Try these brewed-in-B.C.winter sippers this holiday season
It’s that time of year: people are looking for a beer that they can sip on while curled up on the couch, watching the snow (or rain) come down. “As soon as the weather turns to dark and rainy, people definitely crave cozy darker beer styles,” says Josh McLaughlin, the lucky man who controls the beer taps at Langley’s Barley Merchant. “I think once winter officially hits, people will be looking for classic winter ales as well as stronger and interesting flavours to stand out from the crowd.”
Weird and wonderful seasonals like Moon Under Water’s Candy Cane Dunkel or Storm’s Turkey Dinner IPA are always fun to try. However, you can’t beat a traditional winter sipper: full-bodied dark beers with notes of dark fruit, chocolate, and coffee. This year we can look forward to these classics but also some with Belgian tweaks, like wild yeasts and barrel-aging. You should also keep an eye out for double and triple IPAs, hop-forward seasonals whose creamy mouthfeel and high ABV make them a perfect dessert after a holiday meal.
Below is a selection of special winter beer releases from some of your favourite B.C. breweries. There’s something for everyone!
Driftwood Brewing (Victoria) has two winter releases, taking both Belgian and English influences. The Abyssus Kriek Style Cherry Sour has notes of tart cherry, oak, and some wild funk, while their approachable American Brown Ale balances an English malt-forward profile with Northwest hops.
Deadfall Brewing (Prince George), whose Basal Brown Ale just won the Canada Beer Cup, are releasing their popular dark mild and Baltic porter for the winter season. They’re also planning a special Brettanomyces IPA.
R&B Brewing (Vancouver) is covering all its bases with a pastry stout, a chestnut brown ale, a Golden Strong Belgian ale, a Winter Warmer (this is a tweaked version of its “Old Nick” winter ale), and even a Double IPA inspired by Pliny the Elder.
Hoyne Brewing (Victoria) has a Czech Dark Lager and “Gratitude”, their Winter Warmer, on shelves for the holiday season. You can grab these in the Hoyne holiday mix pack.
Dageraad Brewing (Burnaby) is releasing the 10th iteration of its holiday golden ale, Anno, brewed with pears, coriander, and Brettanomyces yeast. “It’s something special to drink at Christmas dinner, or to pop on New Years Eve,” says brewmaster Ben Coli.
At Cannery Brewing (Penticton) you can find both the regular and barrel-aged versions of its Kindling Imperial Stout, full of coffee, chocolate, and coconut flavours. Their Heist Maple Stout and Darkling Oatmeal Stout will also be returning for the holidays.
Main Street Brewing (Vancouver) has a bourbon barrel-aged German porter brewed with Brettanomyces. Woodsy and wild, with chocolatey goodness, it’s a great winter treat.
View this post on Instagram
Locality Brewing (Langley) has collaborated with Barn Owl Brewing (Kelowna) to brew a Dirty Chai Milk Stout called Wonderland. They’re also releasing the “Happy Place” Belgian Strong Dark Ale, their take on a figgy pudding.
Superflux (Vancouver) has some delectable IPAs this season – namely, the Primodelecto DIPA and the PUG IPA with Bellwoods, but they also have 3 stouts in time for winter: Cookies and Cream Imperial Stout, Little Dry Stout, and their highly anticipated new Indulgeousness Imperial Stout, this one with Coffee Crisp flavours.
Strange Fellows (Vancouver) has some tasty dark beers available this winter: a barrel-aged porter and Imperial IPA (Velvet and Boris, respectively), and their classic Nocturnum Dark IPA. And of course their classic Krampus Dubbel will be making its appearance before Christmas!
Four Winds (Delta) has released their porter and Boreas Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout for autumn, but some new seasonals will be arriving shortly: Antithesis, a Czech-style Dark Lager, and a Triple IPA called Weighty. This one is still in development, but it promises to be a juicy hop-bomb with 10% ABV – definitely a holiday sipper!
The BC Beer Awards Brewery of the Year, Twin City (Port Alberni) will be tempting taste buds with its bottle-conditioned Wild Brett version of Dissimulator, a full-bodied Doppelbock. Only 400 bottles will be available, so grab one when you see it!