Canadian Guide to Holiday Beer

 My amazing girlfriend Allie will be writing a number of posts on the blog during our 25 Days of Christmas. Here is the first one!


One of my favourite things about winter is having a cold beer in front of the Christmas tree. I am really picky about my beer – I tend to favour a darker, full-bodied brew.

I put together a list of the best winter-feeling brews I could find. So, here’s a list of brews to guarantee you have the ‘hoppiest’ of holidays.


Garrison Winter Warmer

7.0% | 20 IBU



First up, is the beer that made me start liking beer. A local Halifax brew, the Winter Warmer is a strong, dark amber beer brewed with spices that scream holiday season (Cloves, cinnamon & demerara sugar, for those of you who are clueless about those winter must haves). This makes a great companion on cold winter nights, or to warm up on a snowy day. 

Garrison Brewery is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can get the Winter Warmer directly from Garrison and at the NSLC. Check your local liquor store to see if it’s available in your area.


Garrison Spruce Beer

7.5 % | 35 IBU


Local Spruce and Fir tips from Meander River Farm are combined with Crosbie’s Blackstrap Molasses to re-create North America’s oldest beer style.

I like the history behind this one. In the late 1800s in Nova Scotia, barley and hops were not always available, so the beer-lovers opted to use spruce tree tops for flavouring. Behold, spruce beer.

You can definitely taste the molasses in this. It reminds me of when my mom used to make gingerbread cake, and I’d sneak a taste of molasses only to be shocked that it wasn’t sweet. It’s like that, in a good way.

The flavour sticks with you long after the bottle is empty.

Garrison Brewery is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can get the Spruce Beer there and at the NSLC. Check your local liquor store to see if it’s available in your area.


Rare Bird Maple Ale

6.5% | 30 IBU


Fresh sap from local maple farms creates the base for this Nova Scotian brew. They add a balance of hops and malt, with a hint of fresh maple syrup and spice to create this light bodied ale.

Rare Bird Craft Beer brewery is located in Guysborough, Nova Scotia. This one doesn’t last very long, but you can get the Rare Bird Ale there, as well as at select NSLC and private liquor stores.


Propeller Brewing Co. London Style Porter

5.0% | 39 IBU



This isn’t a seasonal beer, but it’s still one of my go-to Holiday choices.

The porter beer style was created in the mid-1750’s. This Porter is a blend of pale, roasted and chocolate malts, hopped with English and North American varieties.

The name Porter originated because this strong, nourishing drink was reputed to be the favourite beverage of the hard working porters of London’s Covent Gardens. Propeller’s Porter is voted the third best Porter in all of Canada. More than enough reason to be on this list!

Propeller Brewing Co. is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It’s available at the NSLC. Check your local liquor store to see if it’s available in your area.


Mill Street Brewery Winter Mix


This is an awesome mix that’s sure to have something for everyone. I love getting these mix packs when we are entertaining, that way everyone is guaranteed to find a beer that suits their taste. This year’s pack from Mill St. Brewery has two new beers along with four of their year-round classics.

Here’s what’s new inside:

Makani Pineapple IPA 6.2% | 50 IBU

This beer features tropical flavours, that will remind you of sunny days and laying on the beach – the perfect winter escape.

Imperial Coffee Porter 7.0% | 30 IBU

The Coffee Porter has flavours of roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate. Definitely, something to keep you going on long winter nights.



The next four are the classic’s, and I won’t tell you much about those – you’ll have to get the case to find out!

Tankhouse Ale 5.2% | 40 IBU

Original Organic Lager 4.2% | 11 IBU

West Coast IPA 6.6% | 87 IBU

100th Meridian Organic Amber Lager 5.0% | 24 IBU

Mill St. Brewery is located in Toronto, Ontario. The Winter Mix is available at most liquor stores. Check your local liquor store to see if it’s available in your area.


Merry Maritimer’s Christmas Craft Beer Countdown


This last one is for the serious beer fanatic; for those of you who’ve committed to ending each day in December with a good brew.

I’m not going to give away too much about this one because advent calendars are supposed to be a surprise, but each day you’ll open the flap to reveal a Maritime-made beer or cider. 

The case features 24 products from 14 breweries and cider makers such as 2 Crows, Big Spruce, Boxing Rock, Bulwark, Garrison, Picaroons, Propeller, Pump House, Spindrift, and lots more!

The Christmas Countdown is available at private liquor stores such as Harvest Wine & Spirits and WestSide in Halifax, select PEI Liquor locations in PEI, and select ANBL stores in New Brunswick. Check your local liquor store to see if it’s available in your area.



Try out our some (or all) of these this winter season, and let us know how you like them!



    • December 3, 2017 / 9:57 pm

      The beer advent calendar is definitely unique! We are loving it so far

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