Christmas is almost here, and let’s be honest, no one is getting you what you really want. You’re an adult now, so it’s up to you to treat yo ‘self.
Thankfully, December is the time when many breweries release their limited edition year-end specialty brews. They are often dark, barrel-aged, warming with a high alcoholic content, and perfect for cold winter nights.
All of these cellar dwellers are happy to mature in the bottle in a dark, dry corner until a special occasion presents itself. Or just crack them right now, I’m not the boss of you. You’re an adult, after all, you get to do whatever the hell you want (within reason, of course).
Here’s five of my favourite recent releases to consider if you are looking to splurge and spoil yourself. Because, let’s face it, nobody else will do it for you.
Red Collar Black Dog Quad • Belgian-style Quadrupel • 11.69% ABV, 35 IBU • $11.50, 650mL (brewery direct and private liquor stores)
This dog has got some bite! At just shy of 12%, Red Collar’s Black Dog Quad is a warm companion on a three-dog night. As the name suggests, it pours inky black, with sweet, malty molasses on the nose, reminiscent of barleywine. Decanting is recommended, as it will reveal flavours of raisin and fig, bringing to mind a tawny port.
Dageraad Anno 2016 • Belgian-style Strong Ale • 8.5 % ABV • $11.30, 750mL (brewery direct and private liquor stores)
I think we can all agree that 2016 has been a goddamn travesty of a year and the sooner it’s over, the better. However, if there’s a silver lining, it’s that this year has been fantastic for B.C. beer. Case in point, Dageraad’s Anno 2016. Golden and opaque with spicy fruit flavours right up front thanks to Keremeos pears and Indian coriander, balanced by a refreshing dry finish.
Strange Fellows Reynard • Flemish-style Brown Ale • 6.5% ABV • $18.50, 750mL (brewery direct, and private liquor stores)
It’s easy to see why Reynard won gold for Best European Sour Ale at the B.C. Beer Awards this year. This sour oud bruin pours a deep reddish brown with an earthy nose and characteristic Brett funk. Tart cherries and oak dominate, with the sour acidity providing a dry finish to this surprisingly light-bodied beer. Reynard is aged for a year in French oak barrels, imparting a woody character without overwhelming it with tannins.
Steel & Oak En Blanc • Barleywine • 10.0% ABV, 15 IBU • $12.00, 650mL (brewery direct and private liquor stores)
Aged for the past year in Chardonnay barrels, En Blanc lacks the astringency of its sibling, En Rouge, which was aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. Viscous and warming, it pours dark and smells of molasses, with flavours of woody bourbon, vanilla, and dried fruit. Despite this, it finishes cleanly, as its sweetness never overstays its welcome.
Central City Sour III – Framboise Sour • Belgian-style Sour Red Ale • 9.5% ABV, 15 IBU • $23.05, 750mL (brewery direct and private liquor stores)
The third in Central City’s phenomenal sour series, the Framboise Sour was aged for two years in Cabernet oak barrels, then French oak, resulting in a wonderfully tart, tannin-rich gem of a beer. Fermented with an infusion of raspberries, this rich and earthy sour is very lightly carbonated, and finishes with mild sweetness and an acidic snap.
• All prices include applicable taxes and deposit.