Village is a brewery with a mission: 10 per cent of its bottom line is put towards supporting local arts and community. The brewery has assembled a 50-person team of accomplished Calgarians who help with the brewery's mission and support each other — and are, of course, beer fans. Village also makes space in its shop available to local artisans.
To try: Farmer, a farmhouse ale with refreshing cucumber
Collective Arts aims to combine its owners' love of beer with their love of the arts by pairing with artists around the world, from fellow brewers to musicians, visual artists, and filmmakers. They feature artwork on their bottles and their website's blog. And they're open to suggestions and proposals for new collaborations.
To try: Rhyme & Reason, an extra-pale ale that avoids bitterness
MAP: Winnipeg, Man
This Manitoba brewery is different from other North American microbreweries in one key way: the ingredients that go into their beers are grown on site at their estate brewery. Can't get more local than that!
To try: Farmery Premium Lager, a classic light lager
MAP: Lyons Brook, N.S.
Uncle Leo's is a Nova Scotia-based brewery, but it has Newfoundland roots, having been inspired by the owner's uncle and the home brews he would sell at his Placentia Bay general store in the 1940s. This brewery's classic beers are made without added fillers or preservatives.
To try: Uncle Leo's IPA, a straight-ahead brew
Toronto's Bellwoods Brewery isn't just one of the best new breweries in Canada — it's among the best on the globe. Bellwoods was recently named the third best brewery in the world in the RateBeer best of 2013. The Bellwoods microbrewery opened in 2012, and earlier this year they expanded to include a retail store, including growler sales. The brewery frequently brews in collaboration with other beer makers, and creates forward-looking flavour combos.
To try: Witchshark, a super-hoppy double IPA
This new East Vancouver brewery was founded by three friends who initially owned a restaurant together. But the trio had a longstanding love of craft brewing, and decided to get back to that with Parallel 49. They have an inclusive approach that aims to have a beer for everyone, and keeps a sense of humour intact.
To try: Old Boy, which has hints of chocolate and caramel
MAP: Rigaud, Que.
This Quebec brewery focuses on organic beer, made by partners who got interested in brewing while in Scotland completing an internship in traditional timber framing. The owners launched a woodworking company called Hamlet before getting the idea for Le Castor, and their timberwork shop is where they first started brewing; their microbrewery officially opened in June.
To try: Wee Heavy Bourbon, aged in oak bourbon barrels for three months
District is the first locally owned and operated brewery in Saskatchewan's capital city, having launched just this past summer. Its co-owners aim to help the microbrewery trend grow in their home province.
To try: Mus Knuckle, a pale lager
MAP: Baysville, Ont.
Lake of Bays is based in Ontario's Muskoka region, which is known more for beautiful cottages and scenery than beer. They brew with fresh Lake of Bays water, adding a special local touch, and their beers are made with all-natural ingredients.
To try: Top Shelf, the official beer of the NHL Alumni Association
Beer is not exactly celiac friendly — it's traditionally full of gluten, thanks to the use of barley (and sometimes wheat) in the brewing process. Some companies offer a gluten-free beer, but the results are hit or miss. But this Quebec brewery, which focuses on gluten-free brews, is doing it right: Glutenberg won the bronze, silver, and gold awards at the World Beer Cup in 2012 in the gluten-free category.
To try: Glutenberg Red, made with roasted chestnuts and a gold winner at the 2012 World Beer Cup
MAP: Olds, Alta
Last month, Olds College in Alberta — in collaboration with Ontario's Niagara College — launched the first brewing training program in Western Canada. Olds' residents and visitors can sample the students' work at a hotel attached to the campus, or they can visit the attached retail store and take some home.
To try: Get in touch to see what's brewing, as it'll change as the program runs
NEXT: Best Beers In Canada
Beer: Red Racer Pale Ale
Brewery: Central City Brewing
City: Surrey, British Columbia
The Type: Imperial pale ales are hoppier than regular pale beers, originally thanks to the extra hops added in the United Kingdom to keep the beer fresh on its journey to British soldiers stationed in India.
The Brew: Central City won Brewery of the Year at the 2012 Canadian Brewing Awards. The brewery describes the taste as "ruby red grapefruit, with depth of malt backbone."
Beer: Glutenberg Belgian Double
Brewery: Brasseurs Sans Gluten
City: Montreal, Quebec
The Type: Traditional beer is definitely not gluten-free friendly, because it's made with barley (and sometimes wheat). The gluten-free beer offerings are still slim, but growing.
The Brew: All of Brasseurs' brews are gluten free, made with grains like millet. Love strong, comforting tastes? This warm and spicy beer has notes of molasses, clove, and nutmeg, and 6.5 per cent alcohol.
Brewery: Denisons Brewing Company
City: Toronto, Ontario
The Type: These beers are light and low on aftertaste, thanks to the use of wheat in brewing.
The Brew: "Weissbier" is what they call wheat beer in Bavaria, and this beer from Denisons is a traditional Bavarian-style brew made with a special Bavarian yeast. It's been number one in the German Hefeweizen category on ratebeer.com for more than a decade.
Beer: Nutcracker Porter
Brewery: Black Oak Brewery
City: Etobicoke, Ontario
The Type: Porters are dark like stouts, but generally sweeter and less hoppy.
The Brew: Save this suggestion for the holiday season, when this dark cinnamon-spiced brew will be perfect with some figgy pudding—which Black Oak says is one of the flavours in this beer.
Beer: St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
Brewery: Brasserie McAuslan Brewery
City: Montreal, Quebec
The Type: These dark and rich beers often use unmalted roasted barley to give the beer a character kind of like coffee.
The Brew: This beer is brewed from 40 per cent dark malts and roasted barley, but also has oatmeal to give it body and a mocha-coloured head.
Beer: Saison Station 16
City: L'Assomption, Quebec
The Type: These highly carbonated beers were originally brewed in the cooler months in Belgium and then stored by farm workers to drink in the summer months.
The Brew: This spring seasonal brew is Belgian style with citrus and clove aromas.
Beer: La Fin du Monde
City: Clarington, Ontario
The Type: Belgium has a centuries-old beer brewing tradition, and Belgian-style beers can be of several different varieties.
The Brew: This beer with a floral bouquet has, so far, won more medals and awards than any other Canadian beer.
City: Stouffville, Ontario
The Type: This ancient beverage is not exactly a beer: rather, it's a fermented honey and wine beverage that sometimes also contains grain mash and/or hops, which can give it a beer-like flavour.
The Brew: If you're looking for a buzz, you'd get a good start reaching for this beverage, with a 20 per cent alcohol content.
Beer: Blueberry Cream Ale
Brewery: Pumphouse Brewery
City: Moncton, New Brunswick
The Type: These tend to be ales, but have a different character because of the low bitterness and malt flavour required to let the fruit shine through.
The Brew: East Coast blueberries are delicious, and this beer ads spicy notes to kick things up a notch.
Beer: Dooryard Organic Ale
Brewery: Picaroons Traditional Ales
City: Fredericton, New Brunswick
The Type: When the weather is warm you want a seasonal brew that's clean and refreshing, like the ones in this category.
The Brew: Picaroon's certified-organic summer ale, with three traditional wheat beer styles in the blend, won bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards in 2009 and 2010.
Beer: Holy Smoke Scotch Ale
Brewery: Church-Key Brewing Company
City: Cambellford, Ontario
The Type: These beers are given their smokey flavour through the use of malted barley dried over an open flame.
The Brew: This peat-smoked Scotch ale is so dark that it's nearly black.
Beer: Oranje Weiss
Brewery: Amsterdam Brewery
City: Toronto, Ontario
The Type: This Belgian-style beer is light and crisp that narrowly escaped extinction twice in the 20th century.
The Brew: This seasonal brew is an unfiltered white, flavoured with orange peel, coriander, and anise.
Beer: Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
Brewery: Amsterdam Brewery
City: Toronto, Ontario
The Type: These dark and strong beers are bittersweet and sometimes slightly metallic.
The Brew: This ruby-red beer is available every winter, with a blend of five different malts to keep your belly warm.
Beer: Rye Pale Ale
Brewery: Cameron's Brewing
City: Oakville, Ontario
The Type: Rye beers are made when a portion of the barley malt is replaced with rye, which is generally malted.
The Brew: Part of Cameron's brewmaster series, this bittersweet beer has won several Canadian Brewing Awards, including a bronze in 2013.
Beer: Imperial I.P.A
Brewery: Garrison Brewing Company
City: Halifax, Nova Scotia
The Type: Copper coloured and fruity, these beers are originally from England.
The Brew: Garrison bills this as "the hoppiest beer in Atlantic Canada." Depending on your taste for hops, that either sounds great or awful. If you're a hophead, this is your brew.
Brewery: King Brewery
City: Nobleton, Ontario
The Type: These beers have a more distinctive hop taste than other lagers, with a dry and somewhat bitter flavour.
The Brew: King imports the Bohemian malts used to brew this Czech-style beer, which won a silver medal in 2013 at the Canadian Brewing Awards.
Beer: Fighting Irish Red
Brewery: Yellow Belly
City: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
The Type: Thick bodied and amber or red coloured, depending on the particular brew used.
The Brew: Billed as the brewery's most complex beer, Yellow Belly's red brew has notes like burnt toast and strawberry jam.
Beer: Traditional Ale
Brewery: Big Rock Brewery
City: Calgary, Alberta
The Type: Look for caramel and chocolate flavours, sometimes with a slight citrus accent.
The Brew: This beer was first brewed in 1985 with the goal of creating an English-style beer that was markedly different from the typical Canadian bottle.
Beer: Black Cat
Brewery: Paddock Wood Brewing Co.
City: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
The Type: Lagers are aged longer, which gives them a smooth finish. These are the world's most popular beers.
The Brew: This beer with "delicate coffee notes" comes from Saskatchewan's first microbrewery.
Beer: Lug Tread
Brewery: Beau's All Natural Brewing Company
City: Vankleek Hill, Ontario
The Type: This German style of beer has a noticeable hoppiness without being extreme, and is not as bitter as regular German pale lager.
The Brew: Beau's flagship brew is a tribute to the classic beer of Cologne, Germany. It's top fermented like an ale and then cold aged like a lager.