6 cool Canadian breweries

There’s nothing better on a hot summer’s day than a ice cold beer… or two. Instead of heading down to your local LCBO or Beer Store for your beverage — why not go straight to the source to one of the many local breweries. Enjoy a freshly poured pint, learn about the intricate brewing process, or take a tour and learn the history behind a brewery and its beers.

Here are a few breweries that are within driving distance of Mississauga and worth a visit:

Steam Whistle Brewing

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In the heart of Downtown Toronto inside the historic Roundhouse (right across the street from Ripley’s Aquarium), Steam Whistle crafts a singular pilsner beer that’s sold in iconic green cans and bottles. Since its inception in 2000, Steam Whistle’s pilsner remains popular for using only four natural ingredients: hops, yeast, malted barley, and pure spring water with no artificial preservatives. Guided tours of the facility can be booked online and start at $12 per person. While at the brewery, beer (both filtered and the unfiltered, which isn’t available anywhere else) and food — including freshly-baked pretzels and various sandwiches — can be purchased and enjoyed. Both the Steam Whistle brewery and the pilsner have won numerous awards. Most recently, the brewery was selected as a finalist in the Top Indoor Attractions category in Ontario’s Choice Awards 2017.

Amsterdam Brewery

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Founded in 1986, Amsterdam Brewery is responsible for award-winning beers like Blonde Lager, Big Wheel Amber and 3Speed Lager, among other great beers. The Amsterdam BrewHouse is also located in Toronto, next to the Harbourfront Centre. The lakeside brewery offers free tours, guided by brewmasters, that include samples of beer poured straight from the tanks. They last about half an hour and are limited to 16 people. The BrewHouse also features a restaurant, serving dishes made with not just their beer, but also with elements of their brewing process. The brewers collaborated with their chef to create the exciting menu, offering a variety of reasonably-priced burgers, sandwiches, signature bowls and more. Their 3Speed Lager is the 2018 Canadian Brewing Awards winner for silver in the North American Style Lager category

Muskoka Brewery

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Further up north in Bracebridge, is the Muskoka Brewery, which was established in 1996. It’s here that creations like Muskoka Cream Ale, Muskoka Detour IPA or Muskoka Craft Lager are brewed to perfection. Tours of their microbrewery are free and offer an in-depth look into the brewery’s history, brewing process, and a walk through the 40,000 sq ft facility — which includes visits to their quality control lab, bottling and canning lines and the tap room. Their on-site shop features a great selection of specialty beers that can’t be found elsewhere and Muskoka-branded merch/threads.

All or Nothing Brewhouse & Trafalgar Ales, Meads and Distillery

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All or Nothing Brewhouse was founded in 2014, acquiring Trafalgar Ales & Meads, Trafalgar Artisanal Distillery and Black Creek Historic Brewery in 2016, before opening their own brick and mortar operation in Oakville. The company manufactures a line of beers, including All or Nothing Hopfenweisse Ale, Black Creek Rifleman’s Ration Brown Ale and Black Creek Canada 150 Best Bitter among others. On top of the delicious craft beer and mead — the brewery also makes artisanal spirits in its distillery, also located inside the brewhouse. Currently, their distillery holds one of the largest craft stills in Ontario featuring a pot that has a capacity in excess of 5,000 liters. Thirty-minute tours of the brewery and their brewing process are available and include samples and an exclusive branded taster glass. Tickets start at $10 per person and can be bought through their website.

Old Credit Brewing Company

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Located in Mississauga’s very own historic Port Credit is the Old Credit Brewing Company Ltd. Old Credit opened in 1994 and produces a trio of tasty beers — Amber Ale, Pale Pilsner and Holiday Honey —  brewed in small batches with no additives or preservatives for the most flavour. This brewery specializes in making ice beer, which requires a long icing process that takes 8 weeks for the beer to mature at 3.5 degrees below 0. Free tours are available at the brewery but on a first-come, first-served basis (there is no booking spots ahead of time). Here you can discover good beer and meet the good folks who make it without even leaving the city.

Niagara Brewing Company

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Opened in 2015, Niagara Brewing Company sits on a bustling street in Niagara Falls, brewing bold beers only 200 meters away from the famous Falls themselves. The brewery offers Irish Red Ale, Beer Devil IPA and Niagara Premium Lager, which was the 2017 Ontario Brewing Awards silver winner in the Craft Lager category. Why not pair that award-winning beer with artisanal sandwiches, flatbread pizza or cheese boards from the kitchen. You can also catch live entertainment here with musicians performing every Friday night and a variety of other free musical events (check their Facebook for details on who’s playing when). Tours are pricier, starting at $30, and can be arranged by calling: (905) 374-444 ext. 4832.