maple Lager (Quebec), Oak Aged Rye Ale (Ontario), Oyster Stout (East Coast) and Grasshopper (the Prairies).
Available at the brewery and at retailers across the province.