Critic’s List: Five Canadian Breweries to Know in 2024

Beer writer and critic Stephen Beaumont, co-author of the World Atlas of Beer and a Toronto native, names five Canadian breweries that beer lovers everywhere ought to know, now.

Stephen Beaumont Dec 28, 2023 - 5 min read

Critic’s List: Five Canadian Breweries to Know in 2024 Primary Image

Muddy York

Opened in 2013, northeast Toronto’s Muddy York has somehow managed to grow and prosper in the decade since then while flying more or less under the radar of the city’s booming beer scene. That may be because the brewers prefer to focus on classic styles such as their Gaslight Helles or Muddy York Porter rather than chase trends—or, maybe it’s the brewery’s off-the-beaten-track location. As good as it is, you don’t often hear the southern Ontario beer cognoscenti talking about Muddy York. That should change in 2024, however, as husband-wife team Jeff Manol and Susan Michalek plan to open a second location in the bedroom community of Stouffville, about an hour northeast of the original brewery.

Blind Enthusiasm

Edmonton, Alberta
Even if the minds behind it had been content with their creation in Edmonton’s Richie neighbourhood, Blind Enthusiasm would still be known as one of the better breweries in Alberta’s capital. But they weren’t content, so they built the Monolith. An imposing structure mere blocks from the brewery and its Biera restaurant, the Monolith stands tall as a purpose-built source of spontaneous and mixed-culture beers. Helmed by Doug Checknita, whose experience includes stints at Trou du Diable and Cantillon, the Monolith is a temple of unconventional fermentation, with releases regularly incorporating beers that have spent multiple years in barrels.


Halifax, Nova Scotia
Back in 2013, when Halifax boasted several fine breweries but no proper beer bars, the trio behind Bar Stillwell stepped in to fill the gap with their hospitable public house on Barrington Street. They followed that with the seasonal Stillwell Beergarden, a second bar called the Freehouse, and Stillwell Brewing. They operated the latter out of the back corner of a long-time local brewery, Propeller, but since late 2022 it has its own digs in the north of the city. While partner and driving force Christopher Reynolds was originally inspired by mixed fermentation and barrel aging, the reimagined Stillwell Brewing is all about flavorful, session-strength beers, with a flagship Stilly Pils at 5 percent ABV, Sook grisette at 4.2 percent, and the properly English-style Best Bitter at 4.5 percent.


Vancouver, British Columbia
When they first developed plans to open in east Vancouver, Diana McKenzie and Chris Lay admit they didn’t have a great understanding of what was involved in operating a commercial brewery. So, rather than go it alone, they opened Callister in 2015 as Canada’s first collaborative brewery, inviting other would-be pro brewers to join them via one-year contracts. In this way, they not only got their brewery up and running, but they also helped launch several other local operations, including cult favorite Superflux. Today, Callister is 100 percent focused on its own creations, including some of mainland British Columbia’s only cask-conditioned beers, which make the taproom a destination for lovers of English-style ales.

Messorem Bracitorium

Montreal, Québec
Not every brewery has the audacity to name itself in Latin—the name means Reaper Brewery—but, then again, not every brewery is born of the friendship among three metalhead musicians with a shared love of beer and brewing. Inspired by U.S. breweries such as Grimm, Other Half, and American Solera, the trio opened Messorem in southwest Montreal in August 2019 with a mission to brew the kinds of beers they’d seek out when travelling south of the border. They settled on an abundance of single, double, and triple IPAs, with almost weekly new releases that sell out in minutes or hours rather than days or weeks.