In the 1820's, Ontario was in that space between the end of the War of 1812 and the unrest of the late 1830s that led to responsible government. In that quarter century, Ontario or what was then called Upper Canada was a bit of a test kitchen for conservative political forces within the British Empire. As much the end of the imperial hand as India, Upper Canada was under a local frontier leadership dubbed the Family Compact but was the temporary home to military officers who had seen the world. There is a good piece in the local paper today about one such officer, Sir Robert Barrie (1774-1841) who was the Commodore of the Navy Dock Yards. He served with George Vancouver in the Pacific and nabbed Bonaparte's brother. Of more particular note for our purposes was his desire to bring that world to Upper Canada and make of his stay here what he could:
“I have some idea of making a small hothouse next year,” Barrie wrote. “Ask George to get me some plans to build from. I want to learn how to contain heat with as little fire as possible. I shall not, I think, build above 25 feet in the clear by 12. A little hothouse would supply us with a variety of vegetables, etc. which we sadly feel the lack of in the Spring, for our Spring is only a few days from hard frost to burning heat.” He was successful, too, and grew six pineapples in his homemade hothouse. Barrie, also, as he stated, “brewed my own ale from the hops of this country—as good ale as ever I drank in England. The Kingston brewers are in arms against me, as I expose their cheats. My very strong ale does not stand me six pence the gallon.”
Is that the first home brewer in Ontario recording himself? Let's be honest, home brewing is a reaction. A reaction to what is otherwise available in the marketplace. But also notice that it is not strong ale that he brews but very strong ale. He is looking to make something with a punch and make it in fine style as only a Georgian pineapplista might. I keep coming across references that indicate that pre-Victorians, pre-temperence folk thought nothing of great big whopping ales - and that anything less was a cheat. Wonder where his records are? Maybe he kept notes.