From Montreal Quebec’s Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel comes their “Solstice d’hiver” a winter seasonal Barleywine. The beer pours a deep ruby colour with a tan head. The aroma is of malts, dark fruits and a decent floral hops kick. The flavour is of malts, dark fruits, caramel, hops bitterness, earthy and some alcohol warming. The alcohol content comes in at 10.2% as per bottle (website says 9%). I am a big fan of barleywines and this beer is no different in as much as I think it tastes great.
Commercial Description: This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel coming from the malt and a prolonged boiling time. It is a very bitter beer with aromas of hops and alcohol, and flavours reminiscent of red fruit brought by the English-type yeast we use to ferment it. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops. Solstice d’Hiver is brewed only once a year, and is then aged for 4 to 5 months before being sold. This aging process is necessary to achieve an ideal equilibrium between the sharp bitterness and the other flavours in the beer.
Solstice d’hiver is brewed only once a year, at the end of the summer. It is then aged for a few months in order to attain a perfect balance in taste. Then, it is sold starting mid-December of each year, until stocks last.
From Bridge Brewing Company out of North Vancouver comes their new Winter Seasonal “All Out Stout”. The brew pours a deep opaque black with a brown head. The aroma consists of roasted malts, coffee and a mild hops. The flavour is of roasted malts, mild coffee, chocolate and some mild hops bitterness. The alcohol content comes in at 5% with an IBU of 25. This is a nice dry, low sweetness stout and a great beer to enjoy during the winter.
Commercial Description: The Bridge Brewing Stout starts off sweet and finishes dry, with notes of coffee and bittersweet chocolate from a combination of roasted barley and chocolate malt. Oatmeal gives this beer a smooth, rich body. Hopped with Northwest grown English varietals of Fuggles and East Kent Goldings alongside Northwest native Willamette hops.
Steve’s Tenth Beer of Christmas is Whistler Brewing Company’s Winter Dunkel.
This Dunkel is very different. I tried it in two glasses and in both I get a massive nose of cream soda as well as taste of cream soda. I used the glass pictured below as well as a standard pint glass. I get very little nose from the bottle.
Surprisingly drinking from the bottle I get a more flavour. A stout-like chocolate flavour mixed with candy orange comes from the bottle. It tastes a bit like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.
This is not my thing but I could see this being really good for some people. Give it a try and see what you think, it could become a favorite.
Steve’s Ninth Beer of Christmas is Howe Sound Brewing of Squamish’s Father John’s Winter Ale.
Let’s get this part out of the way now: I love this beer. OK on to the review.
Starting on a great brown colour with red highlight with a reddish brown head. The beer is slightly cloudy and fairly opaque.
The nose has mellow cedar with tropical fruit underneath (maybe papaya?). A bit of faint cinnamon or nutmeg floats underneath everything and just a hint of candy sweetness but not too much and a malty roundness finishes the aromas.
The flavours start bold and almost rough with brown ale and rough acid fade quickly to papaya with an almost sake-like rice flavour. A cedar aftertaste is very nice and I wait very long between sips to enjoy it. The mouthfeel is full and rich with a buttery feel.
Dead Frog Brewing out of Aldergrove BC has launched an all new lineup of beers and wiped out all but one of their old brews. Their new “The Festive Winter Saison” is one of their new seasonal staples available in both six packs and mixed 12 packs. The saison pours a deep amber colour with an off white head. The aroma is composed of fruity, yeasty, malty notes with a peppery finish. The flavour is of yeast, fruits, pilsner and roasted malts, pepper, spices and a very mild chocolate finish. The alcohol content comes in at 5.5% with an IBU of 20. This is not your standard Saison for sure but it is has a very pleasing flavour and finish. It is called a Winter Saison for a reason!
Commercial Description: A deep amber saison with a slightly sweet malt profile and hints of fruit & spice to celebrate the season. Franco-Belgian malts provide a rich malt base that is accentuated by a warm finish with a hint of festive spices & sweetness.