Eight warming winter beers to keep stocked this holiday season
On snowy, sub-zero days, the ideal drink is one that warms you up, inside and out. This year’s batch of seasonal craft beers does the job nicely. They’re bigger, bolder, sweeter and warmer than their summertime counterparts, and laced with festive flavours like cranberry and clove. Here, eight beers to keep you cozy this winter (available at the LCBO now unless otherwise noted).
Black Oak Brewing Co. Nutcracker Porter
$5.95 | 650 mL | 5.8% ABV
This traditional porter combines notes of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee and fig pudding with an unexpected hint of spicy cinnamon.
Brouwerij Bosteels DeuS Brut des Flandres
$19.95 | 750 mL | 11.5% ABV
Consider subbing your traditional festive bubbly with this sparkling brew, which is fermented in the Champagne region of France and then cave-aged for nine months. The wildly flavourful result has notes of clove, citrus and white grapes, and the subtle funkiness of a farmhouse ale.
Brouwerij Het Anker Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw
$7.80 | 750 mL | 11% ABV
This complex Belgian dark ale has a syrupy, almost port-like consistency and lots of warm roasted malts, as well as hints of cherry and raisin. Drink it now, or cellar it for up to a year—the flavours will get softer and more balanced over time.
Great Lakes Brewery Winter Ale
$6.95 | 750 mL | 6.2% ABV
The holidays just wouldn’t feel the same without this perennial favourite. Generous amounts of cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel integrate with the bread and toffee notes from the malts. It pairs well with spiced desserts like gingerbread and fruitcake.
Les Trois Mousquetaires Grand Cuvée Weizenbock
$9.25 | 750 mL | 11% ABV
Weizenbocks are strong German wheat beers with a characteristic jolt of clove. This one, which hits LCBO shelves on December 8, is on the sweeter side with aromas of blackberry and plum, and notes of caramel, raisin and candied fruit. Between its sweetness and 11 per cent alcohol content, this is a bottle we recommend sharing.
Muskoka Brewery Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout 2012
$13.95 | 750 mL | 8% ABV
This stout is brewed with 70% dark chocolate and fresh local cranberries, which makes for a rich and chewy beer. This year’s bottles are actually from last year’s vintage, which makes for deeper, more balanced flavours.
St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout
$5.95 | 341 mL | 9.1% ABV
Deep, dark and nearly opaque black, this complex beer combines rich aromas of dried fruit, coffee and leather with notes of licorice, tobacco, vanilla and bitter cocoa. With a velvety mouthfeel and refreshingly astringent finish, this beer is highly drinkable despite its high alcohol content.
Bellwoods Brewery Blitzen
TBD | 650 mL | 10% ABV
Coming soon to the Bellwoods retail store, this Imperial Saison is a nice alternative to some of the season’s bigger, chewier beers. Last year’s version included orange peel and clove, and won gold at the Canadian Brewing Awards. This year, Bellwoods partially soured the brew, and added lemon and plum, keeping the high-alcohol warmth.