Pub Talk

Cana-duh

Canada has no beer style to call its own, so let’s make one. Here’s my idea.

Cana-duh

(Posted with permission and written by Rob Swiderski, Certified Cicerone, Recognized Beer Judge and Co-Owner of Craft Beer Market)

Where’s Canada’s Style?

I was thinking about it the other day…does Canada have any beer style that we are known for? I know, we have Molson Canadian or Labatt’s Blue, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with a well brewed North American Lager, but those are Canadian brands and not Canadian styles.

The lager style is owned by the Germans (Bocks, Marzens, Oktoberfest beers, Helles, etc.), Belgians created the Trappist and Abbey style Ales, Czech Republic has the Czech style Pilsner, England and their English style pale ales, West Flanders the Flanders Red/Brown ales, and the US has IPAs cornered. The list goes on…and poor Canada is left out in the cold without any style to call its own.

It got me thinking some more… what would Canada’s style be if it had one? A beer style typically forms around an area’s history, culture and crops. What’s available has a huge influence on the creation of the style. I know some of you purists are saying what about the water? Water is important and makes up over 90% of the ingredients in beer.

Canada’s Beer Style According to Me

Okay, let’s figure out what Canada’s style should be. Canada had indigenous people living here for thousands of years before the French settled here and were later overtaken by Britain. So, Indigenous, French and British influences. The First Nations used to make many different forms of tea using things like berries, plants, trees, and a million other things. The French had their “Biere de Garde” which means “beer which has been kept or lagered”. I tend to think of a Biere de Garde as a malt forward Saison. The British are known for their “Bitters” a term that refers to the entire family of bitter and India pale ale styles, along with a few others. All of which tend to be more malt focused.

This brings me to my last point. When I think of a crop that is used for brewing beer and found in Canada, naturally I think of Barley. As someone who lives in the Alberta grain belt, barley is the most local crop. Local is important because that means it’ll be fresh, but barley also has a huge influence on a beer’s development. Malted barley provides the necessary sugars for fermentation, malt also helps determine the colour of the beer and helps balance the bitterness that comes from hops.

So, based on these 3 things if we were building a beer style for Canada it would most likely be a tea infused Brune Biere De Garde – a French yeast, with a more generous malt build and Noble hop varieties (Tettnang or Hallertau).

The Canadian Beer Style Challenge

Any breweries up for the challenge?
Don’t agree with me?
What beer style would you create?

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