A closer look at lactose laden Ontario craft beers | Ontario Culinary
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A closer look at lactose laden Ontario craft beers

When it comes to craft beer, we’re always excited to see (and taste!) new and unique experimental varieties. More and more, we see Ontario microbreweries releasing beers with lactose. Milkshake anyone?

At first, we won’t lie, the concept didn’t sound incredibly appetizing; but you know how much we love to try new things! Turns out, when you add lactose (milk sugar) to the brewing process, it cannot be fermented or broken down by the yeast. This creates an added sweetness and fuller mouth-feel and body to the beer.

We dug a little deeper into this brewing trend and discovered some pretty cool lactose-infused beers. In keeping with the milk theme, we thought what better food to pair these odd-ball brews with than epic Ontario cheeses. Here are the delicious results.

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Photo credits: thornloecheese.ca + beaus.ca


“The Classic” Tom Green Milk Stout from Beau’s All Natural has a complex array of malt character featuring notes of espresso and chocolate. We think the initial dryness and increased body and sweetness in the end pairs well with the full-flavoured earthiness of the Highland Blue from Back Forty Artisan Cheese.


The Smoked Dark Saison from Burdock is nitro-infused with nectarines, cacoa nibs and of course, lactose. It complements similar flavours like nuts, spice and fruit that you find in gouda. Gouda like the Farmstead Gouda from Mountainoak Cheese. Find Mountainoak and other cheesemakers on the Oxford County Cheese Trail.


The exceptional dry hop strength of an IPA like the Green Monster Double Dry Hopped IPA with Lactose, a collaborative brew from Rainhard Brewing Co. and Left Field Brewery, holds up well to the sharpness and intensity of aged cheeses. For this one, we like the Cow Tomme from Monforte Dairy. Find cheeses like this beauty at Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Toronto.  


Don’t let the label fool you. ‘Light beer’ does not mean light on flavour! As an example, The Mango & Passionfruit Gose with lactose and vanilla from Bellwoods Brewery has a fruity tang and subtle salinity that pairs perfectly with the award-winning mozzarella-like La Vaquita Oaxaca from Local Dairy.

These are suggested pairings only! Use your palate and shoot for the stars. Compare and contrast flavour intensities of both products.

Looking for other lactose laden brews? Here are some of our other favorites.

ocbAnd don’t forget to visit the Ontario Craft Brewers to explore more fun beer varieties!