It’s The Most Wonderful Time For A Beer: Calgary breweries offer up some sup-worthy, seasonal offerings

Whether it is the aroma of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or the tingle of Jack Frost nipping at your nose, we all have our favourite holiday sensations. For beer lovers, it’s the malty, fruity and spicy flavours of holiday beers.

Each year, a handful of Calgary breweries release beers designed for the colder months. Typically having a robust maltiness and sometimes featuring fruits or spices reminiscent of holiday cuisine, these beers warm the heart as much as they tickle the tastebuds. Though not as rare as a PlayStation 5, by definition, these seasonal beers are here for a short time, so grab them while you can.

XhAle Aunty Rene Plum Pudding Porter: One-year-old XhAle Brew Co. has already made a name for itself with its “provocative beer for conscious thinkers and drinkers.” XhAle is the brainchild of Christina Owczarek, who injects personal experiences into all of her beers. In Owczarek’s world, it wasn’t Christmas without Aunty Rene’s homemade plum pudding and this beer is a tribute to the love she put into each one.

Using Italian plums, a complex grain bill, graham crackers and a subtle blend of Christmas baking spices, this porter features flavours of dark dried fruit, light spices and sweet, toasty breadiness. 

Partial proceeds from the sale of this beer will be donated to the Alberta Cancer Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness. Support good beer and support a good cause. Yule be happy you did.

Inner City The Road Home Gingersnap Porter: A nice gingerbread flavour accompanies the nice maltiness of this 5.9% ABV porter. While many breweries make their porters similar to stouts and over-emphasize added flavours, this beer is wonderful because there is no mistaking that it is a porter, with the flavours of gingersnap making a good thing better.

Snap this one up while you can!

Half Hitch Chocolate Porter: Half Hitch Brewing’s head brewer and president Chris Heier has merged two of his passions in his latest seasonal offering. In addition to brewing delicious beer, Heier makes his own artisanal chocolate bars. So, Half Hitch’s holiday offering is a chocolate porter. The base beer is a Baltic porter, a richer, more robust, higher-alcohol version of porter. Heier then roasted a select variety of cocoa bean and infused the flavour into the brew. He also used the same type of cocoa bean to create chocolate bars to pair with the beer.

This rich combination of flavours is sure to lift your spirits Heier and Heier!

Olds College as-yet-unnamed beer: The brewery at Olds College, where future brewers learn their trade, has brewed a chocolate milk stout. An open contest is being run to name the beer with the winner getting free beer! The stout is brewed using natural cocoa, Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and lactose.

Be sure to give this beer the Olds College try.

Wild Rose Cherry Porter and Dandy Dead Moon Night Imperial Stout: Long-time Calgary beer lovers look forward to the release of these two beers every year. Wild Rose’s Cherry Porter is reminiscent of chocolate-covered cherries while Dandy’s Dead Moon Night features lots of dark chocolate flavours and notes of espresso. Drinking these beers will make your heart grow three sizes this holiday season.