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Cooking Beer

Ontario Beer

A Heady History of Brewing from the Great Lakes to the Hudson Bay

by (author) Alan McLeod & Jordan St. John

The History Press
Initial publish date
May 2014
Beer, Food Industry, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2014
    List Price

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Beer historians and writers Alan McLeod and Jordan St. John have tapped the cask of Ontario brewing to bring the complete story to light, from foam to dregs.
Ontario boasts a potent mix of brewing traditions. Wherever Europeans explored, battled, and settled, beer was not far behind, which brought the simple magic of brewing to Ontario in the 1670s. Early Hudson’s Bay Company traders brewed in Canada’s Arctic, and Loyalist refugees brought the craft north in the 1780s. Early 1900s temperance activists drove the industry largely underground but couldn’t dry up the quest to quench Ontarians’ thirst. The heavy regulation that replaced prohibition centralized surviving breweries. Today, independent breweries are booming and writing their own chapters in the Ontario beer story. 

About the authors

Alan McLeod has been writing about beer for more than a decade. He lives with his family in Kingston, Ontario, where he practices law. Through his work, he has explored the heritage and history of his corner of Ontario. Alan is one of the founders of the Albany Ale Project, a collaboration that explores the roots of Ontario’s New York Loyalist traditions through the lens of a beer glass.

Alan McLeod's profile page

Jordan St. John was the National Beer Columnist for Sun Media from 2011 to 2015, and currently writes under his own banner at He is the author of three books, including the award-nominated Lost Breweries of Toronto. Jordan is a Certified Cicerone and periodically collaborates with brewers around Ontario. He lives in Toronto.

Jordan St. John's profile page

Editorial Reviews

…an excellent introduction to the subject.

Grab a bottle of your favourite beer and raise a toast to both of these interesting books. 

Canada's History Magazine

…a history of brewing in the province is a timely theme {and} McLeod and St. John have done a masterful job in telling the story.

Niagara Falls Review

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