Canada’s Seasonal Sippers

December’s Latest, Greatest Releases
Rob Symes

Winter means many things, but for beer, it usually means heavier, more intense and more flavour-forward brews. If you’re expecting your local brewery to release a new pilsner, now is probably not the time to go on the hunt, but, if you’re a fan of all things big and seasonal, the holidays just came early. Below is a roundup of some of our favourite releases in the month of December:


Take note, because even if the availability of this beer dwindles by the time you read this post, there are more delicious instalments on the way. Calgary’s Alley Kat is a stalwart of the Alberta scene, and they’re in the midst of their Dragon Double IPA series. It’s all a bit Game of Thrones, but their latest version, Veridian Dragon (7.5%), delivers an alcohol punch with bitter pine in the finish.

British Columbia

Old Yale Brewing has announced its third annual 12 Days of Beermas, available exclusively at the brewery taproom from December 12th. A new beer will be released each day, and announced on social media, all the way until December 23rd. All beers TBA.

Also, back for its 11th appearance is Driftwood’s Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine. Clocking in at 10.3%, this brew is fantastic to drink now, and has also shown that it can hold its own if laid away for a few years. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make 2018 part of a future vertical.

New Brunswick

Picaroons is releasing not one, but two brews in time for the holidays. Blitzen Coffee Porter (5%) is described as “a rich, dark and decadent coffee porter with notes of vanilla and hazelnut that’s all wrapped up in a silky smooth mouthfeel.” Meanwhile Xmas Tree IPA is brewed with generous amounts of spruce tips, that are accentuated though the use of simcoe and chinook hops to create a chewy, resinous experience, and at 8% this brew is nothing to be sniffed at.

Nova Scotia

Their crosstown neighbours have an award-worthy baltic porter of their own, and now Halifax’s Propeller Brewery is getting into the mix. The Barrel Aged Baltic Porter (7.5%) is described as, “Dark and complex, with roasted coffee and toffee aromas and hints of raisin and dark cherry. After a lengthy stay in oak bourbon barrels, aromas flavours of vanilla and caramel are accentuated along with distinct bourbon influence.”

Prince Edward Island

For one of the season’s bigger releases, head to PEI, where PEI Brewing has announced the arrival of their 10.5% Barrel Aged Barleywine. Brewed in the English style, it has a rich, sweet taste, mild carbonation, and balanced bitterness, complimented by extended aging in Kentucky bourbon barrels.


Sours aren’t just for Summer (at least according to Toronto’s Muddy York Brewing). Krampus Dark Sour with Cherry (6%), named after a child-stealing demon, who represents the slightly more metal side of the season. This ale promises notes of roasted malts, sour cherry and mulled wine.


Rebellion Brewing has released a new winter beer, and they describe their Coconut Cream Stout (6.5%) as follows, “A decadent stout, rich with flavours of toasted coconut, milk chocolate and a hint of espresso. It’s perfect with a slice of cheesecake or a chocolate fudge brownie.”