Beer. It’s delicious. Whether you’re clinking glasses together or sharing a cold one in an intimate setting, there’s something special about beer. It accompanies a greasy meal just fine, pairs well with a classy five-course dinner, and comfortably rests in your hand while you watch sports on TV. We all need to drink responsibly, of course, but when you find a beer bursting with flavour, you have no desire to pound it back because, well, that would be a shame. Those special beers demand to be caressed, slowly enjoyed as you appreciate every flavour squeezed into the bottle.
Beer isn’t much different than wine when you explore past the boundaries of liquor stores. There’s a whole world out there of microbreweries crafting delicious brews for us to enjoy and share memories with. Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but the point is these beers are truly something special and deserve to be celebrated. It’s a daunting and likely impossible task to try and taste them all, and that’s a great problem to have if you’re a beer connoisseur.
With that in mind, the purpose of this list isn’t to lay claim to the best beers ever—that would be a difficult undertaking for even the most knowledgeable of beer drinkers. Think of this as a beer recommendation if you haven’t had the pleasure of tasting any of these brews. And hey, don’t be selfish, if you’ve tasted brews crafted from the heavens then please share in the comments section and let us all celebrate its deliciousness.
10. Muskoka Mad Tom IPA
This American IPA with a 6.4% ABV (alcohol by volume) is brewed out of Ontario, Canada. One of this beer’s best assets is its availability on store shelves. Mad Tom is exploding with depth of flavour and a distinct fruity back that pleasantly lingers. It possesses a nice blend of citrus undertow with a strong hop base. The colour is synonymous with its crisp, refreshing taste as it pours golden brown and really does taste like liquid gold. It’s just a well-balanced beer that is unlikely to disappoint even the stingiest of beer connoisseurs. That it’s reasonably priced and easy to get your hands on is a nice bonus.
9. Chimay Triple (White)
A Belgian brew with an 8% ABV, Chimay Triple is a world-class white beer bursting with flavour. Its complex aroma is accentuated with a blend of fruits including raisins, grapes and fresh-cut apples. Chimay is also an authentic Trappist beer, which means it comes with the badass story “that it is brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery under the control and responsibility of the community of monks, and whose revenue is devoted to social service.” Its light gold colour does the beer justice as it represents a perfect blend of bitterness and subtle citrus flavour. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard.
8. La Shawinigan Handshake
Le Trou Du Diable is a phenomenal microbrewery out of Shawinigan, Quebec that is remarkably consistent with world-class beers. You’ll pay a pretty penny, but your taste buds will melt away in heavenly elation. Shawinigan Handshake is a Weizenbock style of beer—a stronger wheat—that packs a bit of a punch at 6.5% ABV. The politically-themed label will provide a laugh as you tilt one back and let the golden flow of orange and grapefruit flavours and pine back invigorate your insides. This beer is also heavy on hops and has a nice spicy flavour integrated in its complex flavour. Take a few sips, sit back and enjoy.
7. La Vache Folle – Milk Stout
Another Quebec beer, this imperial stout is brewed with lactose to boost its flavour and smoothness. It’s a truly unique flavour that pours jet black and smells of coffee, chocolate and some mild caramel sweetness. Despite its stout 9% ABV, La Vache Folle goes down smooth the moment it touches your tongue, making it a unique and heavy beer expertly brewed. It has a strong coffee back that lingers on your palate as it absorbs its delicious complexity. The head is foamy and long lasting to ensure a consistent and slow-burning experience you’re meant to enjoy over an extended period. Take your time with this beauty.
6. Rigor Mortis ABT
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel is a beautiful microbrewery based out of Quebec that boasts a plethora of delicious beers. The Rigor Mortis ABT, aptly named with its 10.5% ABV, is shockingly smooth as it invades your palate with tastes of burnt caramel, dark chocolate and a hint of citrus that cozies up in your mouth for a long-lasting experience. Like many of the beers on this list, this one is best enjoyed at a slow pace to embrace its full flavour and complex aroma. Rigor Mortis also has a soft brown colour and dry finish that highlights its sweet and malty flavour.
5. Le Castor Oatmeal Stout
The Oatmeal Stout from Le Castor, a Quebec microbrewery, is your prototypical Canadian beer. Its modest 5% ABV shouldn’t be taken lightly as the beer offers a full flavour of chocolate, coffee and a back of maple syrup without being overpowering in sweetness. This beer is well-balanced and a great gateway brew for beer drinkers looking to delve into the delicious world of microbrews. Make no mistake, however, this is a complex creation bursting with flavour and a nutty aroma that begs to be absorbed before taking a sip. Whether you’re an experienced microbrew drinker or newly introduced, you can’t go wrong with Le Castor’s Oatmeal Stout.
4. Le Castor Yakima IPA
Oh my…this is a good one. Once you allow Le Castor’s Yakima IPA to touch your tongue and alter your opinion on what makes a scrumptious brew, it’ll proudly reside in your fridge as a signature beer. The Yakima IPA is a blend of tropical flavours most pungent in its grapefruit and citrus undertones. It also has a strong pine back to finish its refreshing and complex taste. It’s one of the best IPAs you’ll ever drink that nicely blends a strong finish with a smooth initial taste, as represented with its 6.5% ABV. Please never cease brewing these delicious beers, Quebec.
3. Propeller Revolution Russian Imperial Stout
I stumbled upon this flawless imperial stout by accident, simply by trusting the opinion of a waitress after she informed me the bar didn’t have the beer I had ordered. Not sure what to expect, Propeller Revolution Russian is possibly the best stout I’ve experienced to date. It’s a coffee lover’s dream beer as strong notes of chocolate and coffee beans dominate its aroma. At 8% ABV, it pours jet black but goes down smooth with a rich flavour full of bitterness and sweetness that nests in your mouth with its balanced combination of citrus and chocolate. It’s so delicious I had to run out and grab one while writing this entry.
2. Shawi Beach
I’ll be honest here, I’ve never had the privilege of tasting this beer as it is a summer exclusive from Le Trou Du Diable. So why am I not only including it on this list but rating it so high? Well, word of mouth from a trusted source claims this IPA trumps my all-time favourite beer to date, which will be revealed shortly. Shawi Beach is a renowned beer for its floral bitterness and delightful blend of citrus flavours including mango, grapefruit, pineapple and orange. It is said to possess a piney aftertaste and strong aroma with an attractive foamy head. Is it summer yet?
1. MacTavish In Memoriam
For dramatic effect, imagine this beer being unveiled to the tune of epic Viking chants with ice fog enveloping around its medieval-themed label. This is a beer for the ages, aptly described as “legendary ale” on the memorable label. Fruity hops, a honey undertow and a pleasant floral aroma ship you away in the lucid world displayed on the front, inviting you to breathe in the fresh smell of a Scottish meadow before finishing the experience with a lingering but pleasant bitterness that coats your tongue with its complex flavour. Am I slightly exaggerating? Perhaps, or maybe, just maybe, this beer is so good that it’ll turn you into a well-versed beer connoisseur. Why are you even still reading this? Go grab a cold one!