What makes a great winter beer?
The colder months are a great time to enjoy beers that are rich in
flavour and aroma, big bold beers that beg to be sipped by the fire,
beers that pair with hearty winter foods, and beers that are best
enjoyed at warmer temperatures.
Try these winter beer styles to warm you up!
When we think of winter beer styles we often gravitate to darker beers, like
stouts, brown ales or porters, which are certainly great winter beers. There
are a wide variety of other styles available that suit the winter season. Try
some of these by the fire this winter to mix it up a bit:
Doppelbock – stronger version of German style bock beers, this is a food friendly
style, dark brown in colour with toasty malt flavours. Try our Gold Medal winner Stayin’ Alive Bock.
Porter – Brown porters have no roasted barley or strong burnt/black malt character. Low to medium malt sweetness, caramel and chocolate is acceptable. Less
body and alcohol than robust porter. Try our Sunken Ledge Porter.
Imperial Stout – Black in color, these beers typically have an extremely rich malty flavor and aroma with full, sweet malt character. Bitterness can come from roasted malts or
hop additions. Try our Russian Imperial Stout U-889.
Scotch Ale – Also called Wee Heavy, this style is characterized by a rich and dominant sweet malt flavor and aroma, often caramel in character. Some
can include a light smoked peat favour. Try our Broken Bagpipe Wee Heavy.
What’s cooking this winter?
Pair these local brews with hearty winter fare!
Chilli or stew with beans and legumes —
English Brown Ale like Crafty Jack to add
richness while balancing salt and acidity.
Red Ale like Temptation Red for a smooth malty
compliment to the roasted flavours
Roasted or grilled meat —
English Porter like Boxing Rock Sunken Ledge to
balance strong flavours and allow for a complex finish
Old cheddar or Wensleydale are complemented by The Vicar’s Cross Double IPA
Savour rich chocolate with U-889 Russian Imperial Stout
Cheesecake and Creme Brûlée
Balance richness on the palate with Broken Bagpipe Wee Heavy
Compliment roastiness with Stayin’ Alive Bock
Stout vs. Porter – What’s the difference…exactly?
Technically speaking, a stout is defined by the Beer Judge Certification
Program (BJCP) as a “very dark, roasty, bitter, creamy ale”, while a porter is a
“substantial, malty dark ale with a complex and flavourful roast character”.
Historically speaking, stout was simply the name for strong (or stout) porter.
Today, the answer is more whatever the brewery wants it to be. Some
brewers believe porters to be lighter in body with a more chocolate
character, while stout is heavier with more coffee and roasted flavours, often
derived from the addition of roasted malts.