Our Weekly Craft Beer Tasting Notes: Holiday Brews

Every week we’ll be posting tasting notes from our Friday Staff Tasting, providing you with our take on all the latest craft beer arrivals. This week we tasted beers a lot of the amazing holiday beers we now have in stock, including one that has been in our cellar for a year and is tasting better than ever: Pere Noel. Our staff picks from the tasting are listed at the bottom of each beer’s tasting notes.

FJ with pint Glass (1)

Howe Sound Father John’s Winter Ale 1L 7% (Squamish)
Pours a chestnut brown colour. Notes of cinnamon, marzipan and holiday baking on the nose. On the palate it’s sweet, spicy, creamy, boozy, fruity, nutty and delicious. A tasty, warming winter ale.

pere noel

De Ranke Pere Noel 330ml 7% (Belgium)
Pours a hazy orange colour. The nose is an exotic combination of lychee, exotic tropical fruit and pear leather. It’s equally delicious and enticing on the palate with notes of orange, marmalade, spice and pear, with a nice bitter finish. Excellent carbonation. Two Rufus Paws Up from: Brent & Ayja

holiday brews

Le Trou du Diable La Grivoise 750ml 7.5% (Quebec)
Pours a burnt orange-brown colour. Nice notes of dark fruity and sweet grainy malt on the nose. It’s very fruity on the palate with notes of black cherry, dark fruits, sweet malt and a little spice. Similar to a Belgian dubbel. Two Rufus Paws Up from: Adem & Glenn

Lost Coast Winterbraun Winter Ale 8% (Eureka, CA)
Pours a chestnut reddish brown colour. Big luscious notes of…malted milk balls and chocolate on the nose. On the palate you get big malty chocolate and caramel notes with quite a dry and bitter finish. Two Rufus Paws Up from:  Megan

barley wine

Lakefront Beer Line Barley Wine 355ml 12.5% (Milwaukee, WI)
Pours a burnt copper orange colour. Notes of coconut, marzipan and brown sugar, with a hint of dried fruit on the nose. This is a huge, delicious malt bomb with notes of marzipan, dried fruit, chocolate, brown sugar and booze. Dangerously easy to drink. Two Rufus Paws Up from: David & Ian

Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller Barley Wine 650ml 13.1% (Victoria)
Pours a burnt orange colour. Big notes of Mosaic hops and booze on the nose. On the palate it offers sweet tropical fruit notes, plenty of booze and nice malty roundness with a huge bitter finish. Like last year’s version of OCD, this is drinking like a triple IPA now, but will mellow nicely in the cellar.

hoyne gratitude winter warmer

Hoyne Gratitude Strong Ale 9% (Victoria)
Pours an orangey brown colour. Interesting notes of funk, malt and dried fruit on the nose. On the palate it’s a tasty mix of black cherries, root beer and spice. Very easy drinking and delicious for such a big beer.


Cannery L’Orage Noir Belgian Dark Strong Ale 650ml 9% (Penticton)
Pours a deep brown colour with orange tints. Notes of dark fruit and root beer on the nose. Major dark fruit and sweet mince pie spice notes on the palate. A nice big Abbey-style Belgian brew.

Worthy lights out vanilla cream extra stout

Worthy Lights Out Vanilla Cream Stout 6-pks 7.7% (Bend, Oregon)
Pours a deep brown colour. Surprisingly light coloured and bodied for a stout. Notes of fruit and cream, smoke and chocolate on the nose. It’s fairly sweet on the palate with notes of vanilla, chocolate and smoke. Surprisingly light-bodied, but quite flavourful.


Granville Island Brewing Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout 650ml 8.7%  (Vancouver)
Pours a dark brown-black colour. Rich notes of chocolate and cocoa on the nose. Very similar on the palate with plenty of sweetness up front and big chocolate and cocoa dust notes. Also nice stout notes of coffee and smoke. Two Rufus Paws Up from: Paul

phillips black jackal imp coffee stout

Phillips Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout 650ml 8% (Victoria)
Pours a deep black-brown colour. Notes of damp coffee on the nose. Palate is slightly sweet with big coffee notes. Just the right amount of bitterness on the finish.