Sanagan’s Summertime Beer Simplifier Guide

Remember when wine was hard and beer was easy? Not anymore. With all those craft brews and imports on the shelf, your head’s spinning even before you’ve had a drink. But have no beer-fear, your roadmap to Six Pack City is here — behold Sanagan’s Summertime Beer Simplifier Guide. Let’s go to the hops!

The S.S.B.S.G. is, by its very nature, a reductionist document, so beer geeks please forgive its necessary generalizations and omissions. Brands are cited, in part, based on their availability and existing recognition factor.   


LAGERS, PILSNERS, HELLES: Originating in Bavaria and now the most popular style in the world. These are going to be pale yellow or golden in colour, emphasizing thirst-quenching balance between hops and malts. Examples: Creemore Lager, Pilsner Urquell, Collingwood Rockwell Pilsner, Amsterdamn 3 Speed Lager. There are also stronger and darker lagers like Bocks and Dunkels.


From the sprightly to the syrupy, this wide-ranging category is united only b itsy top-fermenting yeasts. So here’s a very brief breakdown of ale, what’s good for you.

IPA’S: Big flavours. Piney, grapefruity, often higher alcohol. Muskoka Mad Tom, Beau’s Full Time

PALE ALE: Less hoppy than IPA but still assertive. Sierra Nevada, Junction Conductor

ENGLISH STYLE: A mellow affair. A little darker, touch of fruitiness and sometimes lower alcohol. Henderson’s Best, Fuller’s London Pride

STOUTS AND PORTERS: Very dark, almost black. Coffee and chocolate flavours but not sweet. Guinness, Railway City Black Coal

BELGIAN STYLE: Too diverse to summarize but try the Trappist Ales for yeasty, boozy, fruity, mouth-fillers. Westmalle Dubbel


A hazy beer that derives its fruity-clovey character from its charismatic yeast. Very adaptable with food pairings. Hoegaarden, Side Launch


Originally from Belgium but now popular as an anything-goes New World craft style. Often dry, fruity, expressive. Niagara Oast House. Or Belgium’s Dupont (if you can ever find it).  


Another Belgian original enthusiastically embraced by the craft movement. Think sourdough bread but only in a beer, and usually more sour. Sometimes complex, sometimes an acquired taste. Muskoka Ebb and Flow, Bench Brewing Simcoe Grove


Lagers mixed with citrus flavours. Currently very popular and undoubtedly useful on hot summer afternoons.  Ace Hill, Schofferhofer Grapefruit


Beer’s cold, it’s made mostly of water and is full of bubbles; it’s going to go well with everything. But if you want to narrow things down — think lighter beers like lagers, wheat’s and some session ales with lighter foods and heavier more alcoholic ales like pale ales and IPAs with heavier dishes. Here’s some free association beer pairings to inspire your desire.

Dry Age Burgers + Lager = Cannonballs off the dock

Sanagan’s All-Beef Hot Dogs + Radlers = Happy birthday to you

House-made Cold Pork Pie + Stout = Premier League

Sanagan’s Grilled Jerk Chicken + Pale Ale = Late nights on the back deck

Sanagans Salads + Saison = Tiff Lightbox Pregame 

Bag Of Chips + Pabst Blue Ribbon = Nothing wrong with that

Dried Chorizo + Sour Beer = Modern jazz

House-made Sausage + British Ale = “Maybe a little mustard with that?”

Charcuterie Board + Wheat Beer = Fancy dress picnics

Sanagan’s Cuban Marinade Bavette + IPA = “Burp”

Sanagan’s Teriyake Short Ribs + Belgian Ale = Sticky fingers

Big Juicy Steak + Any Of The Above =  Sanagan-tastic!


Maybe it’s not just a coincidence that both of our Sanagan’s locations are within stumbling distance of great local craft brewers. Our Baldwin shop is well served by Kensington Brewery Company’s flagship Fisheye P.A. and our Gerrard location is within a pork chop throw of the cerebral Godspeed You Brewery. If you want to drink like you work at Sanagan’s visit their bottle shops. 

Salad Days Are Here Again

By: Anne Hynes

One of the best parts of summer is all the amazing fresh produce available in Ontario. A great way to make the most of nature's bounty is with salad. Salad need not be limited to lettuce leaves in a bowl – it can include cooked vegetables, grains, pickles, or meat and can be served hot, cold or room temperature, and it can be served morning, noon or night (think fruit salad at breakfast!)  Because salad is such a diverse and creative medium, I would argue the element that really makes a salad a cohesive dish is the dressing.

Although I love a creamy dressing, my usual go to for salad is a vinaigrette.  Vinaigrette is so easy to make and so versatile. As long as there is some in the fridge, there really is no excuse to not whip up a salad. But, why stop there? Try using vinaigrette on warm grilled vegetables at your next barbeque. How about using vinaigrette on some blanched green beans with cooked mini potatoes and fresh herbs at your next picnic? Why not drizzle some vinaigrette over slices of tomatoes and cucumber with thinly sliced red onion and torn basil for your next dinner party? You can even use vinaigrette to dress some good quality canned tuna and then simply add some finely chopped Vidalia onion and pickles for a lighter tuna salad – the sky really is the limit!

Making vinaigrette is quite simple. The trickiest part is making an emulsion, which is why most vinaigrettes contain Dijon mustard.  The following recipe is a base. Feel free to play with it by adding honey or finely chopped shallot or different flavours of vinegar, mustard and even oils. Or, try a bottle of our new Sanagan's House Vinaigrette, which is available at both the Kensington and Gerrard stores – you really can't get simpler than that!  

Basic Vinaigrette
yield: about ½ cup


3 tbsp                    lemon juice or 2 tbsp vinegar, like apple cider or white wine
2 tsp                      Dijon mustard
¼ cup                    olive oil*
¼ cup                    canola or grapeseed oil
¼ tsp                     salt
to taste                 freshly cracked black pepper

Optional Ideas: 

2 tbsp                    minced shallot
1 tbsp                    honey
1 tsp                      fresh chopped herbs, like thyme
¼ clove                 garlic, minced


Mix vinegar, mustard, and salt in a small bowl. If using any of the optional ingredients, add them at this step.

Gradually whisk in the olive oil, followed by the canola oil. 

Season with pepper. Taste to adjust seasoning.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to fourteen days. If separation occurs, shake well before using.

*Olive oil can be bitter and overpowering if used as the sole oil in vinaigrette, which is why this recipe also calls for mild tasting oil like canola or grapeseed.