Cottage Country north of Toronto is blessed with a bunch of microbreweries making great beer. Lake of Bays Brewing Company in Baysville, Ontario, halfway between Bracebridge (home of Muskoka Brewery) and Dorset is one of them.

They have been making the Spark House Red Ale, but today we’re talking about another beer, The West Wind Black IPA, inspired by the great Canadian landscape painter Tom Thompson.

An aside – the can was designed in conjunction with the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

Black IPA’s are an acquired taste. A lot of people don’t get the idea of a hop forward black ale. I was lucky to stumble on The West Wind at my local LCBO (sadly they didn’t restock). 

Black IPAs are not a common style of beer in Ontario. It is a strong dark beer that’s not as heavy as a porter or some stouts on the market, and goes down best during the colder months of the year. 

Right off the bat you can taste the toasted wheat, chocolate, caramel and two-row malts. The hops end of the equation is represented by Centennial, Idaho 7 and Cascade, the kind of hops you would see in a run of the mill IPA, sending the IBU up to 90. 

The West Wind is not for the casual beer drinker, but it will reward fans of beers slightly out of the mainstream dual malt and hop taste profile. Sadly it is a limited release beer so finding it will be part of the fun. 


  • ABV: 7%
  • IBU: 90
  • Style: Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Rating: 3.95/5.0
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Bill Smith
Bill Smith is a storyteller, writer, blogger, photography geek, ski bum, explorer and outdoors enthusiast. He has been seen in Toronto, Oakville and off the beaten path. Favourite beers include well-brewed IPAs, brown ales, porters and pale ales.
Bill Smith
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