A Brief History
The two biggest players in the Canada beer market have traditionally been Labatt's and Molson, and although both companies still brew beer in Canada, neither is fully Canadian owned. Since 1995, Labatt's has been foreign owned and Molson has merged to become Molson-Coors. Sleeman - a Guelph-based brewery that became extremely popular in the 1980s and 90s - was bought by Japan's Sapporo Brewery thereby making foreign-based companies responsible for the bulk of Canada's beer production. Today, the largest Canadian-owned beer company is Moosehead, which hails from New Brunswick and offers a number of ales and lagers. On the other side of the country, Kokanee is a popular beer brewed in BC.
MicrobrewsMicrobreweries are prevalent across Canada, especially in British Columbia and Ontario. These breweries, sometimes referred to as "craft" breweries, brew smaller batches of beer for local distribution. Microbreweries have come to represent an alternative, more experimental approach to brewing that does not pander to mass tastes. Beer lovers, when in Canada, should ask the waitress, bartender or beer store clerk for microbrew recommendations.
American vs Canadian BeerCanadians like to crow about the stuff they do better than Americans. Afterall, in Canada, we are for the most part overshadowed by and possibly insecure about our neighbours to the south. One area in which Canada excels is beer production. The consensus among Canadians is that their beer is more full-flavoured and less "watery" than U.S. beer.
Part of Canada's sense of beer superiority has to do with the belief that Canadian beer has a higher alcohol content than American beer. In fact, American and Canadian beers are comparable in alcohol content; however, the way the alcohol is measured in the two countries is different resulting in American beer labels listing a lower number. Both American and Canadian beer have alcohol by volume percentages between 4% and 6% (for every 100 ml of beer, between 4 ml and 6 ml is alcohol).