BC Beer Baron #352 – Dead Frog Winter Beeracle Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

At this time of year, everyone is hoping for a miracle and that can be found in liquid form thanks to the folks at Dead Frog Brewing. Despite being a holiday tradition since 2012, this was the first time the Sip Advisor tried the product.

That’s okay, though, as the Winter Beeracle Winter Ale’s recipe changes each time it’s manufactured, creating a new drinking experience every year. The 2016 version features flavours of chocolate and orange to go along with stats of 7.5% ABV and 24 IBUs.

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“A celebration of all the good things winter brings. Complex beers, warm fires, close family, and good friends.” Suggested food pairings include shortbread cookies, Nanaimo bars and turkey dinners with all the sides. Does it get much more festive than that!?

The seasonal single batch release is available in bomber-sized bottles from BC Liquor Stores and can be located annually, starting in November. Dead Frog even has a Museum of Labeology, where previous labels for the beer can be viewed.

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BC Beer Baron #351 – Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

When Mrs. Sip constructed a craft beer advent calendar for me last year, this Howe Sound Brewing beer was placed in the prime Christmas Eve spot. I have to say it performed well then and continues to hold up well as a winter season warmer.

The Father John’s Winter Ale features a unique blend of spices mixed with vanilla, molasses, honey and Demerara sugar. The 7% ABV, 17 IBUs beverage is malty and really brings the spice game to the forefront, both in taste and aroma.

Howe Sound Father John's Winter Ale

Available in the brewery’s signature one-litre bottles (complete with swing top cap), the product is good for three glasses of beer. The product can be found at BC Liquor Stores and is named for Howe Sound’s original brewer, John Mitchell.

Also on sale from Howe Sound during the Christmas shopping season is the Carton of Coal Dark Beer Variety Pack. This set includes the Pothole Filler Imperial Stout, Wee Beastie Oak Aged Scotch Ale, and Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout.

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BC Beer Baron #350 – Granville Island Lions Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

Rain, slush, blizzards, chinook, frost, ale. That’s what Granville Island Brewing believes comprises the typical Canadian winter. The last item on that list is represented by this seasonal favourite.

The Lions Winter Ale is very tasty. I particularly like the caramel-vanilla combo that winter ales are known for and this beverage has that in spades. The 5.5% ABV, 22 IBUs drink is available from October to March in a number of formats.

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Named after the popular lion statues that guard Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Bridge, GIB suggests pairing the beer with a bowl of clam chowder and bacon, as well as other meals featuring cream-based sauces.

The Sip Advisor came home from work one dreary day to a six-pack of the beverage, which Mrs. Sip had taken the time to go out and grab. In that moment, I knew the engagement ring waiting hidden in my dresser was the right choice!

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BC Beer Baron #349 – Central City Red Racer Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

With a logo featuring Central City Brewing’s red-headed mascot still aboard her familiar bike, but for the season, decked out in gloves and earmuffs, you know this selection was made for winter drinking. The Sip Advisor is only too happy to oblige.

The Red Racer Winter Ale combines flavours of vanilla and maple syrup with notes of spice. The 6% ABV beverage is to be enjoyed while only partially chilled, as recommended by the brewery. The overall effect is a warming finish that will help drinkers get through the chilly weather.

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The beer can be found in bomber-sized bottles at private liquor stores. It is also included in Central City’s Season’s Greetings advent calendar (in partnership with Parallel 49 Brewing). Oddly, when I popped into their Surrey brewery and store in November, I wasn’t able to locate the beer then.

One of Central City’s most popular products also hits shelves this time of year: Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine. ‘Tis the season for barley wines, which I haven’t got into previously, but one brought back from Colorado by Ma and Pa Sip may have opened that door.

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BC Beer Baron #348 – Big Rock Winter Spice Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

At last month’s Chowder Chowder, hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium, Big Rock Brewing was my choice for MVP of the evening, highlighted by this offering. Thanks guys, for the good time and being the last group to close up shop at the event.

The Winter Spice Ale is like Christmas in a bottle, as Cousin Sip put it. The 6% ABV, 12.5 IBUs winter warmer features flavours of caramel, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. The beer was created to help Canadians get through the long, dark and cold season.

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First released last winter, the Sip Advisor was very happy to see the Winter Spice Ale return to store shelves, along with the brewery’s Midnight Rhapsody Dark Ale. The Winter Spice Ale can be found in bottled six-packs, throughout western Canada.

Suggested food pairings include ginger beef, braised duck, gingerbread cookies, pumpkin pie, and chocolate. Meanwhile, Big Rock’s staff suggest listening to Wintertime Love by The Doors or watching the movie Fargo, while enjoying the beer.

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BC Beer Baron #347 – Fernie Black Mammoth Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

The Sip Advisor loves a good ‘winter warmer’ and this selection may be one of the best of the bunch. Fernie Brewing calls it their “most decadent brew yet,” which is a very strong start.

The Black Mammoth Winter Ale features flavours of chocolate, cocoa and even citrus, provided by Seville orange peels. While no food pairings are suggested, the brewery notes that the 8% ABV, 25 IBUs beverage combines well with any cold winter day… that’s good enough for the Sip Advisor to crack a bottle open!

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First brewed in 2012, this limited edition winter seasonal is available in bomber-sized bottles in BC, Alberta and Manitoba (too bad, so sad Saskatchewan!). Make sure to grab one while you can as the product can only be had while supplies last through December and January.

The Black Mammoth was created to commemorate Fernie Brewing’s 10th anniversary in January 2013. The beer’s popularity brought it back in following years and now it’s a staple of the holiday season, throughout western Canada.

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BC Beer Baron #346 – Bridge The Grinch Winter Ale

Each month, as part of this 366-day BC craft beer extravaganza that I will be sharing with you throughout 2016, I will highlight a specific style or theme of beers for a whole week of articles. Already the best time of the year, the fact it’s Winter Ale season makes it that much better.

Just like the character of the Grinch experienced his heart growing three sizes thanks to the Whovillians, perhaps the same happened with Bridge Brewing, given their bevvy of seasonal releases for Christmas. Of course, that’s not to say the folks at the brewery were bad to begin with…

The Grinch Winter Ale is a limited edition beer, providing the elements one would expect in a winter warmer, such as flavours of caramel, plum pudding and spices. Bridge has created a great Seussian poem for the 6.5% ABV, 26 IBUs beverage that really should be read before enjoying the brew.

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There is also a barrel-aged version of The Grinch, which I have yet to try. This variation features the recipe being aged in bourbon and Sherry Wood Single Malt Whiskey barrels. Apricots also used by Sons of Vancouver in their amaretto have also been added to the mix.

As far as Christmas-themed beers go, Bridge also has the Sleigh Booster Imperial Red Ale, which comes with stats of 9% ABV and 71 IBUs. Mrs. Sip gave me both The Grinch and the Sleigh Booster in a self-made beer advent calendar last year and it resulted in a wonderful Christmas!

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