By MERLE ROSENSTEIN
At tailgate parties, at barbecues and in pubs across Canada, six packs are paired with pizza, burgers and poutine. But these days beer has outgrown snack food and sports and has gone artisanal. Craft brewers are combining top-quality ingredients and producing unusual, signature brews, while beer lovers flock to festivals to learn the art of food pairing with lager, ale and stout.
And now, mindful consumers can down certified-organic ale—produced with organic ingredients, without chemical fertilizers and pesticides—or beers “made with organic ingredients,” which have some organic grains.
Start your cross-Canada organic beer tour with these ten brews.
Alberta: Made with organic barley malts, Alley Kat Brewing Company’s Charlie Flint’s is Alberta’s first organic beer. This European-style lager goes well with Thai, Pan-Asian, Mexican, Peruvian and other spicy cuisines. Take a tour of the brewery or purchase a pint at restaurants and pubs in Edmonton and Calgary.
British Columbia: When in BC, check out these three breweries.
- Pacific Western Brewing Company has five styles of certified organic beer (hefeweizen, lager, amber ale, festbier, and black stout) all made using pure spring water and no preservatives.
- Crannóg Ales’ four certified organic beers (Insurrection IPA, Red Branch Irish Ale, Back Hand of God Stout and Gael’s Blood Potato Ale) are unfiltered and unpasteurized and sold in draught form across BC. The farm/microbrewery is in Sorrento, between Salmon Arm and Kamloops. Take a tour of Crannóg in the summer.
- Nelson Brewing Company, in Columbia West Kootenay region, produces certified organic beers including Nelson After Dark, a dark mild ale, Blackheart Oatmeal Stout, Faceplant Winter Ale with brown sugar and molasses, Harvest Moon Organic Hemp Ale, Wild Honey Organic Ale and two pale ales.
New Brunswick: Dark & Stormy Night is a dark wheat beer developed by Picaroons Traditional Ales in Fredericton—a 100% certified organic, light-tasting hybrid of a German dunkel and a traditional English ale. In summer, Picaroons releases its Dooryard Summer Ale, another 100% organic with the refreshing taste of citrus and spice.
Nova Scotia: Greenman Organic Beer from the Granite Brewery is a light pale ale brewed with organic malt.
Ontario: Mill Street Brewery produces a 100% certified organic lager. This crisp, refreshing European-style pilsner can be paired with seafood, light pasta, chicken, light vegetable dishes, cheese and fruit. Mill Street Organic Helles Bock is a strong German lager with a rich malty taste and hints of currant and oranges.
Quebec: La Barberie in Quebec City produces special beers in small quantities for restaurants, bars and cafés. Blonde Biologique, a Belgian-style “blonde” is produced with pesticide-free ingredients. A tasting salon next to the brewery is open to the public.
Saskatchewan: Brecknock Brewing has two organic options: the malty Brecknock Pilsner and the sweet-floral Brecknock Pale Ale, both made with organic barley malt.