All points along the BC Ale Trail lead to wintry stouts, dunkels, porters and more that bring out the very best of the festive season
As the nights get colder and darker, so too do the unique and boutique beers produced by craft brew crews throughout BC that conjure up unmistakably festive flavours. This winter, beer lovers can sip more than 50 seasonally inspired suds available at breweries along the BC Ale Trail that are heating up the holiday season in style.
From sours incorporating a bounty of BC fruit to barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned beers, along with inspired recipes that bring forth notes of cocoa, orange and mint, there’s no shortage of limited-edition, get-’em-before-they’re-gone seasonal beers to choose from.
The usual suspects like stouts, dunkels and porters are well represented, but with festive twists, like the Angry Elf Peppermint Holiday Stout from Port Alberni’s Dog Mountain Brewing, and the Chocomint Mocha Porter from the Noble Pig Brewhouse in Kamloops. There are some think-outside-the-gift-box beers — like the BC Cranberry Sour from 33 Acres in Vancouver’s Brewery Creek — as well as returning festive favourites like the latest entry in the ‘Anno’ series from Burnaby’s Dageraad Brewing, and the 2021 edition of the now-annual Winter Ale from Kelowna Brewing Company.
So bundle up, grab your crew, and cozy up to some great winter beers while supporting local. And don’t forget to download the BC Ale Trail App to find and collect points for rewards at participating breweries, taphouses, pubs and liquor stores that await at BC Ale Trail’s 200+ locations.
Be sure to check out the blog for the full list of holiday-inspired beers from BC craft breweries, or get in the festive spirit by sampling a selection of 11 different beers from 10 craft breweries below for starters!
Get Sweet on This Sour: BC Cranberry Sour by 33 Acres Brewing Company (5.7% ABV)
A smash hit from 2020, this cran-tastic sour will be back for another seasonal visit with bottles available to go in 33 Acres’ tasting room starting December 17. Brewed with barley, wheat and spelt and fermented with a special mixed culture in an oak foeder, this beer was refermented on BC cranberries to add delicate berry character and complex acidity.
Enjoy the Fruits of Their Labour: Fruition 4th Anniversary Ale by Angry Hen Brewing (7.5% ABV | 15 IBU)
Kaslo staple Angry Hen Brewing is celebrating its fourth year in business and saluting loyal fans and new customers with a traditional gift of fruit. Angry Hen’s brew crew added locally picked raspberries, yellow and purple plums and fox grapes and sea salt to the Gose base from their 200th beer and conditioned it for four months to bring this ale to its true Fruition.
Slip Into Some Comfy PJs: Flannel Pyjamas by Camp Beer Co. (10% ABV)
Get out of the cold and slip into some comfy flannel pjs via this Wee Heavy Scotch Ale aged in bourbon barrels for 11 months. This winter warm-you-up is strong, dark and malty with plenty of complex flavours for the discerning palate and has notes of toffee, caramel and smoke — just like a good Camp fire should.
The Winter of Our Content: Anno 2021 by Dageraad Brewing (8.5% ABV)
It’s that magical time of year for Dageraad Brewing disciples: the Burnaby destination has released its Anno 2021. It’s a strong golden ale brewed with Okanagan pears and Indian coriander and bottle-conditioned with Brett claussenii (a strain of wild yeast that’s funky, fruity and adds complexity over time). For dyed-in-the-wool Anno acolytes, Dageraad is also selling Vintage Gift Packs featuring one bottle each of the Anno entries from 2018 through 2021 plus two limited-edition holiday glasses.
A Buddy-the-Elf Approved Beer: Angry Elf Cocoa Peppermint Holiday Stout by Dog Mountain Brewing (6.5% ABV)
This one’s like Will Ferrell in a barrel — well, his character from the beloved holiday film Elf, anyway. As a special gift for their fans, the pack at Port Alberni’s Dog Mountain concocted this dark and delicious beer using cocoa, vanilla and candy canes to fill stockings of thirsty folks with a refreshingly unique beer that tastes like a peppermint hot chocolate for adults.
Paint it ’Black: Black Mammoth Winter Ale by Fernie Brewing Co. (8% ABV | 25 IBU)
Rich, strong and decadent, this black ale is complemented by the additions of chocolate malt, dark organic cocoa and peels from Curaçao oranges and aged on oak for smoothness and complexity. It’s a big and boozy beer that brings forth rich notes of orange and cocoa and pairs perfectly with dark skies, cold nights and freshly fallen snow.
Sweet Sassy Molassy: 2021 Winter Ale by Kelowna Brewing Co. (7.5% ABV | 33 IBU)
It’s become an annual tradition for Kelowna Brewing fans — a beer perfect for cracking open in front of the fire after a long day on the slopes. Heavy on the malt bill and generous on the molasses in the boil, this brew has a balanced sweetness with notes of treacle and coffee. The Kelowna brew crew also offers personalized cans as a delicious alternative to traditional holiday greeting cards.
Bob’s Your Dunkel: Candy Cane Dunkel by the Moon Under Water Brew Pub & Distillery (5.4% ABV)
This dark lager was brewed using a single-decoction process that gives it an intense malt flavour without leaving too much residual sugar and giving it a dry, refreshing finish. Candy canes and vanilla were used in the brewing process to give it some added hints of the holiday season.
Mull Over These Two Holiday Infusions from the Noble Pig Brewhouse:
Chocomint Mocha Porter (5.5% ABV | 22 IBU)
A festive spin on the Kamloops’ brew crew’s flagship Stone House Mocha Porter, this Chocomint Mocha Porter is brewed with pure cacao and peppermint for a delightfully delicious winter shiver in every sip.
Mulled Swine Belgian Pepper Ale (5% ABV | 20 IBU)
This ’Swine is mighty fine — a take on the Noble Pig’s beloved Stick House Belgian Pepper Ale, the Mulled Swine is infused with holiday heavy spices and a deliciously mulled flavour guaranteed to get even Grinches into the festive spirit.
Twist and Stout: Century Grove Chocolate Orange Stout by Townsite Brewing Inc. (6% ABV | 28 IBU)
Smash that orange — this dessert stout from the popular Powell River destination wraps beer lovers in a warm, comfy and cozy brew blanket. It gives off hints of chocolate and blood orange used in the brewing process and evokes memories of the favourite stocking stuffer from Terry’s Chocolate Co.
To see the full list of new beer releases and learn where to find them in your neighbourhood, visit the BC Ale Trail website today!
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About the BC Ale Trail
The BC Ale Trail is brought to you in partnership by Destination British Columbia and the BC Craft Brewers Guild. A BC Ale Trail is a series of self-guided itineraries highlighting local craft brewery destinations and the super, natural landscapes that surround them. Explore more than 180 breweries across 23 Ale Trails in five regions around the province. New experiences are brewing nearby. For more information, visit https://bcaletrail.ca.
Travel safely and responsibly.
As parts of British Columbia have been impacted by heavy rain and flooding, drivers are being asked to avoid unnecessary travel given the multiple highway closures. Check @DriveBC on Twitter for the latest information on delays and road closures. Destination BC’s Know Before You Go page also includes key information resources for travelers and tourism businesses.
Masks are required in all public indoor settings for all people born in 2009 or earlier (12+). As of September 25 proof of double vaccination is required for those 12 and older to access certain social and recreational businesses including breweries, to help protect people from COVID-19. Learn more about BC’s travel restrictions.