Spread some holiday cheer with these must-try brews

By Mathieu Poirier

This time of year is one of my favourites with respect to beer releases. Big, rich, dark beers come out of the woodwork, sometimes literally, and especially when the social aspect of beer comes into play, we get to see some of the local breweries showcase some of their best beers.

One of my favourites at this time of year is Hoyne Brewing’s Gratitude. Visually, the paper-wrapped bottle makes for a great experience in social settings, as you get to unwrap this beer like the gift that it is. This winter warmer provides nice rich notes of vanilla and spice along with plum and brandy, making it a great choice once dinner is done and dessert is waiting.

A local classic at this time of year is also Vancouver Island Brewing’s Hermannator. For its 30th anniversary, not only is this eisbock available in a 6 pack, but also as a special edition aged in red wine barrels in a gorgeous silkscreened 650 ml bottle, a perfect format to share. As a side note, both beers recently won gold medals at the Tastings.com World Beer Championships, so this is a great opportunity to try some of the best rated beers around. Category 12 also has a few offerings this holiday season, but the one that stood out this year is their Barrelholder Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Lighter in body (compared to most holiday seasonals), but packing a punch at 11.6% ABV, this beer, served in a snifter glass alongside a fire fits the season perfectly with its notes of vanilla and caramel.

Not every release at this time of year is a dinner party beer. Victoria and the most important meal of the day go hand-in-hand, and a great option for a breakfast beer comes from Moon Under Water. The currently expanding brewpub has released this year’s Oranje Maan Imperial Mandarin Wit for the winter season, and this bubbly, wheaty, lightly warming beer with some great citrus notes from the mandarin oranges could replace a mimosa alongside any brunch you happen to have at home or wait in line for this winter. Finally, I wanted to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season, and remind you that whatever you drink, do it responsibly and have a safe ride home.

Just Posted

REVIEW: The Souvenir well crafted, but leaves viewer to do the work

Art and heartbreak combo makes for rollercoaster of emotions in coming-of-age film: Robert Moyes

Rifflandia Festival cancelled for 2019

Early Bird tickets can be refunded at point of purchase, or held and redeemed for 2020

Sooke stop for African Children’s Choir

Concert date is June 2 at Sooke Baptist Church

WINE NOTES: 2018 a stellar vintage for many B.C. wines, consultant says

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes offers up the VQA highlights from the Bloom show

Folk Festival Society promotes value of sharing international cultures with others

Second annual Folktoria brings ethnic dance, foods to Centennial Square, June 8 and 9

WATCH: Maya mixes the ancient with the contemporary at the RBCM

New ‘world-leading’ exhibit offers many pieces not seen before by the public

Expanded bluegrass festival pitches its tent at Laketown Ranch

Former Sooke Bluegrass Festival outgrew previous venue after 16 successful years, organizer says

Special Report: Opioid overdose display gets blessing from the Pope, awaits a city-approved spot

Judith Conway’s large display represents people who have died from opioid overdoses

Mamma Mia! poised to be biggest Chemainus Theatre show ever

Plenty of buzz as Island dinner theatre schedules ABBA-fueled romp

Special Report: Front line work by caring emergency doctors

Dr. Jason Wale uses unique program to help people with addictions in Greater Victoria

Action on climate change a moral commitment: author

Dahr Jamail to speak in Sooke on June 4

Most Read