Canada offers up unique experiences that you won’t find in any guidebook — you just have to know where to find them. To help you explore like a local, we’ve asked friends from across the country to share their top spots and experiences from the cities they call home. Bundled by interest or passion, consider this your local’s guide to travelling through the country’s vibrant cities and boundless wilderness.
The open air of Canada’s mountain, streams, and prairies isn’t the only fresh things the country has to offer. Canada’s breweries and pubs are world-class watering holes for the best fresh and local craft beer.
33 Acres Brewing Company - Vancouver
Minimalist vibe, maximum taste
After a day of hitting Vancouver’s bustling foodie scene, exploring natural wonders just beyond the city limits, or soaking up a local festival, there’s no better place to unwind than 33 Acres Brewing Company. Featuring minimalist, modern design and a serious obsession with really good beer (like, really, really good beer), 33 Acres Brewing Company is a favourite communal watering hole in happening Mount Pleasant. Locals say the refreshing 33 Acres of Ocean IPA, with hints of pine and grapefruit, embodies the distinct taste of the Pacific Northwest.
Stubborn Goat Gastropub & Beer Garden - Halifax
A harbourside hang tapped with Nova Scotia’s finest brews
Canadians like their beer with a view. Some gourmet food to pair with a craft pint doesn’t hurt either. Halifax’s Stubborn Goat Gastropub, a Nova Scotian favourite, offers both in two locations. The latest, Stubborn Goat’s new waterfront beer garden, offers one of the best views of Halifax Harbour topped off with a menu heavy on local craft beer. Not a bad way to immerse yourself in historic Halifax.
Yukon Brewing Company - Whitehorse
Warm up with a cold one
Go back to 1997 in the Yukon wilderness and you might find two gents sitting around a camp fire under the Northern Lights on a canoe trip, dreaming big. What did this dream result in? A brewery, of course! Yukon Brewing quickly came into fruition after that trip, and now serves delicious craft brews to Whitehorse locals and thirsty travellers. Favourites include the Chilkoot Lager and seasonal offerings like the Longest Night Cascadian Dark Ale. Very clever.
Wild Rose Brewery - Calgary
A fiercely independent craft brewery
Don’t overlook Calgary’s vibrant culture and restaurant scene. The city is having a real local craft beer moment with a dozen microbreweries churning out some of Canada’s tastiest beer. And Calgarians agree that Wild Rose Brewery is one of the best. The spot brews small batch, all-natural beer that echoes the wild and free spirit of the province. Situated on a former military base, Wild Rose’s taproom has been voted Calgary’s favourite brew pub seven years running. Locals recommend booking a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery if you have time.
Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. - Victoria
Where quirky meets craft
Starting from humble means (aka a windowless apartment and a “mountain of credit card debt”), Phillips has made a name for itself both by being an integral part of the Victoria scene and by brewing some of the most interesting beers. Try a classic — like Blue Buck — or opt for a seasonal pleasure – like their Solaris white peach ale. If you’re in Victoria and looking for a taste, stop by for a tour and a sample or hunt them down as a local event, like Rifflandia or their very own festival, the Phillips Backyard Weekender. Look for their quirky labels, as well as their sodas and spirits.
Gahan House - Halifax
Where the community comes together
For a truly immersive Halifax experience, stop by the waterfront Gahan House brew pub. Gahan House’s microbrews are among the city’s favourites and the pub serves as a true local haunt in Halifax’s downtown harbour. Featuring famous ales, radlers, and more, all brewed in-house, Gahan also serves up live music and heavenly gourmet burgers that make for a festive and delicious scene every night of the week.
Barn Hammer Brewing - Winnipeg
First on the scene
Winnipeg’s food scene is exploding, and craft beer is sure to follow. Barn Hammer Brewing is just the first example, establishing itself as the city’s first tap room. Introducing many locals to the concept of craft beer, this brewery serves up enough liquid gold to satisfy everyone from a brew newbie to a seasoned beer connoisseur. Fill up a growler or stop by for a taste. Locals recommend swinging by on one of their Barn Raising nights where drinking beer also takes the form of doing good – Barn Hammer donates proceeds to a local charity.
Last Best Brewing & Distilling - Calgary
Last but not least
Last Best Brewing & Distilling is a true hidden gem and one of Canada’s most unique spots for hyperlocal beer. Calgarians go crazy for the Show Pony Pale Ale and Dirty Bird Black Lager. Last Best also distills its own fine spirits with local ingredients, serving up some pretty heady cocktails on site. Inside the brewpub, you’ll find beautiful industrial decor and a full menu. And if you’re feeling adventurous, locals will let you in on a little secret: Head to the basement and visit Johnny’s Barber + Shop where you can simultaneously enjoy a haircut and a cocktail. It might not be a bad idea to tell Johnny what you want before you imbibe!
Granite Brewery - Toronto
A true neighbourhood brew
It’s not surprising that a family-owned and operated business offers one of the most comfortable places to sip a craft beer. Granite Brewery has been around for 25 years – meaning it hit the scene before most people even knew what craft beer was. Now that the masses are educated when it comes to the delight of local brews, Granite still remains a favourite with its English-style ales. Try one of their 15 seasonal and rotating drafts and grab a seat on one of their two (!) patios for the full big-city experience.
Stillwell Beer Garden - Halifax
Halifax’s newest destination for craft beer
A striking open-air bar in downtown Halifax, Stillwell Beer Garden is the new epicenter for local craft beer enthusiasts and anyone looking to enjoy a night out under the stars. Stillwell might describe themselves simply as “a beer bar,” but the contemporary space lends to a hip, modern aesthetic with delicious snacks and new beers rotating on the taps every day. Halifax might be steeped in history, but Stillwell and other new taphouses prove that the city is constantly reinventing itself. Make sure you plan your visit for clear weather, as Stillwell only opens for clear skies.
No matter where you’re going or what you’re doing in Canada, there’s few better places to unwind and soak up Canadian culture than one of the country’s well-loved breweries or pubs.