Shopping Cart

Brew North

How Canadians Made Beer and Beer Made Canada

Regular price $24.95
  • Sold Out! - Paperback / softback
  • ISBN: 9781553654674
  • Tags: Food & Drink, Ian Coutts,
  • Dimensions: 8 x 10
  • Published On: 08/09/2010
  • 184 Pages

An intoxicating illustrated history of Canadians' love affair with beer.

Brew North tells the delightful story of our national beverage, from New France and the British conquest, through Prohibition and the beer parlour era, and right up to the rise of the microbreweries. Lively and informative, Brew North puts beer lovers front and centre. Whether they are cowboys quaffing India pale ale in a western saloon, flannel-shirted working stiffs swilling Cinquante from brown "stubbies" in Montreal taverns, or modern-day beer snobs sipping pints of caskbrewed bitter and commenting on its "chocolate and cigar box bass notes," this is the story of the men-and women-who brewed, served, and drank our national beverage. Brew North doesn't just tell this story, it shows it. Early illustrations of rustic taverns and Victorian photographs of opulent saloons are combined with fantastic advertisements, giveaways, and gewgaws brewers have long used to market their product. It's all here, from fussy Victoriana to fifties kitsch to today's sophisticated ad campaigns. Now the classic era of Canadian beer is ending; brewery giants Molson, Labatt, and Sleeman are in foreign hands. At the same time, more small brewers are producing more interesting beers. A new golden age? Brew North arrives at a key moment to chronicle where beer has been and point to where it is going.

Ian Coutts is the author of several books, including Brew North: How Canadians Made Beer and Beer Made Canada. He lives in Kingston, Ontario, and Merida, Mexico.


"Brew North is an industry thing, with stories of brewers and businessmen, starting from New France days through to modern microbreweries. It is lavishly illustrated with ads and labels from the past, with a great deal of colour . . . While the illustrations make it a fun book, there is a serious bibliography for further reading and a useful index." -Wine & Food Book Review

"Brew North is a compelling, detailed look at just how Canada's beer industry became the way it is. Ian Coutts has done a lot of hard digging, and it shows." -Josh Rubin

"Coutts' book traces the evolution of our national beverage, starting in New France. Dozens of lively images depict vintage advertisements, black-and-white photographs and numerous samples of breweriana, making it a breezy account of Canadian history that also happens to chronicle the rise of capitalism." -Ottawa Citizen

"Coutts has a conversational, casual writing style that makes this a breeze of a read, something you could probably whip through in the space of a couple of six-packs. He's included lots of great historical images and has special sub-sections . . . [and he] does a great job of showing us just why our beer and brewing culture is different than that of our neighbours to the south . . . Brew North is a fascinating, fact-filled look at beer through a Cancon lens. From stubbies to spruce beer, this book is packed with impress-your-friends kinds of facts." -Monday Magazine

"An insightful history of Canadian brewing, which in many ways is a history of the country itself." -Stephen Beaumont

"As Ian Coutts reminds us, Canada's love affair with the foamy nectar is as old as the country, and any self-respecting history needs to take account of that intimacy. In this delightful but serious-minded work . . . Coutts takes us from the days of smelly, stale, men-only beer parlours to the yuppie-sanctioned brew pubs and micro-breweries of today . . . Wonderfully illustrated with period photographs, ads and beer labels." -Globe & Mail

"As a piece of entertaining history, [Brew North] is top-notch, but the real gold is in the wealth of archival images, covering all manner of Canadian life." -Toro Magazine

"Coax him through the craft brew portal by appealing to that sense of nostalgia for the days when good beer was common. Prime the pump with a colourful romp through Canada's brewing history. Ian Coutts' Brew North, is recommendable solely for its impressive photos of vintage beer logos." -National Post