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Local's guide: Canada's best breweries and pubs

Breweries and pubs Canada

Local's guide: Canada's best breweries and pubs

Canada's mountains, streams and prairies aren't the only fresh things the country has to offer. Canada's breweries and pubs are world-class watering holes for the best--and the freshest--local craft beer.

Thanks to Joann PaiExternal Link Title, Tamara ElliottExternal Link Title, and Stoked for SaturdayExternal Link Title for their local tips.

33 Acres Brewing Company - Vancouver

At 33 Acres, expect a minimalist vibe and maximum taste
At 33 Acres, expect a minimalist vibe and maximum taste. Photo credit: BC Ale Trail

After a day of hitting Vancouver's bustling food scene, exploring natural wonders just beyond the city limits or soaking up local culture, there's no better place to unwind than 33 Acres Brewing CompanyExternal Link Title. Featuring minimalist, modern design and a serious obsession with really good beer (really, really good beer), 33 Acres Brewing Company is a favorite communal watering hole in the happening Mount PleasantExternal Link Title neighbourhood. Locals say the refreshing 33 Acres of Ocean IPAExternal Link Title, with hints of pine and grapefruit, embodies the distinct taste of the Pacific Northwest.

Stubborn Goat Gastropub & Beer Garden - Halifax

Stubborn Goat Gastropub & Beer Garden is a harbourside hang tapped with Nova Scotia’s finest brews
Stubborn Goat Gastropub & Beer Garden is a harbourside hang tapped with Nova Scotia’s finest brews. Photo credit: Tourism Nova Scotia, Travis MacRae (@Tmacrae)

We like our beer with a view. Some gourmet food to pair with a craft pint doesn't hurt either. HalifaxExternal Link Title's Stubborn Goat GastropubExternal Link Title, a Nova Scotia favourite, offers both in two locations. The , Stubborn Goat's waterfront beer garden offers one of the best views of Halifax Harbour topped off with a menu heavy on local craft beer. Not a bad way to immerse yourself in historic HalifaxExternal Link Title.

Yukon Brewing Company - Whitehorse

Warm up with a cold one at the Yukon Brewing Company
Warm up with a cold one at the Yukon Brewing Company. Photo credit: Yukon Government / C Archbould

Go back to 1997 in the Yukon wilderness and you might find two canoers dreaming big around a campfire under the northern lights. What did this dream result in? A brewery, of course! Yukon BrewingExternal Link Title quickly came into fruition after that trip, and now serves delicious craft brews to WhitehorseExternal Link Title locals and thirsty travellers. Favourites include the Chilkoot Lager and seasonal offerings like the Longest Night Cascadian Dark Ale.

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. - Victoria

Where quirky meets craft at Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.
Where quirky meets craft at Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. Photo Credit: BC Ale Trail

Starting from humble means (a windowless apartment and a "mountain of credit card debt"), the Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.External Link Title has made a name for itself both by being an integral part of the VictoriaExternal Link Title scene and by brewing some of the most interesting beers. Try a classic--like Blue Buck--or opt for a seasonal pleasure,  like their Solaris white peach ale. If you're in Victoria and looking for a taste, stop by for a tour and a sampleExternal Link Title. Look for their quirky labels, as well as their sodas and spirits.

Picaroons - Fredericton

Picaroons Brewing Company has been serving fresh, local brews since 1995.
Picaroons Brewing Company has been serving fresh, local brews since 1995. Photo credit: Tourism New Brunswick, Hemmings House

Looking for a taste of tradition and some of the best beer in Atlantic Canada? Head to FrederictonExternal Link Title, Atlantic Canada's Craft Brewing Capital,External Link Title where Picaroons Brewing CompanyExternal Link Title has been brewing English-style ales for over 25 years. Picaroons uses a traditional, open-air fermentation process, which yields fantastic products like the all-organic Dooryard summer aleExternal Link Title and the "sweet and toasty" maple cream aleExternal Link Title. In addition to serving their own brews, the Picaroons Roundhouse offers a wide selection of craftExternal Link Title beers, ciders, wines and spirits from around New Brunswick as well as a fast-casual menu from 540 NorthExternal Link Title. Local tip: arrive early to secure yourself an outdoor fire pit spot from Thursday to Saturday. If you find yourself in Saint JohnExternal Link Title, stop by the Picaroons General StoreExternal Link Title to experience the same great tradition in a different locale. 

Last Best Brewing & Distilling - Calgary

cans of beer with colourful background
Last but not least… Photo credit: Last Best Brewing & Distilling

Last Best Brewing & DistillingExternal Link Title is a true hidden gem and one of Canada's most unique spots for hyperlocal beer in CalgaryExternal Link Title. Calgarians are especially fond of  the Show Pony Pale Ale and Dirty Bird Black Lager. Last Best also distills its own fine spirits with local ingredientsExternal Link Title. Make sure to sample their award-winning Savage Love and Fortunella gins which each took home World Gin Awards in 2020. Inside the brewpub, you'll find beautiful industrial decor and great foodExternal Link Title. Outside, a cozy courtyard summer patio awaits, the only one of its kind in Calgary.

Granite Brewery - Toronto

Granite Brewery serves up a true neighborhood brew in bustling Toronto
Granite Brewery serves up a true neighborhood brew in bustling Toronto. Photo Credit: Granite Brewery

It's not surprising that a family-owned and operated business offers one of the most comfortable places to sip a craft beer in Toronto. Granite BreweryExternal Link Title has been around for over 30years-meaning it hit the scene before most people even knew what craft beer was. Now that the masses are educated when it comes to the delight of local brews, Granite still remains a favorite with its English-style ales. Try one of their 15 seasonal and rotating drafts and grab a mealExternal Link Title on one of their two (!) patios for the full big-city experience.

Stillwell Beer Garden - Halifax

Halifax’s newest destination for craft beer.
Halifax’s newest destination for craft beer. Photo credit: Tourism Nova Scotia, Jessie Emin (@eatwithjessie)

A striking open-air bar in downtown HalifaxExternal Link Title, Stillwell Beer GardenExternal Link Title is the epicenter for local craft beer enthusiasts and anyone looking to enjoy a night out under the stars. Stillwell might describe themselves simply as "a beer bar," but the contemporary space lends to a hip, modern aesthetic with satisfying eatsand new beers rotating on the taps daily. Halifax might be steeped in history, but Stillwell and other local External Link Titlebreweries prove that the city is constantly reinventing itself.

9 Mile Legacy Brewing - Saskatoon

Connection and innovation is the name of the game at 9 Mile Legacy Brewing.
Connection and innovation is the name of the game at 9 Mile Legacy Brewing. Photo credit: Tourism Saskatoon/Carey Shaw Photography

Nine miles, that's the distance that separated the Moen and Pederson families back in the early 1900s in southwestern Saskatchewan. Three generations later, the families have been united through hoppy vows as friends Shawn Moen and Grant Pederson founded 9 Mile Legacy BrewingExternal Link Title in SaskatoonExternal Link Title. At Nine Mile, a nanobrewery that prides itself on quality, innovation and strong relationships, you'll find plenty of collaboration-driven brews on tap. When you visit, expect East-meet-West inspired beers as one of their regular contributors is the family behind Odd CoupleExternal Link Title, a delectable local restaurant known for its many Asian influences. Whether you're filling a growler to-go or enjoying a taproom pint, this nanobrewery is sure to show you the friendliness and ingenuity of Saskatoon locals.

Benelux Brasserie Artisanale - Montreal

Fresh, cool Benelux Brasserie Artisanale.
Fresh, cool Benelux Brasserie Artisanale. Photo credit: Tourisme Montréal - Madore - Daphné CARON

For a cool 5 ? 7 (the French version of happy hour) with an energetic clientele that enjoys first-rate craft beer, head to Benelux Brasserie ArtisanaleExternal Link Title in the heart of downtown MontrealExternal Link Title. With beer styles ranging from traditional Belgian to hoppy American to India Pale Ale, there's a fresh pour to please every discerning palate at Benelux. For a more relaxed vibe and a larger outdoor seating area, venture to Benelux's second homeExternal Link Title in up-and-coming VerdunExternal Link Title, about 20 minutes from downtown. Those with an affinity for fine spirits will appreciate the interesting selection of well-priced scotch and whisky offered at both locations.

Quidi Vidi Brewery - St. John’s

Iceberg beer and scenic views await at the Quidi Vidi Brewery.
Iceberg beer and scenic views await at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Photo credit: Destination Canada

It'd be unthinkable to visit St. John'sExternal Link Title without visiting the beautiful historic fishing village of Quidi Vidi External Link Titleand trying Quidi Vidi BreweryExternal Link Title's legendary iceberg beer. This unique, specialty beer is made using icebergs that float down the coast of Newfoundland and External Link TitleLabradorExternal Link Title. The stunning Quidi Vidi seaside brewery is arguably one the most scenic taprooms in the world and, if you happen to catch a Friday night Kitchen Party (a musical tradition in the area), you'll leave convinced it's also the world's friendliest brewery.

NWT Brewing Co - Yellowknife

One-of-a-kind is the name of the game at Canada’s second northernmost brewery, NWT Brewing Co.
One-of-a-kind is the name of the game at Canada’s second northernmost brewery, NWT Brewing Co. Photo credit: Adam Pisani

While known for its unparalleled wildernessExternal Link Title and northern lightsExternal Link Titlethe External Link TitleNorthwest Territories is also home to mighty fine beer. Established in 2014 by northern brewing pioneers Fletcher and Miranda Stevens, NWT Brewing CoExternal Link Title is Canada's second northernmost brewery and a one-of-a-kind brewing post. Their production includes beers like the award-winning and local favorite Kicksled Cream Ale and the complex Ragged Pine Ale. Hungry from a day of adventuring around YellowknifeExternal Link Title? Stay for a meal at the Woodyard Brewhouse & EateryExternal Link Title, which blends unique pub food and one-off creations in a friendly atmosphere (families are welcomed on Saturdays).

NuBrew Co. - Iqaluit

NuBrew Co., Canada Northernmost Brewery
NuBrew Co., Canada Northernmost Brewery, opened in 2018 with a mission to be an industry leader in environmental responsibility. Photo Credit: Jason Nugent and Destination Nunavut

Baffin Island is home to Canada's northernmost brewery and brewpub: small, intimate NuBrew CoExternal Link Title (External Link Titlealso known as The Nunavut Brewing Company). At NuBrew, beers are crafted using the pristine water from the adjacent Sylvia Grinnell Territorial ParkExternal Link Title as well as a sustainable carbonation process which reuses the carbon dioxide produced during fermentation. Visit IqaluitExternal Link Title to try beers like the The Floe Edge, a northern lights-inspired lager, and the Irish red ale Aupaqtuq ("red" in Inuktitut).

Barn Hammer Brewing - Winnipeg

Historically, barn raising has referred to the actions of a community rebuilding a barn together. Barn Hammer BrewingExternal Link Title's Barn Raising Nights modernized the concept. Once a month, this small and always friendly WinnipegExternal Link Title brewery donates one dollar from every taproom beer sale to a nonprofit organization. Barn Hammer is not just a microbrewery with a cause, it's also , the city's first tap room, where many locals have been introduced to the concept of craft beer. This small-scale brewhouse serves up enough liquid gold to satisfy everyone from newbies to seasoned beer connoisseurs. Fill up a growler or stop by for a tasteExternal Link Title.


No matter where you're going or what you're doing in Canada, there's few better places to unwind and soak up Canadian culture than one of the country's well-loved breweries or pubs.