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What beer to drink on your Ontario getaway

Illustrated grid of pairings. Top row, left to right: amber lager with a Muskoka chair; stout with a green tent; session IPA with tickets to the CNE midway; light lager with the Wawa Goose statue. Bottom row, left to right: dark ale with theatrical comedy-tragedy masks; fruit beer with hiking boots; ice beer with the Big Nickel monument; North American pale ale with a ghost under a magnifying glass.

Explore everything Ontario has to offer this summer, from the Wawa Goose to Muskoka sunsets to Balaclava ghosts and beyond, with the best beer matches

Ontario is yours to discover. That’s not just a slogan; it’s a solid suggestion. Somewhere between James Bay and Pelee Island, there’s a place you’ve always wanted to check out. So why not make this the year?

No matter where you’re headed, why not get into the spirit with suds that really suit your destination? We have 1,000-plus brands, so there are always new brews for you to discover. And with more than 450 Beer Store locations across the province, you can do a beer run wherever you end up.

Here are eight fun Ontario vacation destinations and their delicious brew matches.

Cottaging in Muskoka or the Kawarthas + amber lager

After you’ve checked water-skiing, fishing and dock snoozing off the list, how about a mouth-watering grilled steak? That’s where amber lager comes in. It’s refreshing for hot days, and its malty caramel notes complement those pro-level char marks. While you’re in flavour heaven, you might forget all about the inevitable drive home.

An illustrated glass of amber lager stands next to an illustrated Muskoka chair.

Camping in Algonquin Provincial Park + stout

So, you’ve nailed that final portage, pulled in the canoe, kicked off your hiking boots and started the fire. It’s snacktime! Now’s the moment to kick back with a roasty, toasty stout and watch the sun go down. This brew tastes great with s’mores or whatever else you’ve got cooking in the great outdoors.

An illustrated glass of stout stands next to an illustrated green tent.

Hitting the CNE in Toronto + session IPA

Fancy an apple cheesecake poutine? How about a rainbow funnel cake? The Canadian National Exhibition — “the Ex” to locals — is all about gorging on extreme foods. (And, yes, those are just some of the real offerings!) An India pale ale (IPA) has booming hop and malt flavours that go with big flavours: sweet, salty and spicy. Just make it a lighter-bodied session IPA to keep your tummy happy on the Polar Express (IYKYK).

An illustrated glass of session India pale ale stands next to two illustrated admission tickets for the CNE midway.

Waving at the Wawa Goose + light lager

Road trippers love getting a gander at Wawa’s roadside landmark celebrating the nation’s most famous waterfowl. The Wawa Goose — first erected in 1963 and twice replaced — attracts tourists for a flying visit to the town. And there’s no better way to salute the big, steel bird than with a light-as-a-feather lager.

An illustrated glass of light lager stands next to an illustrated Wawa Goose statue.

Catching a play in Stratford + dark ale

Okay, so all the world isn’t a stage, but all of Stratford pretty much is, thanks to its famous theatre festival. Shakespeare wrote that “a quart of ale is a dish for a king,” and who are we to argue? A malty, not-too-hoppy dark ale is similar to the beer the Bard himself would have enjoyed after a performance.

An illustrated glass of dark ale stands next to an illustrated pair of theatrical drama/comedy masks.

Hiking around the Sleeping Giant near Thunder Bay + fruit beer

First time to Thunder Bay? Get ready, because everyone’s going to tell you to try a Persian. And because that’s a doughnut with pink, berry-flavoured icing, you will. As you unwind from your hike around the Sleeping Giant with this local delicacy, grab a nice fruit beer to really hit the sweet spot.

An illustrated glass of fruit beer stands next to an illustrated pair of hiking boots.

Checking out the Big Nickel in Sudbury + ice beer

Once you’ve got your selfie in front of the mammoth coin, check out Science North, an all-ages destination for science education. While Sudbury is known for mining, it’s also a hub for innovation. Nearby SNOLAB, a physics research facility housed deep in a former nickel mine, put this town on the map for scientists around the world. Once you’ve reached peak geek, raise a toast to your new-found knowledge with another great Canadian innovation: ice beer.

An illustrated glass of ice beer stands next to an illustrated Big Nickel monument.

Looking for ghosts in Balaclava + North American pale ale

Of all the creepy old ghost towns dotted around Ontario, the best known is probably Balaclava in Renfrew County. Its spooky storefronts and sagging old sawmill teemed with life in the early 20th century. Back then, mill workers would quench their thirst with easy-drinking pale ales — which have just a ghostly hint of bitterness. Boo!

An illustrated glass of pale ale stands next to an illustrated ghost underneath a magnifying glass.

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