Lighthouse Brewing Co.’s Depth Charge series of beers have typically been stronger beers aged in barrels used for such beverages as cognac and whiskey. This year’s edition is an oak aged whiskey dopplebock. Courtesy Lighthouse Brewing Co.

ON BEER: Craft brewers offering seasonal dark delights

Mathieu Poirier talks about the latest winter beers from local brewhouses

As we reach the holiday season once more, the selection of beers on the shelf and on tap start to remind us of the rich, decadent flavours that this time of year provides.

Crisp fall flavours make way for dark, strong beers that just beg to be savoured slowly, which is especially nice at this normally hectic time of year.

Beer columnist Mathieu Poirier

One of the standouts this year is a great reminder that seasonal beers don’t always have to be the same. Lighthouse Brewing’s Depth Charge series have all been typically stronger beers aged in barrels, but have rotated through a variety of styles, with 2016’s Scotch ale, 2017’s Belgian quad aged in cognac barrels, and this year’s whiskey doppelbock aged in oak all showcasing an amazing depth, with no pun intended.

This year’s version is clean, malty, but warming, with notes of caramel and toffee sweetness, vanilla and oak. The whiskey adds a nice spiciness and the overall experience just begs to be paired alongside a nice rich dessert like an apple crisp or crème brûlée.

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A great way to learn what you like is to try a wide variety of beers, and an Advent Calendar is a perfect way to add a little mystery. While the classic Snowcase from Phillips Brewing is taking a year off, there are other options available. Cascadia Liquor is already offering a 24-pack of tall cans nicely packaged up for a daily surprise, and Cook St. Liquor also have their 12 Days of Craft Beer Calendar available soon.

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Keep an eye out closer to Christmas for tickets to go on sale for the first beer event of the new year. The Drake Eatery’s fifth annual Sour & Wild Beer Event is slated for Jan. 5 and is a great way to ring in 2019 and try some beers that definitely leave the typical fare of the holidays behind. Details can be found on their Facebook page.

Speaking of wild and sour beers, we have a brand new brewery in Victoria, with Île Sauvage Brewing Company opening at 2960 Bridge St. back in early November. Their beers are amazing, the space is inviting and fun and it’s great to see another dream come to reality.

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Finally, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season, and remind you that whatever you drink, do so responsibly and get home safe.

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