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Aug 20, 2008 02:34 PM

Fave Ontario Beer

Having a few friends coming from Begium (home of some of the world's best beer) and wanted to impress them with some ontario suds. Any recommendations for the best Ontario beers for quaffing on a sunny patio at the cottage?

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  1. Lately, SO and I have been really enjoying the Mill St. Wheat beer. It has a hint of orange and is a great, refeshing summer beer.

    1 Reply
    1. re: torontofoodiegirl

      Dude... I had a pint the other day. I thought there was a lot of good things happening in it but I was put off by the mildly spiced flavour.

      I can see how people would find it refreshing, though, the Mill St Belgian Wit...

    2. Yes, I know I know, it was bought by a huge conglomerate but Creemore continues to be my favourite as it has since I started drinking it more than 20 years ago.
      (certainly goes down well with my Sultan samosas. hee, hee)

      Probably wouldn't impress a Belgian though

      1. Cameron's suds aren't bad. Auburn Ale is tasty.

        1 Reply
        1. Oh, man, that's a tall order - I have yet to have anything in Ontario that even remotely compares to my beer experience in Belgium. As far as I'm concerned, Belgium = beer nirvana. But the Mill St. beers aren't a bad place to start...I always find myself coming back to the Tankhouse Ale, and the Coffee Porter might be something different for a Belgian.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wahooty

            Yep, I was going to suggest Mill St. Tankhouse. I do really enjoy their Belgian Wit beer, but I'd suggest steering clear of all Belgian style (wannabe?) beers on this occasion.
            Have fun!

          2. If you want to stretch your boundaries, Unibroue makes several nice beers that might appeal to Belgians, such as Fin du Monde. They were bought out by Sleemans, who in turn sold out to Sapporo, but they are still able to brew independently.

            27 Replies
            1. re: jayt90

              Unibroue does make quite a few decent beers. I like their Blanche de Chambly as well.

              1. re: tjr

                if you want to show them what canada can put out well, then unibroue would be my pick overall. i've found a better selection of them at the lcbo lately and you can generally get one to fit any mood.

                i would then second the mill st wit. the only beer i will drink from mill st. the spicing and fruitiness are well matched and may prove to show a good contrast between what we make here and what the belgians generally make. wits are also nicely refreshing for those sunny days when i expect quite a few beers to be put down at the cottage. can't go all day with something too heavy.

                i'm far too into the american microbrews to have enough good things to say about the ontario ones so i would actually consider getting a few of those if i could.

                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                  The thing about Unibroue, including Fin du Monde, Maudite and Blanche de Chambly is that they're essentially copies of Belgian trappist beers and the belgin white beer. I don't know how impressive it would be to show them Canadian versions, albeit very good ones.

                  Mill St. products are good. I really like the tankhouse ale (which has been mentioned already a few times). Waterloo dark is good. Refreshing, but also with flavour. Steam Whistle for thirst quenching cottage drinking.

                  For more ideas, check:

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    they may be copies, but to my tastes they're the best we have to offer.

                    ales and porters are more likely to offer the unique options of north america, but the the canadian ones never do it for me. so i'm biased and have a nice stock of american ipas and imperials to help get me through it.

                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      I think they're great beers. I'm just saying for highlighting Ontario beers (or Canadian in this case), they wouldn't be anything "new" for a Belgian.

                      1. re: grandgourmand

                        no doubt, wasn't disagreeing... just saying the rest just don't jive well enough with me that i could really pick some favourites.

                        though i must say i did recently have a sgt majors ipa again and i forgot how wonderfully bitter and a good representation of an ipa it can be. so there, that's my ont pick ;)

                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                          Sgt. Major has been really hit and miss since Heritage bought Scotch Irish a couple of years ago, and even less consistent since the original Scotch Irish brewer, Perry Mason, left Heritage a while back. I've had a couple of pints that were very disappointing - very week hop profile, just a generic pale ale - but I've heard from a couple of people who claim it's back on form recently. Hopefully, they can keep it consistent.

                          1. re: gregclow

                            i haven't consistently bought it and didn't recall liking it as much as i did before, but i had a bottle at citizen a week or so back and found it to be excellent. a good hoppy flavour that i didn't remember before. it's encouraged me to purchase it more regularly though i'll have to watch for these inconsistencies you mention. that's a shame that changes in ownership can have such a detrimental effect... when will they learn to not make it more generic!

                              1. re: Herne


                                it is the sister restaurant to rosebud and located at 730 queen st east. while i have enjoyed this place i do want to put in a caveat.... the portions for meat used to be significantly insanely larger and on last minute have shrunk to miniscule. you can however find some delectable and well priced dishes (puts rosebud to shame sometimes i think) if you're careful. a fantastic lobster spaghetti had bountiful lobster chunks for only $19 and on another evening anchovies with breadcrumbs will cost the same.

                                if you just want a sgt major ipa... go to the lcbo! a very regular offering.

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                              I apologize for recommending Unibroue; I guess I got carried away with the recommendation and forgot about the Ontario part. I also agree with grandgourmand, but the OP wanted to impress, rather than give them something new (I think). Maybe showing them how well Canadians (though not Ontarians) can do trappist will impress them!

                      2. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Such as (and available in ON please).....?

                        1. re: bluedog

                          i assume you're referring to the american brews? after trips to the US it's actually pitiful the selection we get of Unibroue even.... there's a Dieu one that I've never heard even mentioned in ON.

                          luckily, they recently introduced a couple brews in the lcbo. the one that definitely comes to mind would be the rogue dead guy ale. anything rogue that you can get your hands on is a guaranteed winner and will cost $30 at a beer bar. they also brought in southern tier which is perfectly respectable from an ipa point of view.

                          i know i'm being a snob about the american microbrew but they just suit my tastes so well. anytime i know anyone is going to the US, i get them to purchase something for themselves and for me if possible. i'll even direct them to the store they can get it at.

                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            Yup, I meant the american brews, thanks. I'm definitely going to pick up dead guy ale and may the southern tier. I AM a big fan of anything by sam adams (and I love their cherry wheat beer) and anything by anchor steam, but sadly that's about as much as I know. I was able to try Celis White at The Only once, but was quite disappointed, and haven't seen it again.

                            1. re: pinstripeprincess

                              Hey pinstripe, finally tried both the rogue dead guy ale and the southern tier IPA. Not a fan of the rogue: obviously a high quality beer but I am not a fan of the style, far too malty for my taste.

                              But the st IPA! va va voom! what a great brew! Thanks for the tip!

                              1. re: bluedog

                                i retried the rogue recently and i was actually surprised by the malt that you mention, i have no idea how i could have forgotten. there's a strong caramel hint to the beer and lack of bitter hops that doesn't typically remind me of an ale! it sort of bordred a bit on a dubbel for me. granted... i love that sometimes so i think i'll be going back for more of it.

                                glad you liked the st ipa though... we should have a thread that tracks new american microbrew offerings through lcbo!

                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                  I love really bitter hoppy beer, but am not a big fan of bold malt, hence by preference for the IPA. I agree with the thread on US microbrew offerings, though we're really at the mercy of the LCBO!

                                  1. re: bluedog

                                    just thought i'd update a section of this thread.... turns out that my oft savoured rogue hazelnut brown is now officially stocked in the lcbo. would suggest this as a really interesting and well rounded beer to try. it was better though under the morimoto name for production but still quite nice.

                                    would also suggest the imperial ipa by southern tier at rhino. they often don't have all the selection on the list but this imperial is available and certainly bitter to the max with matching sweet notes to balance it out a bit.

                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                      The Rogue Hazelnut Brown is part of the Autumn Ales promotion at the LCBO, so stock up while you can, as it's a limited time release.

                                      And there is actually no difference between this beer at the Morimoto Hazelnut Ale aside from the name on the bottle. Rogue is infamous for relabelling their beers for different places, events, etc. Just check out the number of 'A' icons (indicating 'Alias') on their page at RateBeer:


                                      1. re: gregclow

                                        damn, that's what i was worried about. the boy couldn't figure out if it was a limited release or not so i just wistfully assumed that it would be part of the regular line-up.

                                        that's what i thought as well, that it's just a relabeling.... boy also insists that the fresh hazelnut flavour is not as prominent though. still tasty. saw many relabelings in japan, definitely a stylistic cultural type change as i saw teddy bears on labels there. can't imagine that would encourage the beer drinking public here.

                                      2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                        Pinstripe: i assume you mean the rhino bar on Queen West? Is the imperial IPA different from the southern tier IPA sold at the LCBO, which we were discussing earlier?

                                        1. re: bluedog

                                          yes that bar and yes a whole different beer though by the same brewer. i believe the full name is the unearthly imperial pale ale. imperials are usually hopped out like mad and so have seriously strong bitter tones but my faves balance it out with some sweetness.

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            The imperial IPA is more hopped out than the bottled stuff at the LCBO? Its hard to imagine! Like I said above, the Southern Tier IPA has more zing than just about any other beer I can remember trying! Unfortunately its unlikely I'll get to the Rhino any time soon (i live in the east end and further go out rarely).

                                            1. re: bluedog

                                              welcome to the wonders of american microbrew... totally over the top flavours.

                                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                Picked up the other US IPA offering at the LCBO last night: Dogfish Head IPA. Not as hopped out as the Souther Tier so a bit disappointing. Worth a try though. I am always amazed at how much more damage 6% can give you over 5% though. Two bottles is my limit.

                                                1. re: bluedog

                                                  i'm going to assume the 60min and not the 90min? the first time i had a 90min it was just way too much for me after only one sip so i haven't bothered since. mind you i really probably should have had it out of a glass, i think this was straight out of a bottle.

                                                  dogfish head also generally seems to make more wine like beers with lots of fruit/honey/etc additions that give it a really sweet edge. it is a bit of a gimmick to be throwing in all these different ingredients but i've really enjoyed them so far. their punkin is fabulous for seasonal ales and i really love the jiahu and red & white. the raison d'etre is what turned me onto them and i like to keep a few around for sipping on my own.

                                                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                    The 60 minute, Thats' all one can get at the LCBO. I'd love to try the 90 minute.