This winter, beer lovers can sip on the 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 their blog for an expanded list of recommendations), the BC Ale Trail has rounded up some suggestions for holiday-themed beers — and one spiced cider — launching this December.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.