The best holiday cheer is ice cold beer: 11+ new B.C. brewery releases

Enjoy festive flavours from full-bodied dark ales to creamy eggnog sips this holiday season.

This winter, beer lovers can sip on more than 100+ seasonally-inspired suds, thanks to the talented craft brew crews throughout BC. Featuring unmistakably festive flavours including juniper, cinnamon, cocoa, and eggnog, these wintry beers are often a little darker and stronger, making them well suited for colder, darker days.

Though the list is long (see the BC Ale Trail blog for an expanded list of recommendations), the BC Ale Trail has rounded up some suggestions for ten holiday-themed beers—and one spiced cider—launching this December. Here are the highlights:

Supplied photo

Winter Rations Belgian Quad (9% ABV) by Barkerville Brewing in Quesnel

Strong, bold, and surprisingly smooth, this Belgian Quad pours a reddish-brown hue, with notes of caramel, raisins, and dried fruit.

Quesnel’s Barkerville Brewing can be found on the Northeast BC Ale Trail.


One Eye Shut Media photo

Barrel-Aged Kindling Imperial Stout (10% ABV) by Cannery Brewing in Penticton

The base beer for this special limited release is a big and malty stout brewed with coffee from Seis Cielo Coffee, chocolate, oats, coconut and lactose. Then it was aged in Laird of Fintry Whisky barrels from Okanagan Spirits.

Cannery Brewing can be found on the Penticton Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

Juleøl (6% ABV) by Howl Brewing in North Saanich

This style dates back to the Viking era when farmers were required by law to brew this beer for their farmstead each Christmas. Similar to Sahti and other Scandinavian brews of yore, this full-bodied dark ale was filtered through juniper branches with additions of yarrow.

Howl Brewing can be found on the Victoria Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

Into the Woods Black Forest Imperial Stout (8% ABV) by Locality Brewing in Langley

Like the cake that inspired it, this strong stout has bold chocolate notes balanced with a hint of cherry. Cocoa nibs lend to the rich body of this beer and lactose allows for a smooth mouthfeel to finish off every sip. A wine barrel-aged version (9% ABV) is also available.

Locality Brewing can be found on the Langley Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Ice Cream Stout (6.5% ABV) by Longwood Brewery in Nanaimo

This is a decadent winter delicacy with gobs of sweet chocolate, dollops of vanilla, and so much creamy lactose. South American cacao nibs and pure vanilla extract were added to enhance the rich flavours, from the first sip to the long rich finish.

Longwood Brewery can be found on the Vancouver Island Ale Trail Part II.


Supplied photo

Eggnog Cream Ale (8% ABV) by Moody Ales & Co. in Port Moody

Definitely not your grandma’s nog. Wheat and oat malts create a mouthfeel as pillowy as freshly fallen snow. Sweetened with lactose and vanilla, and warmed with nutmeg, sophisticated notes of dark rum tie up all the flavours in a boozy bow.

Moody Ales & Co. can be found on the Port Moody Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

First Frost Spiced Cider (8% ABV) by Persephone Brewing in Gibsons

Water restrictions forced Persephone to stop brewing for a few weeks this fall — but instead of shutting down entirely, they pivoted to make this cider! A strong brew made with 100% BC apples and a unique blend of winter spices, it’s the perfect pairing for the holiday season.

Persephone Brewing can be found on the Sunshine Coast Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

63 in Dog Years Imperial Czech Pilsner (8.7% ABV) by Three Ranges Brewing in Valemount

Cheers to nine years of brewing at this pioneer Northern BC brewery managed by Rundi Anderson and Michael Lewis. This tasty Bock-ish Imperial Pilsner is a great way to celebrate!

Three Ranges Brewing can be found on the Northeast BC Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

Double Black Diamond Double Dry-Hopped IPA (6% ABV) by Trench Brewing in Prince George

This brew is bone dry with low bitterness, and high carbonation that creates a champagne-like finish on the palate. Dry-hopped with two rounds of Sabro and Idaho Gem hops for a tropical nose with strong notes of lychee and tangerine.

Trench Brewing can be found on the Northwest BC Ale Trail


Supplied photo

Anniversary Winter Warmer (7% ABV) by Wheelhouse Brewing in Prince Rupert

During dark winter days on the northwest coast you can get a chill that goes right to the bone. This anniversary winter ale was brewed with bready malts and English ale yeast, then conditioned on coffee and cocoa nibs for extra holiday spirit — and warmth!

Wheelhouse Brewing can be found on the Northwest BC Ale Trail.


Supplied photo

Lump o’ Coal Dry Irish Stout (4.8% ABV) by Wildeye Brewing in North Vancouver

Wildeye used activated charcoal to add depth and complexity to this bone-dry Irish Stout. It opens up with a dry and traditional feel and then finishes with a malty chocolatey backbone for a fun twist on a true classic.

Wildeye Brewing can be found on Vancouver’s North Shore Ale Trail.

To see the full list of seasonal beer releases and learn where to find them in your neighbourhood, visit the BC Ale Trail blog.

You may also like