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Love winter beers? BC Ale Trail boasts 100+ seasonally-inspired suds this season

Cake-inspired beer, Eggnog Cream Ale and Viking-era brew among new Trail highlights
In North Saanich, Howl Brewing’s Juleøl beer is filtered through juniper branches with additions of yarrow. (Submitted photo)

It’s the most wonderful time for a beer, according to builders of BC Ale Trail.

The B.C. tourism initiative explores more than 220 breweries across 21 “ale trails” in every corner of the province, on the website launched by Destination British Columbia and BC Craft Brewers Guild.

More than 100-plus new beers are featured this winter, including the following 11 just-launched holiday-themed brews — and one spiced cider — described on BC Ale Trail:

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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!”

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.”

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!”

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.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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