The Best Craft Beers of the Season

Winter is not a time for wimpy beer.

When the temperatures drop and the snow starts falling, everyones minds start turning towards lazy morning in a warm bed, home baked cookies and warm, hearty meals. So it only makes sense that our taste buds turn towards beers that also reflect the feelings of the season. Light, fruity beers just don’t cut it once there is snow on the ground. Western Canada is home to so many incredible craft breweries, most of whom make a winter beer of some sort, but not all are created equal! So if you want to wow your guests this holiday season by having the best assortment of craft beer, check out some of my favourites below:

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bottle-66Big Rock Brewery

Big Rocks’ Winter Spice Ale is one of my all time favourite beers, and definitely my absolute favourite winter beer. This beer is smooth, with delicious hints of home baked goodness: think molasses cookies in beer format. This beer has strong hints of cinnamon, cloves and caramel. It has the magical ability to warm you from the inside out, even when it is frosty cold. bottle-323

Big Rocks’ Scottish Style Heavy Ale is describes as a ‘Great Big Hug from Scotland’ by their website, and that is a pretty fitting description for this beer. This beer is (as the name would suggest) a bit heavier than the Winter Spice and pairs well with big meals of haggis. And roast beef. But, mostly haggis. This beer makes me think of english toffee and the peaty taste of scotch. Its pretty fantastic if you’re in the mood for a hearty beer.

731893_1Granville Island Brewery

Granville Island Brewery is one of my overall favourite breweries. All of their beers have a distinctive taste and are deliciously different. Not to mention the location of the brewery is pretty incredible…

Lions Winter Ale has strong vanilla and caramel tones that go down very easily. Another warm, winter beer with a gorgeous amber colour.

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Hey Day is an unfiltered beer made with wheat and barley malts. The cloves and bananas flavouring in this beer makes it taste like banana bread. Seriously. Warm and hearty flavour-wise, this is another great beer to add to your winter repertoire.

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Whats more Canadian than maple beer? (well, poutine beer made by beavers probably, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t real). While Maple Shack isn’t a seasonal offering from GIB, I am still drawn to it in the winter. Anything maple flavoured brings back childhood memories of maple syrup boiling down on the stove, sleigh rides through the snow and pancake breakfasts on snowy Sundays. Rumour has it that this beer can be added into chili for some added incredible flavour… I will let you know 😉

Whistler Brewing Co

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I was genuinely surprised by how much I love this beer. I first heard about it through an Instagram post from the brewery, and after driving to two different cities looking for it,
I found it! Think of chestnuts roasted over an open fire and then dipped in caramel. Thats what this beer tastes like. Seriously, if you can find it then you need to try it.

 

Sweetgrass Brewing Co

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Now, I bet you have never heard of this Brewery. I hadn’t heard about them until last winter when my friend Sheila posted on Facebook about trying their Maple Butter tart Ale. A quick google search told me that the Maple Butter Tart ale was only available in Ontario, so after a quick call to my father dearest, a box containing 12 cans of this wondrous beer was on its way from Ontario to Kananaskis. This beer tastes exactly like it should, with that name. Think vanilla, caramel, maple and molasses flavours, with the sweetness balanced out by the hops. Such a great beer, its a shame that it is not available in Alberta yet. Fingers crossed that it starts getting distributed here soon!

 

 

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Last Best Brewing Company

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Beer and Coffee are two of my favourite things in life. Specifically Craft Beer and Fratellos coffee. Fratellos Bullrider coffee is the reason I get through mornings at work and beer is well…beer 😉

So what happens when a Calgary brewery brings together these two things?

Caramel Latte Beer.

14522850_10210799302008350_5726823896291804989_nYup, you read that right. Last Best Brewery, downtown Calgary, has a caramel latte beer and you need to try it now.

The coffee aroma is the first thing you notice when your beer is set down in front of you. The beer is incredibly smooth with strong caramel flavour and a solid coffee finish. This beer doubles as a dessert and is not to be missed!

 

 

 

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Wild Rose Brewery

Wild Rose is a craft brewing staple in Calgary.  They also happen to be the creators of my all time favourite beer: Velvet Fog. But Wild Rose is way more than just a brewery.

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Nestled into an old military building, Wild Rose’s taproom offers a great selection of food and beer. The Bison Brisket is absolutely mouthwatering and pairs well with any of their beers on tap. The decor in the brewery is eclectic but cute and the place has a warm, friendly feel to it.

If you are around town and looking for somewhere to grab a great lunch with an even better beer on the side, swing by Wild Rose!14670594_10210799297568239_2707905218103497101_n14656394_10210799298928273_1147155026228941749_n14519697_10210799297368234_8241278279071723853_n14642216_10210799297728243_6285360876347601306_n14600846_10210799300648316_7181073977697378313_n

Tool Shed Brewing Co

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Most breweries are located in an industrial area of whatever city they are in, and whenever I am driving to a visit a new brewery, I often find myself wondering if I am in the right area. Looking for Tool Shed Brew Co is no different; while the place is easy enough to find with a GPS, th14595767_10210799329289032_4400131341679458569_ne area doesn’t look like the home of a beautiful brewery.

From the outside, Tool Shed kind of lives up to its name… its pretty non-descript, black square letters on grey siding. But when you open the door, you will be blown away. Warm barn board and pretty string lights make the place incredibly home-y.

The first ever beer I had ever from Tool Shed was People Skills Cream Ale, and it remains my favourite. Its an easy drinker, smooth but flavourful.

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The Brewery also has a room for large parties

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