12 beers of Christmas: The Canadian craft brews to buy this holiday season
Does anyone really want 12 drummers drumming? Raise a glass of festive cheer with a great Canadian craft beer. Craft beer experts from across Canada nominated these as the best Canadian brews to toast the holidays with.
Redline Clutch, Redline Brewhouse
"The ale's zingy, citrusy bitterness will cut through rich, popular party hors d'oeuvres like a cheese plate, mini quiches, and samosas. Pour into a tulip glass to let the hop bouquet of orange and grapefruit shine." —Crystal Luxmore, consulting beer sommelier for Ontario Craft Brewers Association and educator at Experience Beer
Solstice d'Hiver, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
"A terrific example of what a winter ale can be, Solstice d'Hiver is a little bitter up front, with a cheerful red fruit body that is accentuated by a finish carrying just enough hop character to round it out." —Jeremy Noonan, President of The Campaign for Real Ale Society of British Columbia
Spruce Beer, Garrison Brewing
"Take a winter walk through the forest with North America's oldest beer style. A blend of spruce and fir tips harvested in rural Nova Scotia combine with blackstrap molasses to create a complex, full-bodied ale that balances crisp bitterness and warming sweetness. Party like it's 1749!" —Brian Titus, co-founder of Halifax Seaport Beerfest
Péché Mortel, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
"If you want a beer made for the depths of Canadian winter, then pick up a bottle of Péché Mortel next time you snuggle by the fire. This imperial stout is inky, black, rich, and complex. Coffee, dark chocolate, dried fruit, licorice, some molasses and a lingering alcohol warming (due to 9.5 % alcohol) share the stage in this substantial, divine beer." —Jason Foster, beer writer, OnBeer.org
Grivoise de Noël, Le Trou du Diable
"The perfect style for the holiday season. A beer that is brewed to drink at Christmas. Spicy, round and sweet." —Philippe Wouters, author of The Buying Guide to Beers in Québec and frequent speaker at Québec City's Festibière du Québec
Wellington's Special Pale Ale, Wellington Brewery
"Whether you're cooking up a turkey, fish or roast pork, a sip of Wellington's Special Pale Ale with your forkful will give you the ultimate bite. The English-style ale's light caramel and toasty notes meld with the main course's crispy skin, and contrast with a tangy gravy. Its gentle hop bitterness will mellow next to the salty meal, while the cranberry sauce will help the beer's fruity English yeast shine." —Luxmore
Lead Dog Ale, Yukon Brewing
"A dark English strong ale, which is a hearty, rich, warming winter beer. Yukon offers up deep caramel, chocolate and a warming linger. Perfect for sipping while supping on Christmas dinner." —Foster
Hermannator Ice Bock, Vancouver Island Brewery
"Like the brewery, this beer has some real legacy, brewed by one of their original Brewmasters—Hermann of course. A smooth, deep, malty body." —Titus
Winter Ale, Great Lakes Brewery
"Inspired by the long, cold and seemingly endless Canadian winter, this 6.2 % winter warmer is handcrafted with specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel, and is brimming with flavour." —Jaime Dobbs, Society of Beer Drinking Ladies
Herbe à Détourne, Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
"The perfect triple to pair with holiday recipes: hops, sugar and freshness." —Wouters
Bière de Noël, Niagara Oast House Brewers
"Great wine isn't the only tasty thing coming out of Ontario's Niagara region. This strong, bottle-conditioned dark ale showcases dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, figs and spices." —Titus
Snow Goose Coffee Vanilla Porter, Sleeping Giant Brewery
Thunder Bay, ON
"Think of this beer as your after-dinner coffee. Its mocha sip will go perfectly with everything from sugar cookies to chocolates." —Luxmore