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Twelve Winter Ales: Warm your holiday season with BC Craft Beer

I’ve learned that when looking for a special beer to give as a gift or take to a holiday party, it’s generally not a good idea to bring out the huge bourbon barrel-aged barley wines and imperial stouts. Sure, I think they are the apex of beer, but I understand that they are a bit of an acquired taste.

To avoid challenging peoples’ palates and receiving confused and slightly disgusted looks, check out this list of 12 winter beers that all of your friends and family are sure to love this holiday season.

Check back soon when I’ll be posting a list of 12 massive BC winter beers for the extreme beer lover in your life. For more gift ideas, check out this year’s What’s Brewing BC Craft Beer Holiday Gift guide.

Dageraad—Anno 2018 (8.5%)

This Belgian-style golden strong ale was brewed at the end of summer with freshly harvested pears, then bottle conditioned with Brett C. They also added a small amount of Indian coriander for a spicy/citrus note.

Drinking a bottle of Anno at Christmas or New Years is a modern tradition for many BC beer fans.

Boombox—Midnight Train (8.3%)

Midnight Train is a stout brewed with oat flakes, lactose, milk sugar, and cocoa powder. It was then conditioned on a massive amount of coconut, and espresso beans.

It tastes like creamy milk chocolate and espresso. So good!

Townsite—Bier D’Hiver (7.5%)

Biere D’hiver is a Belgian-style Dubbel brewed with handmade Belgian Candi sugar.

It has rich notes of plums, currants, and caramel, with a touch of sweetness from the candi sugar and a warming alcohol finish.

Strange Fellows—Krampus 8.5%

Celebrating the strange European folklore character of the same name, Krampusis a Belgian-style dubbel brewed with Belgian candi sugar and dark malts.

It is rich, malty, and warming, with hints of chocolate, cherry, and toffee.

Steel & Oak—Nightcap (6.1%)

Nightcap was brewed with orange peel, pilsner malt, wheat, and rye, then conditioned on cranberries to create a beer made for sipping front of the fire this holiday season.

Fermented with Belgian yeast it finishes with a touch of spice and a subtle tartness.

Yellow Dog—Rye & Ginger Beer (5.7%)

This refreshing winter ale is brewed with rye malt and fresh ginger to mimic the classic holiday cocktail.

Partial proceeds go to Share Family And Community Services Society so you’ll be helping a good cause while drinking!

Mount Arrowsmith—Brix and Plato (7.5%)

Brix and Plato is a Belgian dubbel that was aged with Shiraz-steeped Oak staves and brewed with cocoa nibs and orange peel.

It has bright notes of orange with a rich undertone of chocolate and a little oak. It’s like a classy Terry’s Chocolate Orange!

Hoyne—Gratitude (9.0%)

Gratitude is a full-bodied, strong amber ale that is spiced with clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

This is a Victoria winter staple, and with good reason. It is perfect for drinking in front of the fire (or fire channel) on a cold winter night.

Moon Under Water—Oranje Maan (8.2%)

Orange Maan is an imperial witbier fermented with Mandarin orange.

This bright and refreshing beer has rich notes of orange peel and clove with a warming alcohol finish. It tastes like Christmas!

Parkside—Attack of the Cherry Stout (8.3%)

Attack of the Cherry Stout is a medium-bodied stout with flavours of sweet coffee and dark chocolate, plus a blend of sweet, dark, and red sour cherries.

It’s verging on an imperial, but still tastes quite light and fruity.


Blitzen is a winter ale brewed as a tribute to the Belgian Tripel.

It has apple and citrus aromas along with a toasted malt character. While it’s 9%, it is deceptively easy drinking, so watch out for that!

Bridge—The Grinch (6.5%)

The Grinch is a rich winter warmer with notes of caramel, treacle, plum pudding, piney New Zealand hops, and some soft Christmas spices.

Bridge does some really good winter beers. Their Santa’s Sac and Sleigh Boosterare also great!

Ed Kaye

Ed "The Beer Geek" Kaye is the author of "Bring Your Porter to the Slaughter", one of BC's very best beer blogs. He's also an Associate Editor of What's Brewing, handling the weekly Hopline e-news and Upcoming Exbeeriences events column.

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