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Hospitality and Tourism

Craft Beer Trends in Canadian Bars

Last Updated on January 15, 2024


Craft beer is experiencing a renaissance in Canada, with a surge in demand and production.

There has been a notable shift in consumer preferences, with an increasing number of beer enthusiasts seeking unique flavors and high-quality brews.

As a result, craft beer has gained immense popularity in Canadian bars, and this blog post aims to explore the latest trends in this ever-evolving industry.

Canadian bars have recognized the market demand for craft beer and have responded by expanding their offerings.

No longer limited to the mass-produced, commercialized options, bars are now showcasing a diverse selection of craft beers on their menus.

This development has not only attracted beer connoisseurs but has also introduced many casual beer drinkers to the world of craft beer.

The growing popularity of craft beer in Canadian bars

One of the prominent craft beer trends in Canadian bars is the focus on locally brewed beers.

Bars are increasingly supporting local breweries and featuring their products on tap.

This trend allows consumers to experience the unique flavors and cultural essence associated with their region.

Additionally, it fosters a sense of community and supports the growth of local economies.

Another exciting trend is the experimentation with unconventional ingredients and brewing techniques.

Craft breweries are pushing boundaries by incorporating various fruits, spices, and even coffee into their brews.

These innovative flavors and brewing methods provide a distinctive and exciting experience for beer enthusiasts.

In fact, the craft beer industry in Canada is thriving, and the trends observed in Canadian bars reflect the evolving preferences of consumers.

By offering a wide variety of craft beers, emphasizing local production, and embracing experimentation, bars are meeting the demands of beer enthusiasts and providing an exciting and diverse drinking experience.

Stay tuned to discover more about the fascinating world of craft beer trends in Canadian bars in the upcoming sections of this blog.

History of Craft Beer in Canada

Brief history of the craft beer movement in Canada

  1. Craft beer movement in Canada started in the 1980s, inspired by the US craft beer revolution.

  2. The Brick Brewing Co. became the first craft beer brewery in Canada in 1984.

  3. The movement gained momentum in the 1990s with the opening of several new craft breweries.

  4. By 2005, there were over 50 craft breweries in Canada, showcasing a growing interest in artisanal beer.

  5. The popularity of craft beer continued to rise, with new breweries popping up across the country.

Importance of craft beer to Canadian culture

  1. Craft beer is more than just a beverage; it is an integral part of Canadian culture.

  2. Craft breweries prioritize quality and flavor, offering unique and diverse beer styles to consumers.

  3. Craft beer promotes localized production and supports local economies by sourcing ingredients from nearby farms.

  4. It fosters a sense of community by connecting consumers with the people behind their favorite beers.

  5. Craft breweries often collaborate with local businesses, creating a symbiotic relationship within the community.

  6. Craft beer also celebrates Canadian heritage by incorporating traditional brewing techniques and local ingredients.

  7. The industry has created job opportunities, with breweries employing skilled individuals across various roles.

  8. Craft beer tourism has emerged as a popular sector, attracting visitors to explore different breweries and destinations.

  9. Canadian craft beer festivals, such as the Great Canadian Beer Festival in Victoria, BC, promote the industry and showcase its diversity.

  10. Craft beer allows Canadians to express their creativity and appreciation for quality, handcrafted products.

In short, the history of craft beer in Canada showcases a remarkable growth and impact on Canadian culture.

From its humble beginnings in the 1980s to the thriving industry it is today, craft beer has become a source of pride for Canadians.

It reflects their passion for quality, local products and supports communities across the country.

As craft breweries continue to innovate and experiment with new flavors, Canadians can look forward to discovering even more exciting craft beer trends in their favorite bars.

Emerging Breweries

Overview of new and upcoming craft breweries in Canada

  1. The craft beer scene in Canada has seen a surge of new and upcoming breweries.

  2. These emerging breweries are introducing fresh and exciting flavors to the craft beer market.

  3. Many of these breweries are small, independently-owned businesses that focus on quality over quantity.

  4. These new breweries often experiment with unique ingredients and brewing techniques to create innovative flavors.

  5. Craft beer enthusiasts are eagerly seeking out these emerging breweries to try their latest creations.

  6. The rise of social media has helped spread the word about these new breweries and their offerings.

  7. These breweries are often found in trendy neighborhoods, attracting younger demographics and creating vibrant beer communities.

  8. Some of these emerging breweries have even won prestigious awards for their exceptional craft beers.

  9. Local and regional craft beer festivals provide a platform for these breweries to showcase their products and gain recognition.

  10. The growing popularity of craft beer has created a market demand for these new breweries, leading to their success.

Focus on innovative brewing techniques and unique flavors

  1. Emerging breweries in Canada are not afraid to push the boundaries of traditional brewing techniques.

  2. They experiment with different types of yeast, fermentation processes, and barrel aging to create unique flavors.

  3. Some breweries use unconventional ingredients like fruits, spices, or even coffee in their brews.

  4. These innovative brewing techniques result in craft beers with complex and interesting flavor profiles.

  5. Craft beer enthusiasts appreciate the creativity and craftsmanship that goes into these unique brews.

  6. Innovative brewing techniques also allow these breweries to cater to different dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free options.

  7. Many emerging breweries collaborate with local businesses, such as coffee roasters or fruit growers, to create specialty beers.

  8. These collaborations further enhance the diversity of flavors offered by these breweries.

  9. The use of local ingredients also helps support the surrounding community and promotes a sustainable approach to brewing.

The impact of these breweries on the craft beer scene

  1. The emergence of these new breweries has revitalized the craft beer scene in Canada.

  2. They have brought a fresh energy and creativity to the industry, inspiring established breweries to innovate.

  3. The introduction of unique flavors and brewing techniques has expanded the options available to craft beer consumers.

  4. The success of these emerging breweries has encouraged more entrepreneurs to enter the craft beer market.

  5. This increased competition has raised the overall quality and variety of craft beers in Canada.

  6. Consumers now have a wider range of choices, catering to different tastes and preferences.

  7. These breweries have also helped cultivate a more vibrant beer culture, with beer enthusiasts seeking out new and local beers.

  8. As a result, craft beer tourism has increased, with people traveling to explore different breweries and beer destinations.

  9. The impact of these emerging breweries extends beyond just the craft beer industry, benefiting the local economy.

  10. Job creation, tourism revenue, and the support of local farmers and suppliers contribute to the overall growth of the community.

In essence, the emergence of new and upcoming craft breweries in Canada is transforming the craft beer scene.

These breweries bring a fresh wave of innovation and unique flavors, expanding the options for craft beer consumers.

Their impact extends beyond the industry, benefiting the local community and contributing to the growth of the economy.

As these breweries continue to thrive, the craft beer scene in Canada can expect continued excitement and growth.

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Styles of Craft Beer

Popular craft beer styles in Canadian bars

  1. IPA: India Pale Ale, known for its hoppy and bitter flavor.

  2. Pale Ale: A more balanced beer with hoppy and malt flavors.

  3. Stout: Dark and rich beer with roasted malt and coffee/chocolate notes.

  4. Lager: Crisp and clean, often associated with lighter beer options.

  5. Wheat Beer: Light and refreshing, made with a large proportion of wheat.

Examples of traditional and experimental craft beer styles

Traditional Craft Beer Styles

  • Porter: A classic British beer with malty and roasted flavors.

  • Amber Ale: Medium-bodied beer with caramel maltiness and moderate hop bitterness.

  • Belgian Tripel: Strong and golden beer with fruity yeast esters and high alcohol content.

Experimental Craft Beer Styles

  • Sour Beer: Tart and acidic, often with fruity or funky flavors.

  • Barrel-Aged Beer: Aged in barrels to develop complex flavors from wood and previous contents.

  • Fruit-infused Beer: Fruit flavors added to enhance the beer’s taste, like raspberry or mango.

Comparison with international craft beer trends

While Canadian craft beer styles have their uniqueness, they are not far behind in global trends.

Many Canadian bars are embracing international styles and experimenting with unique brewing techniques.

Some popular global craft beer trends include:

  1. New England IPA: Hazy, juicy, and less bitter IPA with tropical fruit flavors.

  2. Saison: Belgian farmhouse ale with fruity and spicy flavors, often brewed with unique yeast strains.

  3. Gose: Tart and salty German-style beer often brewed with coriander and salt.

  4. Imperial Stout: Rich and robust stout with high alcohol content and intense flavors.

  5. Session Beer: Low-alcohol beer designed for extended drinking sessions without overwhelming the palate.

Canadian bars often have an impressive selection of international craft beers alongside homegrown options.

This diversity reflects the openness of Canadian beer enthusiasts to explore different styles.

The craft beer revolution in Canada has led to a vibrant and constantly evolving beer scene.

Whether you prefer traditional styles or experimental brews, Canadian bars have something for everyone.

Don’t hesitate to venture beyond your usual go-to beer and embrace the exciting craft beer trends in Canadian bars.

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Craft Beer Trends in Canadian Bars

Locally Sourced Ingredients

As the craft beer industry in Canada continues to grow, one trend that has gained significant traction is the use of locally sourced ingredients in the brewing process.

This section will explore the rising demand for local ingredients, the benefits they bring to craft beers, and provide examples of Canadian breweries that are championing this practice.

Growing demand for locally sourced ingredients in craft beer

  1. Consumers are becoming more conscious of where their food and beverages come from.

  2. This increased awareness has led to a growing demand for locally sourced ingredients.

  3. Craft beer enthusiasts are no exception, as they seek unique flavors and support local businesses.

  4. Breweries are responding to this demand by incorporating local ingredients into their recipes.

Benefits of using local ingredients in terms of taste and sustainability

  1. Locally sourced ingredients offer fresher and more unique flavors to craft beers.

  2. They reflect the terroir of the region, giving the beer a sense of place and identity.

  3. Using local ingredients supports the local agricultural industry and reduces carbon footprint.

  4. It promotes sustainability by reducing the need for long-distance transportation of ingredients.

Examples of Canadian breweries using local ingredients

  1. Beau’s Brewing Co. in Ontario sources its hops from local farms, giving their beers a distinct flavor.

  2. In British Columbia, Powell Brewery uses locally grown fruit in their seasonal fruit-infused beers.

  3. Collective Arts Brewing in Ontario partners with local coffee roasters for their coffee-infused beers.

  4. Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company in Alberta creates farmhouse ales using locally grown barley.

In general, the use of locally sourced ingredients in craft beer has become a prominent trend in Canadian bars.

Consumers value the freshness and unique flavors that come from local ingredients, while also supporting local agriculture and reducing environmental impact.

Canadian breweries, such as Beau’s Brewing Co., Powell Brewery, Collective Arts Brewing, and Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company, are leading the way in incorporating local ingredients into their brews.

As the craft beer scene continues to evolve, it is likely that the demand for locally sourced ingredients will only grow stronger.

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Collaboration Beers

Collaboration beers between Canadian breweries

Two or more Canadian breweries collaborate actively to create special brews known as collaboration beers..

They bring together the unique skills, knowledge, and creativity of each brewery to produce a truly exceptional and innovative beer.

These beers are typically limited-edition and highly sought after by beer enthusiasts.

Importance of collaboration in fostering creativity and innovation

Collaboration in the craft beer industry plays a significant role in fostering creativity and innovation.

When breweries come together, they can experiment with different ingredients, techniques, and styles that they may not have tried otherwise.

This cross-pollination of ideas and expertise pushes the boundaries of what is possible in brewing, leading to new and exciting flavors and experiences for consumers.

Examples of successful collaboration beers in Canadian bars

1. The Collective Project by Collective Arts Brewing and Rainhard Brewing Co.

This collaboration beer combines the expertise of Collective Arts Brewing and Rainhard Brewing Co. to create a unique blend of flavors.

The Collective Project is an Imperial IPA infused with grapefruit, making it a refreshing and citrusy beer that has gained popularity in Canadian bars.

2. Twin Pines Collaboration by Dageraad Brewing and Parallel 49 Brewing

Dageraad Brewing and Parallel 49 Brewing joined forces to create the Twin Pines Collaboration, a Belgian-style tripel brewed with spruce tips.

This beer offers a balance of sweet maltiness and aromatic pine notes, resulting in a complex and intriguing taste that has captivated beer enthusiasts across Canada.

3. Mirror Mirror by Bellwoods Brewery and Blood Brothers Brewing

Bellwoods Brewery and Blood Brothers Brewing collaborated on Mirror Mirror, a bourbon barrel-aged farmhouse ale with raspberries and apricots.

This beer combines the expertise of both breweries in barrel-aging and fruit-infusion, resulting in a tart and fruity flavor profile with subtle hints of bourbon.

Mirror Mirror has become a highly sought-after beer in Canadian bars.

4. Unity Brew by Phillips Brewing and Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks

Unity Brew is a collaboration beer between Phillips Brewing and Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks.

This beer is a blend of their respective flagship IPAs, resulting in a harmonious balance of hop bitterness and citrusy aromas.

Unity Brew showcases the collaborative spirit of the craft beer industry and has received rave reviews in Canadian bars.

5. All Together by Parallel 49 Brewing and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel

All Together is a collaboration beer between Parallel 49 Brewing and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel.

It is a hoppy pale ale with tropical fruit flavors and a crisp finish.

This beer was created as part of a global initiative to support the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Together demonstrates the power of collaboration in not only creating great beer but also making a positive impact on communities.

In review, collaboration beers between Canadian breweries are a testament to the innovation, creativity, and camaraderie within the craft beer industry.

These limited-edition brews bring together the best of each brewery’s skills and ideas, resulting in unique and exciting flavors for beer enthusiasts to enjoy.

Collaboration fosters a sense of community within the brewing world and pushes the boundaries of what is possible in the craft beer landscape.

Canadian bars are proud to showcase these successful collaborations, offering beer lovers a taste of the imagination and craftsmanship behind each pint.

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Cans vs. Bottles

A shift in packaging preferences from bottles to cans

  1. Craft beer enthusiasts in Canadian bars are increasingly favoring the use of cans over bottles.

  2. This shift in packaging preferences is driven by various factors, including consumer demand and industry trends.

  3. Canadian bars have noticed a notable increase in the number of breweries offering their craft beer in cans.

  4. Consumers appreciate the convenience and portability that cans offer, making them an ideal choice for on-the-go enjoyment.

  5. The rise of cans reflects a changing perception of craft beer, which is no longer seen as inferior to bottled options.

Advantages of cans in terms of quality and sustainability

  1. Canned craft beer maintains its quality and freshness for longer periods due to enhanced protection against light and oxygen.

  2. Cans are more durable than bottles, providing better insulation that keeps the beer colder for a longer time.

  3. Unlike glass bottles, cans are lightweight and unbreakable, making them safer to transport and easier to recycle.

  4. Cans offer a 360-degree canvas for creative label designs, allowing breweries to showcase their brand identity and attract consumers visually.

  5. The recyclability of cans aligns with the growing focus on sustainability and environmental awareness in the craft beer industry.

Impact of canning on the craft beer industry in Canada

  1. Canning has opened up new market opportunities for Canadian craft breweries, particularly in terms of distribution and export.

  2. Many bars and restaurants prefer cans over bottles due to their space-saving attributes and ease of storage.

  3. With the shift towards cans, breweries have been able to expand their reach and gain visibility in a highly competitive market.

  4. Canned craft beer has also attracted a younger demographic, who appreciate the modern and trendy image associated with cans.

  5. The canning trend has prompted breweries to invest in canning lines and equipment, stimulating the local economy.

In a nutshell, the preference for cans has significantly impacted the craft beer industry in Canadian bars.

With their advantages in terms of quality, sustainability, and market opportunities, cans have become the preferred choice for craft beer enthusiasts.

The shift in packaging preferences from bottles to cans showcases the evolving perception of craft beer and reflects changing consumer demands.

As the trend continues to grow, both breweries and consumers benefit from the convenience, freshness, and environmental benefits that cans offer.

Thus, it is evident that cans have transformed the way craft beer is packaged and enjoyed in Canadian bars.

Craft Beer Events and Festivals

Overview of popular craft beer events and festivals in Canada

  1. Canadian Beer Festivals: Showcasing a wide variety of craft beer from local breweries.

  2. Great Canadian Beer Festival: Gathering beer enthusiasts from across the country for a weekend of tastings.

  3. Toronto Beer Week: A week-long celebration of craft beer in Canada’s largest city.

  4. Calgary International Beerfest: Offering an extensive selection of craft beers and seminars.

  5. Vancouver Craft Beer Week: Featuring special events, tastings, and collaborations with international breweries.

The importance of these events for promoting local breweries and showcasing new beers

Craft beer events and festivals serve as platforms for local breweries to gain exposure and reach a wider audience.

By participating in these events, breweries can showcase their unique brews and connect with potential customers.

These events not only create opportunities for breweries to generate sales but also provide valuable feedback and recognition from beer enthusiasts and industry professionals.

With the craft beer market becoming increasingly competitive, events and festivals play a crucial role in building brand awareness and establishing a strong presence in the industry.

They allow breweries to stand out amongst the vast array of craft beer options and differentiate themselves through flavor profiles, brewing techniques, and innovative offerings.

Additionally, these events provide a platform for breweries to launch new beers and gather feedback from consumers, helping them refine their products based on consumer preferences.

Examples of notable craft beer events and festivals

  1. The Canadian Brewing Awards: Recognizing outstanding beers and breweries in Canada through a national competition.

  2. The Alberta Craft Brewing Convention: Bringing together industry professionals for networking and educational sessions.

  3. The Atlantic Beer Festival: Showcasing craft beers from the Atlantic region and fostering collaboration among breweries.

  4. The Brewmaster’s Invitational Beer Festival: Featuring unique and rare brews from breweries across Canada and the United States.

  5. The Ottawa Beer Festival: Offering beer tastings, food pairings, live music, and educational seminars.

Overall, craft beer events and festivals have become an integral part of the Canadian beer scene.

They provide a platform for breweries to gain exposure, promote their products, and interact with beer enthusiasts.

These events not only contribute to the growth of local breweries but also contribute to the overall development and appreciation of craft beer in Canada.

Craft Beer and Food Pairings

Growing interest in pairing craft beer with food

  • The trend of pairing craft beer with food has been steadily growing in popularity.

  • More and more Canadians are seeking unique dining experiences that combine the flavors of craft beer and food.

  • Craft beer offers a wide range of flavors and styles, making it an ideal companion to various dishes.

  • Restaurants and bars are capitalizing on this trend by offering curated craft beer and food pairing menus.

  • The art of craft beer and food pairing is becoming a respected skill among chefs and beer enthusiasts.

Benefits of craft beer in enhancing dining experiences

  • Craft beer can enhance the flavors of a dish, providing a complementary taste experience.

  • The carbonation in craft beer helps cleanse the palate between bites, making each bite taste fresh.

  • The complexity of craft beer can add depth and complexity to dishes, elevating the overall dining experience.

  • Craft beer’s wide range of flavor profiles allows for endless pairing possibilities, catering to various preferences.

  • When paired correctly, craft beer can bring out the best flavors in both the beer and the food.

Examples of successful craft beer and food pairings

  • A hoppy IPA pairs well with spicy foods, as the bitterness helps balance the heat.

  • A rich and malty stout complements chocolate desserts, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

  • Pale ales or wheat beers are great choices for seafood dishes, as their lighter profiles complement the delicate flavors.

  • A fruity and tart beer, such as a sour or a Belgian lambic, pairs well with cheese to create a contrasting yet complementary combination.

  • A crisp and refreshing pilsner or lager pairs well with grilled meats, as the lightness of the beer cuts through the richness of the meat.

Overall, craft beer and food pairings offer a unique and enjoyable dining experience for Canadians.

With the growing interest in craft beer and the diverse range of flavors available, discovering the perfect pairing has become an exciting adventure.

By considering the characteristics of both the beer and the dish, one can create harmonious combinations that enhance the flavors and overall enjoyment.

Restaurants and bars are recognizing the demand for craft beer and food pairings, and are actively incorporating them into their menus to cater to the evolving tastes of their customers.

Whether it’s a casual meal or a gourmet dining experience, exploring the world of craft beer and food pairings is sure to tantalize the taste buds and elevate the overall enjoyment of a meal.


Recap of Main Points

We’ve explored the dynamic landscape of craft beer trends in Canadian bars.

From innovative flavors to unique brewing techniques, the craft beer scene is thriving.

Canadian bars are embracing diversity, offering patrons a rich selection of artisanal brews.

Final Thoughts on the Future

The future looks promising for craft beer enthusiasts.

With the increasing demand for local, sustainable options, Canadian bars are likely to witness a surge in craft beer prominence.

Collaborations between breweries and bars will foster a culture of experimentation, keeping the industry vibrant.

Closing Statement

As we conclude, let’s raise our glasses to the exciting journey of craft beer in Canadian bars.

Join us in supporting local breweries, exploring new flavors, and savoring the craftsmanship behind each pour.

The craft beer scene invites you to be a part of a community that celebrates quality, creativity, and the shared love for exceptional brews.

Cheers to the ever-evolving world of craft beer in Canadian bars!

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