With July here I am almost certain that many of you will be stocking up on briquettes and beers for the upcoming 4th of July shindigs and hootenannies.  Our nation’s birthday is always celebrated literally with a bang as the floodgates open and the masses are inundated with so many beer promos it’s difficult to think of much else!

So while you sit and ponder the perfect beers to pair with hot dogs, brats, and your famous macaroni salad, take time to think of our neighbors to the north whose birthday celebration is just a few days before ours!

Canada Day, which is the national day of Canada, is a federal holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act. Frequently referred to as “Canada’s birthday,” particularly in the popular press, the occasion marks the joining of the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Province of Canada into a federation of four provinces (the Province of Canada being divided, in the process, into Ontario and Quebec).

Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as by Canadians internationally.

On a recent trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, I visited Granville Island Brewing. I really have to hand it to our northern neighbors. The staff was incredibly knowledgeable, very eager to share about the beers, and super nice to boot!

Opening in 1984, the Granville Island Brewery was the first microbrewery in Canada. Over the past few years, GIB has won 4 silver medals for 4 different beers at the World Beer Championships, as well as a gold medal in 2011 for their English Bay Pale Ale.

This brewery has indeed earned enough bling to keep the competition shaking like a “leaf!”

Given their distinguished pedigree, I selected one of their beers to include on Blog About Beer in honor of Canada Day.

Maybe I’m stereotyping a bit here but I chose the Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale! This was a delicious beer with an inviting smell and a good smooth taste. Medium to thick bodied with moderate carbonation, this brew had bready notes and molasses up front. The faint maple flavor was very natural tasting and complimented the malty finish of the amber colored cream ale quite well.

Keeping with the theme, I paired this beer with a brick of white cheddar cheese marbled throughout with maple syrup! I found it at the Granville Island Public Market where one can get lost in all of the aisles of meats, cheeses, exotic chocolates, fresh baked baguettes, and a multitude of other delicacies that culturally span the globe.

The cheese was great and the beer was great but I’m not sure if I’d recommend pairing them together. The maple in the cheese was overshadowed by the maple in the beer, so it may be best to enjoy them separately! I’m glad I bought more of this beer for sure, and I shall be returning to this brewery real soon!

Happy Birthday Canada!