This week is a particularly terrible week to be in the Northern U.S., especially if you’re in a state around the Canadian border where temperatures dropped down to -40F! What does the freezing cold make us want to do? Drink some warming beer, of course.
While we’ve spent a ton of time covering (see: drinking) U.S. craft beer, our neighbors to the North have some incredible breweries that deserve to be recognized. We suggest you check out all of the following brews, but we don’t recommend trying to chill them outside. They will freeze and explode, and you will be sad. You’ve been warned; now get to drinking some amazing Canadian beers. Might I suggest…
Unibroue: La Fin Du Monde
One of the finest Belgian Tripels is not made in Belgium but in Chambly, Quebec at the Unibroue brewery. Everything you want and expect is there: the big sweet Belgian yeast, spices like coriander, clove and pepper, and fruits from banana to pear and orange. Refined, dry and with plenty of carbonation, it’s worth keeping a few of these 9% beauties in reserve as they age well and can be had at a nice price nearly across the U.S.
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel: Péché Mortel
Péché Mortel is an absolute stunner of a coffee stout from one of Canada’s best breweries. Huge roasted malt and coffee flavors are followed by bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit and some hops. This is a big stout, clocking in at 9.5%, and though the coffee will fade a bit, the alcohol will mellow as well, bringing out more complex flavors. This beer only comes in single 12-ounce bottles, so I recommend grabbing at least two — one to drink and one to keep.
Central City Brewing: Red Racer Imperial IPA
In the mood for a massive hop bomb that comes in an awesome little can? Look no further than Central City’s Red Racer from Surrey, British Columbia. Grapefruit, pineapple, pine and sweet malt are all held in balance for an excellent and drinkable brew. If you have trouble finding it stateside, note that its American name is Red Betty IPA, which likely refers to the gal in the label art having a hell of a time on her bike. Take this racer for a ride.
Bellwoods Brewery / Evil Twin: No Sleep Till Brooklyn
Like the Beastie Boys song, this beer can rock a party eight days a week! I had this wild ale on tap at Tørst, its collaboration with owner Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsøso, but it was still a lucky treat to find in NYC and really hit the spot. Think dark, sweet, tart fruit like cherries and raspberries, plus a little lemon (it's actually a sour stout). At 8.7%, it’s big for wild ale, and the complexity of dark malt really makes this one special. It’s not widely available but it’s worth tracking down.
McAuslan Brewing: St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
I love imperial stouts as much as anyone, but sometimes I like to relax with one that assaults my tastebuds more than my tolerance. This is beautifully crafted oatmeal stout at just 5% ABV with coffee, cocoa, vanilla, roasted malt flavor and a hint of smoke. While this probably shouldn’t be aged for too long, I recommend drinking this year-round as it’s light enough for the summer but hearty enough for a delicious winter treat.
More beers to drink on Food Republic: