I get it: we’re university students with Pabst Blue Ribbon budgets. While craft beers, or “microbrews” are alluring, it can sometimes seem a bit extravagant to spend $7 on a beer when you just ate ramen noodles with a side of nothing for dinner. However, I’m here to tell you why you should treat yo’ self once in a while to the delicious experience that is drinking craft beer.
Traditionally, a craft brewery differs from your typical “big name” beer brewers in that it produces a smaller amount of beer. These breweries traditionally pride themselves on offering a TLC take on the beer drinking experience; craft brewing puts the focus on quality rather than quantity, and creativity over cash (a little beer alliteration for you). While the process was initially criticized for what was perceived as hipster elitism, people started realizing that the care put into the creation of their beer made a huge difference to the finished product. Gone were the days of choking down over-carbonated, weak brews; consumers were ready for better options, and that’s exactly what they got.
In Canada, it’s clear that we take the art of beer drinking seriously. While Italy has wine, France has absinthe, and Mexico has tequila, we’ve pretty much locked down beer as our nation’s alcoholic indulgence of choice. In Ontario alone, we’ve contributed significantly to the craft beer game: we’ve got the Muskoka Brewery, which offers unfiltered beer (because, you know, organic). If their light, crisp craft lager doesn’t mentally transport you to a dock in Northern Ontario, I don’t know what will.
Closer to home, we also have the Gananoque Brewing Company, which offers the famous “Naughty Otter” lager. This company describes the brew as being about “relaxing, forgetting the stress of work, recovering from cutting the grass or just unwinding”, and while I’m not sure that cutting the grass qualifies as a stressful activity, any excuse to drink this delicious beer is fine by me. Also, “Naughty Otter” is such an adorably Canadian name that it makes me smile every time I drink it.
Finally, as a gift from the land of skiing and wakeboarding in the same day, we have British Columbia’s Granville Island Brewing Company. Granville is actually Canada’s first microbrewery, and their reputation as one of the best in the biz is demonstrated through their large variety of innovative brews. For the beer-phobic of your friends, Granville’s Raspberry Ale offers a comfortable baby step into the craft beer world. The Irish girl in me also appreciates the “Shamrocker Potato Stout”, which offers aromas of roasted coffee; I can almost imagine my ancestors (who, yes, really were potato farmers) drinking these in a Dublin pub. And finally, for the white girl in all of us, Granville offers “The Pumpkining Pumpkin Ale”. Don’t try to call it basic — we all know you secretly love pumpkin spice latte season.
These brands are great introductions into the world of craft beer, but be sure to try other types as well — the fun comes from experimentation. Although it may cost a few extra bucks, I guarantee you won’t regret giving these brews a try. You can have that Ramen noodle dinner for one more night.
To experience this for yourself, check out the Brooklyn X MUSE.
Nicole Hanley, Online Contributor
Photography: Tiffany Tang