With the arrival of Canada Day, what better way to spend the patriotic weekend then hanging outside drinking some delicious Canadian craft beers. Every year, breweries release their own take on beers that embody the summer season. Each offers a unique taste and are great to try during the coming hot months. Below are some recommendations for beers to pick up from the LCBO this weekend or hopefully, to find on tap in your area.
1. Great Lakes Brewery – Sunnyside Session IPA
Sunnyside Session IPA is a light beer with bold hops flavour infused with a little bit of citrus, such as lemon and grapefruit. Sometimes it can be hard to find a summer beer that is not a wheat beer, and Great Lakes Brewery does not disappoint. Right from the pour you can smell the hop flavours emerge and it has a clear gold colour. Incorporated into the brew are Citra, Cascade, Mosaic, Equinox and Amarillo hops. It’s got a good body and a slight bitterness that makes the brew truly refreshing and extremely easy to drink. The perfect summer IPA; especially to drink when unwinding after work or hanging out with friends during the hot summer months.
2. Kensington Brewing Company – Watermelon Wheat
This fruity, summer brew infuses the fresh taste of watermelon into a wheat beer to make a sweet and thirst-quenching beverage. The watermelon flavour is similar to the sweet taste you get when drinking watermelon juice. I expected the beer to have a pink tinge to it, but instead it poured a cloudy gold. The beer can has a wonderfully crazy design with colours of pink, green and yellow. A crazy and fun outside that matches the beer inside it.
3. Black Oak Brewing Co. – Beat the Heat Belgian Style Wheat
Fruity flavours and notes of spice make this wheat brew complex. The balance between them results in a nice, refreshing summer drink. You can taste orange zest, coriander, and a bit of clove. This Belgian wheat is incredibly smooth, and despite its spicy and peppery flavours, ends on a sweet note. The label recommends pairing this beer with seafood, and I can imagine this going perfectly with some grilled shrimp at a backyard barbeque.
4. Muskoka Brewery – Summerweiss
This is the beer you want to be drinking when hanging out up north at a cottage, with the heat on your skin, while gazing at a picture-perfect lake. Muskoka Brewery’s seasonal beer has summer in every sip. It gets its refreshing tastes from fruity flavours; most prominently lemon but other citrus notes as well. This easy drinking brew has a silky mouth feel that is often associated with wheat beers and has a subtle hop. This brewery is located in Bracebridge and takes pride in creating unfiltered craft beers using premium ingredients that are inspired by the heart of cottage country: so they obviously know how to make the perfect summer cottage brew.
5. Amsterdam Brewery – Oranje Weisse Summer White
This is your ideal summer patio beer to enjoy downtown, during an evening hanging out with close friends. I specifically picture a rooftop patio, with a great view of the hustle and bustle going on in the city. This brew has great Belgian-style wheat beer flavours, infusing spices from coriander and anise. It also has a delightful tang from bright orange and citrus infusion. The beer ends on a sweet high note; that reminds me of candied oranges. The brewery mentions the name of this beer is an ode to their Dutch heritage, named after the famous nickname of the Netherlands Football team. As someone also of Dutch culture, I can confirm Dutch people take great pride in the colour orange. When described this beer may sound similar to Black Oak’s Beat the Heat, but it differs with more sweetness and fruitiness.
6. Kawartha Lakes Brewing Co. – Raspberry Wheat
When pouring this beer, it has a ruby tinge, and you can instantly smell the raspberry infusion. Obviously, when drinking this brew there is a robust and delicious raspberry taste through the entire taste profile, but it does evolve. This beer starts off sweet but then moves to a tart flavour, getting both the sweet and sour aspects of this delicate red fruit. However all this raspberry flavour isn’t overpowering, you can tell you are still drinking a beer. Kawartha Lakes Brewing Co. is owned by Amsterdam Brewery, and you can find this beer along with the Oranje Summer White in Amsterdam’s Summer Entertainer Mix Pack along with the 3 Speed Lager and Sweetwater Squeeze Radler.
7. Lake of Bays Brewing Co. – Wild North Summer Sunset Ale
Lake of Bays features Ontario grown Perle and Chinook hops and Canadian two-row barley in this summer ale. This light brew is slightly bitter, which adds a crisp taste. It also has notes of lemon zest that give it an absolute brightness. The beer pours clear and golden that matches the excellent forest sunset design on the can. This Baysville brewery, located up north, has a pretty simple philosophy and apparently sticks to it when crafting their brews: make great beer, run a down-to-earth business, and have fun.
8. Granville Island Brewing – Two Tides India Session Ale
Granville Island Brewery’s seasonal summer brew will give you a break from all the citrus flavours and wheat beers typically found around this time. This laid back west coast beer from the Vancouver brewery gives off chill summer vibes, making it a great fresh brew to enjoy during the hot months. When poured, this amber coloured beer gives off a much hoppier smell than it tastes. It has a malty start, with a bitter hoppy middle but ends with a touch of sweetness reminiscent of honey. It also includes some biscuit and floral notes as well. Each Granville Island beer is named after iconic Vancouver locations, and it is a shame we aren’t able to have more of their refreshing beers available here in Ontario.
9. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. – Patio Saison
The Patio Saison is a beer with a smooth and light finish for a beer that is almost 6% ABV. Meanwhile, it does have a heavier mouthfeel than other beers with some spicy, and earthy undertones. This beer is mildly sweet, with floral and citrus notes like orange and lemon. It also tastes slightly wheaty but still has a good hop. Drinking this beer on a patio, hiding from the sun’s rays in the shade seems like the ideal way to enjoy this brew. Another great wheat beer to try from the Vankleek Hill brewery this summer is Wag the Wolf.
10. Mill Street Brewery – Lemon Tea Beer
Another wheat beer style, but with tea-infused flavours that mix well with the brewing to create a great and unexpected summer taste. Orange pekoe and earl grey are prominent flavours in this beer. The lemon flavour provides an invigorating freshness along with floral characteristics. The beer finishes with a slight sweetness. This beer leaves you with the same feeling as a tea would, calm and relaxed. Although not included in Mill Street’s Summer Sampler this year, this refreshing beer is a must try.
These are just some of the amazing summer beers you can find this season at the LCBO. Don’t forget to check out what’s on tap at your local brewery for some harder to find but must try summer brews. What is your favourite beer to keep cool this summer?