Winter beers
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Tasty seasonal brews to keep you warm this winter

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Sure a nice light lager on a summer afternoon is hard to beat, but perhaps, just perhaps, a thick and creamy dark beer on a winter’s day is even better. Think porters, stouts, anything dark and strong that will warm you from the inside out. With forecasts of another long, cold winter, you’ll have plenty of time to find your perfect cold-weather beer. Here are some serious contenders from some of the most interesting craft breweries popping up across the continent.

Kilannan Brewing Company’s The Men Who Stare at Oats

Brewed in Owen Sound, Ontario, this oatmeal stout tastes exactly like an oatmeal stout should. Brewmaster Spencer Wareham isn’t known for radical recipes, but he is known for doing things right, and this brew is a great example of his perfectionism. If you can’t find it at the LCBO this winter, you’ll have to go to the brewery itself. More info: www.kilannanbrewing.ca

Rogue Brewery’s Dead Guy Ale

Dead Guy Ale is a great interpretation of the Maibock style of beer. Deep amber in colour with toasty malt aromas and earthy hop notes, this is a great beer for a cold day, and at 6.5% ABV it’s sure to keep you toasty—even when the wind chill is hitting minus twenty. More info: www.rogue.com

Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company’s Bogwater

Before hops were the standard bittering ingredient in beer, people tried nearly everything to try to bitter their brews and Bogwater is a throwback to that time. Bog myrtle (also known as sweet gale) is a bittering agent that was often used in Europe before the Purity Act of 1516. And with Bogwater, Beau’s is bringing it back. This gruit style of beer is slightly coloured, with malty notes and a spicy, earthy bitterness. More info: www.beaus.ca

Mt. Begbie Brewing Company’s Bob’s Your Dunkel

This unfiltered dunkelweizen is bound to warm you up after a day of powder-turns on Revelstoke Mountain’s legendary terrain. At 8% it’s a strong beer loaded with wheat, chocolate, and munich malts with fruity and clove aromas. More info: www.mt-begbie.com

Black Oak Brewing Company’s Nutcracker Porter

Available in 650 ml bottles this inky black porter boasts a 5.8% ABV, meaning it’s on the strong side of the beer spectrum. A few cinnamon sticks are thrown into the brew to give this toasty beverage a lovely wintery spice. More info: www.blackoakbeer.com

Le Trou Du Diable’s Grivoise De Noel

A strong, dark ale, this Belgian beer comes from La Belle Provence and is absolutely incredible. A dark ruby red colour with complex flavours of licorice, cardamom, and smoked chili makes this the perfect drink to warm up with—especially when you consider the 7.5% ABV on the label. More info: www.troududiable.com

Amsterdam Brewing Company’s Tempest Imperial Stout

The wax-dipped cap on this beer means you can throw this one in the cellar for up to three years. But why would you? This stuff is delicious. Available in small quantities (read: get it while you can!), this 9% stout blends deep malt notes with a slight spiciness. Rye oats, chocolate malt, roasted barley blend and warrior, centennial, and cascade hops are mixed for a perfect winter warmer. More info: www.amsterdambeer.com 

Northwinds’ Milk Run Stout

Touted as a breakfast beer, this stout packs some punch from the generous amounts of Ashanti coffee thrown in to the brew. With the added lactose, this beer is rich, creamy, and delicious. The dark beer features a thick, tan head and is available in 650ml bottles. More info: www.northwindsbrewhouse.com