Christmas is definitely the time for beer and beer drinking. Craft breweries have really upped their game when it comes to Christmas 2020 beers.
Maybe it was the COVID-19 pandemic that force them to get creative or innovative I am not sure, but I tried a lot of good beers this Christmas. Some were old favourites while others were new ones. A couple of Bourbon Barrel Aged Beers also made an appearance.
The Toques Of Hazzard Parallel 49 Brewing Company
We first discovered this beer in 2017 and it’s been on our Christmas list ever since. It’s an Imperial IPA made with wheat. The beer feels light and is a hazy white. There are Citra and Hallertau Blanc hops used in it. The alcohol level is 9.2 percent so there may be the immediate temptation to drink one quick and get a buzz.
That doesn’t do this beer justice though. I split it over two nights with Turkey Dinner on Christmas Day and the next day. It definitely mixes well with Turkey, Sausage Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Sprouts, Carrots, Potatoes and the massive feast I cooked for Christmas.
House of Funk Brewing Co.
What can you say about House of Funk but that they do things differently. You may find what they do odd, enjoyable or even unique and while I have a love/hate relationship with what they do this Stout was awesome.
Coming in at 10.5% this beer is not for the faint at heart. I still have another can in my fridge I am saving for a while. I cracked this beer on Christmas Eve as a truly special occasion. I didn’t drink it fast at all. It is a slow drinking beer to truly savour.
House of Funk describes it as “Smooth and balanced with subtle hints of bourbon and chocolate.” Some may like more chocolate, but this is delicious! Rich & complex. It’s aged for nine months in Basil Hayden bourbon barrels. WOW!
WINTER ALE GRAND CRU
Granville Island Brewing Company
This was the second of Barrel Age Beers from my Christmas List. Unlike the House of Funk one, I did not enjoy this one as much. A riff on Granville Islands Lions Winter Ale, It took me a while to get into it and I cannot say it really sold me.
At 8.2 percent, Granville Island describes it as having smooth, oaky aromas, perfectly melded with vanilla bean and rich cocoa. It’s Cellared, aged in ex-Whisky barrels but I was like so what? It was overpowering and not all an enjoyable drink.
This is very unlike me to not want a Granville Island beer again but I wouldn’t likely buy it again.
In the midst of all the strong Christmas beers, I needed a lager or pilsner to cleanse the pallet. I am glad I picked this one.
I visited Townsite in 2012 while in Powell River.
Townsite Brewing says that this beer contains “peppery, floral hops and bread flavours from the malts.” Light and almost airy in colour, it’s “Unfiltered too because, Belgium.” A little more research and I found that like a typical German lager. Vidal Lager has Pilsen and Carafoam malts, as well as Saaz and Tettnanger hops. Good to know.
It’s been many years since I tried something from this brewery and I am glad that I did. I will be trying more again soon.
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Porter
Bad Tattoo Brewing
I’m always a sucker for anything from Bad Tattoo since my visit to the brewery in 2019. I was able to find this in BC Liquor Stores in North Vancouver which was a surprise and a nice one.
I love a good stout and with the extra twist of peanut butter it is somewhat of an acquired taste. Doesn’t mean I hate it but doesn’t mean I like it either. The core beers from the Bad Tattoo line-up including the Vagabond Pilsner and the Los Muertos Cerveza Negra are probably better bets we are focused on Winter and Dark beers here.
I wasn’t able to find any serious info online about the contents and I mean malts, hops etc. so I will have to leave it at that.
Steamworks Brewing Company
Blitzen is a riff on a classic Belgian Tripel. The Belgian Tripel itself refers to the amount of malt used in the beer in its wort which then yields a higher alcohol in the beer.
A Tripel thus has 9 percent alcohol by volume and has a long history as a popular beer style in Belgium and what is referred as the Low Countries that include the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
It is the first time I have tried this Christmas beer from Steamworks not realizing that it has been around for a few years. I managed to find a single can of it with the only other option being the giant bottle of it at BC Liquor Stores that is 20$.
Steamworks describes it as having apple and citrus aromas. They are using Pilsner and Sugar Malts along with Fuggles and Sterling hops. It gave me the impression of a dry white wine or sweet gurwirtsraminter.
I’d definitely add it to my Christmas list for future years of beer drinking. Belgian Tripels are growing on me for sure.
Bridge Brewing Company
Whether I meant to or not, I selected this beer from Bridge purely based on the fact that it was made by Bridge. I latched onto the Bridge Brewing brand early as they were the first brewery based on the North Shore.
A little research and some tasting and I realized that I had chosen another beer similar to the Blitzen from Steamworks.
Santa’s Sac is based on a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. The Belgian golden strong ale looks like an easy-drinking pilsner. In the first few sips this beer does taste like that but keep drinking it and you realized that you are in for a treat that is a strong one.
With a 10.5% alcohol content, its brewed with a simple malt and lightly hopped with Nobble Hops. What really made me realize that I had selected another Blitzen style beer was when I read that it was fermented warm with a classic Belgium yeast strain, Trappist Ale.