10 Ontario Pilsners You Need To Try Now | Ontario Culinary
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10 Ontario Pilsners You Need To Try Now

“There’s no such thing as a ‘best beer,’ there’s only a best beer in any given moment.”

– Somebody, at a brewery somewhere

Whether we’re looking at a brewery menu or ranking our favourite Ontario craft beers of any given style, we love a good beer list! And while we certainly enjoy a rich, robust stout or a fruit-forward, assertively hoppy IPA as much as any beer lover out there, let’s take a moment to appreciate a style that’s currently enjoying a bit of a renaissance here in Ontario: the pilsner.

If you ask us, you just can’t beat a well-crafted pils; one that offers a perfect balance of sweet toasted malts and noble hop bitterness, along with a suitably thirst-quenching carbonation and the impossible-to-define “crushability” factor (you know it when you sip it).

The truth is, in Ontario we’re starting to get spoiled with a growing number of high-quality pilsners. In no particular order, here are ten of our favourites.

vim & vigor

Tooth & Nail Brewing Company – Ottawa, ON

Okay, so we said no particular order, but we’re starting this list with Vim & Vigor because it is unquestionably one of the finest pilsners being brewed in Ontario, arguably anywhere. Steeped in Northern German brewing tradition, this one checks all the boxes: clean, crisp, and refreshing. It’s the standard-bearer of quality and an icon of the Ontario craft beer scene, and if you still haven’t tried it, you should aim to fix that real soon.


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SklepnIk v. OcelI

Godspeed Brewery – Toronto, ON

A quick beer lesson: pilsners are in fact lagers, but not all lagers are pilsners. If you’re looking for modern Ontario renditions of either of those styles, then look no further than Godspeed Brewery. Unfiltered and naturally carbonated, Sklepník v. Ocelí is an old pilsen-style lager that’s cold-conditioned (aka lagered) for 7 weeks and gloriously honours the centuries-old brewing traditions behind legendary beers like Pilsner Urquell, from which it draws inspiration. Trust us when we say that history tastes delicious!

Marco Polo Italian Pilsner

Indie Ale House – Toronto, ON

So, what makes a pilsner Italian? Among other factors, the beer is typically lighter in colour and alcohol, and almost always employs dry-hopping, which adds a boost of aromatics to the final product without excessive bitterness on the palate. Marco Polo is a wonderful lighter-bodied pilsner with a pleasant floral nose and softer mouthfeel. It’s a slightly more delicate version of the crispy, snappy pilsners which makes it a solid choice to quench even the most serious thirst.


Fairweather Brewing Company – Hamilton, ON

Not that it’s a competition, but Hamilton’s craft beer scene rivals that of any in Ontario, and the wide variety of amazing beer from Fairweather is a big reason why. Donna pils is a refreshing take on the style that leans into a traditional bready malt profile with grassy noble hop aromatics, but then you get a nice nudge of peppery, spicy hops on the finish for good measure. Make sure you grab a few of these on your next road trip!

Civic Pilsner

Dominion City Brewing Company – Ottawa, ON

Another quick beer lesson: in brewing, the term “unfined” means a brewer removes…the fining process. We’ll try not to get too scientific here, but finings make a beer clearer by providing methods for the yeast to flocculate and settle faster – but in doing so, this often tones down some of the beer’s flavour. So, a beer that is unfined and unfiltered would (in theory) provide the maximum flavour possible. Civic Pilsner is one of those beers and it is tremendous. This should come as no surprise from one of Ottawa’s premier breweries.


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Willibald Farm Distillery & Brewery – Ayr, ON

A great beer named after a cute dog with a photo of said cute dog on the label? Count us in! If that wasn’t enough, as a Feast On Purveyor, Willibald is one of the many growers, producers, suppliers and distributors committed to using Ontario grown and raised products whenever possible, including in their outstanding beer. Fritzi! (you have to say it like you’re calling his name) is dry-hopped with Citra hops, providing a bright, fruity character that’s deliciously unique to this list.

Precipice New Zealand Pilsner

Fine Balance Brewing Company – Kingston, ON

The youngest Ontario craft brewery to make the list, Fine Balance has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting up-and-coming breweries in Eastern Ontario in under two short years. Precipice is where tradition meets innovation, as a German pilsner that is brewed exclusively with New Zealand hops, including the newly developed “HORT9909” hop, a hybrid cross of 3 unique hop varieties. And if you think “HORT9909” is a mouthful, you’d be correct, but then again, so is this beautiful pils. With malt sweetness, light fruity notes and a bitter finish, you might say it strikes a Fine Balance.

Photo credit: Left Field Brewery

Glorioso Italian Pilsner

Left Field Brewery – Toronto, ON

“If you pour it, they will come.” We’re big fans of Left Field Brewery; if not for the baseball-themed everything, then certainly for the fantastic beer, so we’ll call it a home run (ahem). The second Italian pilsner on our list, Glorioso pours a brilliant straw gold and is dry and crisp as the best pilsners should be. It also brings with it elements of citrus fruit, soft floral notes and an almost earthy, herbaceous character. Pairs perfectly with a ball game…on the radio in the backyard of course, as you kick your feet up and enjoy.

Photo credit: Sonnen Hill Brewing


Sonnen Hill Brewing – Caledon, ON

There’s a lot to be said about simplicity! Pils is a crisp, clean, easy-drinking pilsner that delivers just that in both presentation and flavour profile. Sometimes simple is best, and this one has just enough tweaks to take it out of the realm of full-blown tradition, like British hop additions and an above-average carbonation for a spritzy mouthfeel. Come for the Pils, but stick around and try some of Sonnen Hill’s truly unique offerings, like their wine beers, honey saison, spontaneous coolship beer and more!

Jagged Little Pilsner

Stray Dog Brewing Company – Ottawa, ON

We started this list in Ottawa, and that’s where we’ll end it, with this award-winning brew from Stray Dog. Brewed with traditional techniques and ingredients, this is a classic, crispy, crushable pils through and through, one that took home the Gold medal at the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards in the European-style Lager (Pilsner) category. You ought to know that we love wordplay almost as much as we love beer lists, so having Jagged Little Pilsner as the final entry is kind of ironic…don’t ya think?