When I was at school in Montreal , I drank plenty of terrible Boréale on campus, but I knew there had to be better options out there and it would just a matter of me trying out a few to see what suited my taste preferences.
With that in mind, I set myself the task of taste-testing some famous Canadian beers and comparing them to each other to find my new go-to brew to enjoy up at the cottage, on a hot summer's day, or while cheering on the Leafs .
For this test, I went to the LCBO and grabbed some of the most recognizable brands I could find, which ended up being Labatt Blue, Molson Canadian, Mill Street Organic Lager, Steamwhistle, and Alexander Keith's.
Here's how I got on during my boozy journey.
Sarah holding a can of Labatt Blue from the LCBO.
According to the LCBO, this Ontario-produced beverage is made from "the finest Canadian barley malt and selected hops," is the world's best-selling Canadian beer and was named for its label by fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
That's definitely a nice story, but Labatt Blue is not very good, in my opinion. It's very hoppy and has quite a bitter aftertaste. It also is very fizzy and drinks more like a soda than a beer, which I found strange.
It also says it gives notes of light fruit, sweet malt, toasted grain and citrus, which I found to be totally untrue, as it's just all one-note bitterness.
Perhaps there's a reason why this beer is the cheapest out of all the ones I picked up!
Taste: 2/5 (it's not as bad as Boréale, which is why it gets a 2 out of 5 instead of a 1)
Sarah holding a can of Molson Canadian from the LCBO.
Molson Canadian is noticeably better than Labatt and tastes sharper, creamier and overall like it's got a little something extra going on.
The LCBO says the Ontario brew has "delicate floral and barley aromas with notes of citrus, grain and sweet fruit," and while I didn't notice a flowery aroma, it's very barley-forward in a pleasant way.
I do feel like I was getting notes of citrus and fruitiness, and overall, this felt quite medium-bodied and like it wouldn't make me super full the way some beers do.
I'm not sure I'd buy this again given that I preferred other beers more, but I'd happily drink it if it was offered to me for free.
Mill Street Original Organic Lager
Sarah holding a can of Mill Street Original Organic Lager from the LCBO.
Mill Street Original Organic Lager is apparently Ontario's first certified organic lager and the LCBO says it's "crisp, clean and easy-drinking" which I'd have to agree with.
It's very creamy but also has a bit of a snappiness to it which is a pleasant contrast, and I found it to be sweeter than the other beers I tried, but in a very subtle way.
This seems like the kind of beer you drink while you're at the cottage and eating a burger, and I'm into it.
Steam Whistle Premium Pilsner
Sarah holding a can of Steam Whistle Premium Pilsner from the LCBO.
This beer is absolutely crushable, and I love that.
It's not initially very hoppy but has a really pleasantly clean, bitter aftertaste that I enjoyed and it kind of has the yeasty smell that freshly baked bread has.
The LCBO says this Ontario beer is "handcrafted with 4 all-natural ingredients" and that the brewery lives by the motto of "do one thing really, really well."
I think this beer is really nicely balanced, so they do indeed live up to their motto, and I'd buy this again or order this at a bar if given the option.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say that I'd order a Steamwhistle instead of a glass of red wine, depending on my mood!
Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale
Sarah holding a can of Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale from the LCBO.
And for first place, I'm giving the honour to Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale, which is apparently "the pride of Nova Scotia."
Unlike the other beers on this list, I felt like this was very refreshing and had a fuller taste profile. It seems like it'd be equally enjoyable at either a fancy dinner or while sitting around in your underwear, and I love that kind of versatility in my adult beverages.
So there you have it! While I enjoyed Keith's, Steamwhistle and Mill Street, both Labatt Blue and Molson Canadian are not it when it comes to Canadian beers.
Of course, everyone has different preferences, and both Labatt and Molson are on the cheaper end of the spectrum, so depending on your palate or budget, those brews might be the right fit for you.
If you're more of a wine drinker, I also recently checked out some of the cheapest bottles of white you can pick up at the LCBO and found the experience to be a revelation.
If you're looking to get a buzz for under $10 , I highly recommend the Toro Bravo Verdejo Sauvignon Blanc DO La Mancha which comes in at just $9.95. It's a nice crisp white to sip on after a long day and has a lightly citrus taste and a lingering mouth feel after swallowing.
Or you can pick up a few cans of Keith's — you do you!
Narcity does not condone the overconsumption of alcohol. If you're going to drink alcohol, please do so responsibly and only if you're of legal age.
These prices are confirmed at the time of publishing, but they can change at any time. Taxes and fees may not be included.