City Living · Drinks

10 Local Beers for Patio Season

I’m unapologetically Canadian which means I love hockey, beer and patios. Okay, I’m really over-simplifying and by no means do all Canadians love those three things but the stereotype is certainly true when it comes to me… I really do love them all three. And if I could, I’d put them all together but since that’s generally not the case (especially watching my favourite hockey team on a patio as they haven’t made the playoffs regularly in years), let’s talk about my current favourite local beers to drink on a patio in the summer.

First, by local I mean brewed in Ontario. Most of the beers below are from Toronto breweries but there are a couple from surrounding cities, like The Publican House Brewery which is in my university/college city (I went to both for different degrees/diplomas) of Peterborough. All, however, can easily be bought at the LCBO (well, if you’re in Ontario, or at least Toronto that is) as that’s where I bought them.

Without further ado, here are the 10 beers that have become my summer favs this year.

Sweetwater Squeeze Radler
Sweetwater Squeeze Radler

Sweetwater Squeeze Radler (Amsterdam Brewery)

Cost: $2.85
Type: Juice beer
Colour: Pale orange
Flavour: Like a beet mimosa
Verdict: Love it! It’s a perfect summer drink for relaxing on a patio in the sun or chilling on the dock at the cottage. While not really a beer, it’s a juice-beer combo, it’s lovely and definitely one I’d buy again.

Lemon Tea Beer
Lemon Tea Beer

Mill Street Lemon Tea

Cost: $2.90
Type: Wheat beer
Colour: Light amber
Flavour: Lighter than I normally drink but refreshing on a hot summer day. Hint of lemon, which makes sense when one looks at the name. The taste of tea is very subtle, lovely but subtle. I suspect if one didn’t know it was there or didn’t drink a lot of tea, it would be hard to distinguish.
Verdict: A good cottage beer for relaxing on the dock, light and refreshing, but with just a hint of complexity.

Naughty Neighbour
Naughty Neighbour

Naughty Neighbour

Cost: $2.85
Type: American Pale Ale
Colour: Gold
Flavour: Starts with a hint of citrus before running across your tongue with a bold yet smooth taste. Sounds poetic? Blame the fun name, it inspired me but seriously, it’s a nice ale that flavourful yet smooth with a pleasant crisp feel.
Verdict: I’ll be the first to admit that I bought it for the name – Naughty Neighbors – how could I not? But it was the taste and crisp cleanness that will make me buy it again. Would go well with spicy food or BBQ.

100th Meridian
100th Meridian

Mill Street 100th Meridian

Cost: $2.95
Type: Organic Amber Lager
Colour: Pale amber
Flavour: Lighter than most other amber beers I’ve tried, it’s a nice summer beer. Light and refreshing but not bland.
Verdict: Easy to drink, it goes down smooth without a lot of excess carbonation or aftertaste. Just a nice lager.

Brakeman's Session Ale
Brakeman’s Session Ale

Brakeman Session Ale

Cost: $2.85
Type: Ale
Colour: dark gold
Flavour: A nice, solid ale without being bitter. I’m no beer expert but it would go well with spicy food or BBQ.
Verdict: A nice ale for your next summer BBQ.


Boneshaker (Amsterdam Brewery)

Cost: $3.00
Type: Unfiltered India Pale Ale
Colour: Dark amber
Flavour: Surprisingly mild for an ale, nutty and smooth.
Verdict: I liked it. It was refreshing and with enough flavour to stand up to spicy foods or BBQ meat (two of my favourite foods) but still mild enough not to overpower them.

Side Launch Wheat
Side Launch Wheat

Side Launch Wheat

Cost: $2.70
Type: Wheat beer
Colour: Cloudy pale gold
Flavour: Like a beer smoothie. Seriously. It tastes like beer mixed with banana and orange, not that I have ever done that but… yep, a beer smoothie.
Verdict: Interesting, I would buy it again as the flavour intrigues me. Not my normal thing but nice.

Wellington S.P.A
Wellington S.P.A

Wellington S.P.A

Cost: $2.75
Type: Special Pale Ale
Colour: Warm dark amber
Flavour: Solid ale, full-flavoured but not bitter, smooth.
Verdict: Nice, not just for the summer but a good ale that would work year round.

Grind Stone Amber Ale
Grind Stone Amber Ale

Broadhead Grind Stone Amber Ale

Cost: $2.85
Type: Amber ale
Colour: Amber
Flavour: Slightly sweet, mild and smooth ale with hints of caramel and vanilla.
Verdict: Very smooth and easy to drink. I’d definitely buy it again and think I’d pair it with mild cheeses, chicken and summer salads.

Square Nail
Square Nail

Square Nail Pale Ale (The Publican House Brewery)

Cost: $2.80
Type: Pale ale
Colour: Dark gold
Flavour: Strong, slightly bitter with hints of caramel. It’s a pint that you’ll still want to drink in the fall.
Verdict: A nice ale with flavour and an interesting name. I’ll be the first to admit that I bought it as I recognize the brewery (I went to both university and college in Peterborough and spent a bit of time in the pub that used to be housed where the Publican House Brewery is now.) but the ale has enough complexity of flavour that I’d buy it again.

Final Thoughts

While these are by no means the only good beers out there, they are 10 definitely ones I’ve enjoyed this summer while relaxing on my patio. This was one of the most interesting, and fun, post to research – even if it did take me almost 3 weeks. So my charge to you, go out and explore the local beer available in your area! I sure had fun doing so and found some new favs. And to be honest, I’m still trying new ones… Ontario has a lot of great beer to explore!

And while you’re exploring your local beer, I’d love to hear your summer beer recommendations so please leave me a comment!


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