Canadian Craft -- Discovering Ontario’s Beer Trends
We recently had the opportunity to pick a Canadian craft beer expert/hopportunist’s brain. Tiffany Hayes AKA the instafamous @travellingpint is a huge fan of craft beer, an Ontario native and beer blogger who had some awesome things to say about craft beer up north.
As the author/co-creator of The Beermanac, found here, she spent two months traveling across Ontario and visiting 47 breweries to create amazing content for the Beermanac which helps people travel and discover new breweries throughout the year.

At HopPlotter we love finding beer enthusiasts who share our love for travel and mapping taps. The Travelling Pint aims to share beer stories from the road and inspire you to follow your dreams, help you to discover cool breweries in whatever area you are traveling and of course to entertain you along the way.

Just look at how many breweries there are for you to visit in Toronto alone.

Our Q & A Session:

HopPlotter: What's the last beer you had?

Tiff: Miami Weiss by Great Lakes Brewing.

HopPlotter: Have you ever traveled a long distance to get your hands on a special release?

Tiff: Yes, we travelled to Burlington, Vermont last summer for 10 days and waited in line for a case of Heady Topper by The Alchemist. Arriving at 8am and being 4th in line I was fortunate to receive a whole case and this did lead to some epic trades and new beer friends back in Canada. People were actually reaching out across Canada & the US for a can, it was wild!

Sawdust City Brewing

HopPlotter: Do you have a favorite brewery in Ontario?

Tiff: Sawdust City in Gravenhurst, ON holds a special place in my heart with a variety of solid beers to a great tap room to visit while in cottage country. Mind you I could list off a lot of breweries that are making great brews across the province. I guess you could say my favourite rotates with my drinking mood.

HopPlotter: What’s a fact about Ontario that you don’t think many people know?

Tiff: There has been a huge growth in independent breweries in the last two years and despite Ontario's strict beer laws compared to other parts of canada we are not shy on breweries to visit and enjoy. We also host Canada's first Teaching Brewery located at Niagara College’s beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake campus. If only they had that when I was younger...

Big Rig Brewery in Ottawa
Big Rig Brewery in Ottawa, ON

HopPlotter: What city would you pinpoint as the epicenter of the craft beer scene in Canada?

Tiff: Many people in Ontario would suggest Toronto but I would like to shed light on Ottawa as they have a lot of rad things going on there and of course if you look out west to British Columbia they cleaned up a lot of awards at the Canadian Brewing Awards this year and continue to bring a lot of good beers to the plate. I wish I could get my hands on more of BC's beer.

We can’t believe the number of breweries popping up in Canada's capital city

HopPlotter: What do people from Ontario think in general about craft beer?

Tiff: We LOVE it and are stoked about the growth the industry is currently experiencing.

Ottawa City View
Ottawa, Ontario City View

HopPlotter: Are hops grown in some places in Canada?

Tiff: There are hop yards in warmer parts of Canada most commonly in south western Ontario and B.C. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs estimates there are currently 339 acres of hops being farmed in Canada. Two years ago, there were only 255 acres.

HopPlotter: What does beer tourism typically look like in Canada?

Tiff: It is similar to the U.S. as far as breweries having a taproom to enjoy the beer and a retail to purchase the beer to take home. Also brewpubs are starting to pop up more.

HopPlotter: I've heard Toronto specifically is experiencing a huge and sudden craft beer boom. Can you elaborate on that?

Tiff: Yes Toronto is booming and breweries seem to be popping up faster than I can keep up with. I'd say there is some tough competition as well as a lot of Toronto breweries are making really good beer. In addition to all the breweries there are a ton of decent craft beer bars too that exclusively sell craft beer, it's a beautiful thing.

Amsterdam BrewHouse

HopPlotter: Who are the biggest players in the Canadian craft beer market?

Tiff: Beau's, Great Lakes Brewing, Amsterdam, Wellington. Those are a few of the larger, independent breweries.

HopPlotter: What styles are all the rage in Ontario?

Tiff: We seem to ride on the coat tail trends of the USA but right now sours are picking up popularity and hazy/milkshake IPAs are all the rage.

HopPlotter: As you travel to different parts of Canada can you notice that different styles tend to be popular within the different major cities/provinces?

Tiff: Yes, the west coast is always a go to for their piney IPA's and Quebec stands out in the Belgian style beers. Depending on individual city sometimes the local brewery will have to cater a bit to the community's taste buds.

HopPlotter: Any additional information that you want our readers to know?

Tiff: There is some nice focus in Ontario of breweries showing an interest in only using Canadian ingredients. So they are sourcing hops, malt and what they can for yeast strains locally. It is great to create more for the economy and help the craft beer industry continue to climb in several directions.

MacKinnon Brothers Brewing Company

The Travelling Pint firmly believes that exploring craft beer brings you closer to amazing friends, communities and experiences that both fuel great conversations, build community and lead to a ton of good times and we could not agree more.

We hope we convinced you to plan your next HopPlotter brewery trip to Ontario, Canada. Summer is still going strong and it’s the perfect time to go and explore the craft beer scene there!

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