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Friday, December 20, 2013

5 Great Winter Beers: From Bah Humbug to Montgomery's Courage

The winter holidays are a great time to sit with friends and family and enjoy drinks and food. Today we will take a look at five great winter ales and beers to warm one up after expeditions out into the cold and the snow.

1) Winter Ale, Great Lakes Brewery

A Toronto based multi-award winning craft brewery, Great Lakes Brewery makes an excellent and succinctly named Winter Ale. Full of flavour, it is fortifying with its 6.2% alcohol content. Available for only a few winter months the ale is notable for its tastes of ginger and cinnamon and fruity tones. Priced in Ontario at $6.95 for a 750 ml. bottle.

2) Bah Humbug, Wychwood Brewery

Bah Humbug is a glorious looking winter warmer with a delightful aroma of Christmas baking that hails from the Wychwood Brewery in the UK. It has a slightly sweet taste that is very smooth and easy to drink, and that reminds one, in a good way, of a cinnamon banana bread. Perfect for Christmas Day. It has a 5% alcohol content and is priced in Ontario at $3.95 for a 500 ml bottle

3) King Goblin, Wychwood Brewery

Also from the folks at Wychwood is King Goblin. A strong ale that is available year round, this is not solely a winter beer, but I find that it is at its best during this season. It is lightly carbonated with strong flavours and hints of chocolate. A great by-the-fire after dinner drink. With a 6.6% alcohol content it will warm on the coldest day and is $3.95 for 500 ml. in Ontario.  

4) Montgomery's Courage, Black Creek Historic Brewery

From the wonderful brewery that has grown out of Black Creek Pioneer Village north of Toronto and that is committed to recreating historic beers as they were brewed in the 19th century, Montgomery's Courage is a rare rye beer. And it does, indeed, remind one of the more commonly imbibed rye whiskey, though with a more malty flavour. Really pleasant to drink, you need to get this one fast. It was brewed as a one-time only beer, and when it is gone, it is gone! 5% alcohol and $3.50 for 500 ml. in Ontario.

5) St. Peter's Winter Ale, St. Peter's Brewery

Established in 1996 on an abandoned farm, St. Peter's Brewery in the UK is dedicated to crafting traditional beers that are done in historically English ways. Their Winter Ale has long been a favourite of mine and is only available during the season. This winter warmer has great seasonal hints of spice like nutmeg and clove, and is nicely malty. It is only lightly carbonated and benefits from being not too sweet. It is also strong, with a 6.5% alcohol content and is priced at $3.95 for a 500 ml. bottle in Ontario.

Hope you have enjoyed our first tour of craft brews for the winter months and that you get to try or revisit some of them over the holidays.

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