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Beer column: This winter ale has been a staple in BC for over 20 years

No matter the time of year, there’s always a seasonal beer that has devoted fans.

But it’s hard to find a match for the love that certain people have for winter ales, which typically start to pop up in the fall and help keep people feeling warm and fuzzy long into the winter.

We’re well into the season of winter ales and it seems fitting to use this week’s column to highlight one that has been a staple for British Columbian beer drinkers for over two decades.

First though, we should address winter ales in general, because some may not be too familiar with the delicacy.

Essentially, a winter ale is a heartier, fuller-bodied beer dressed in more layers of malty coats, with the malt usually coming before hops as the beer’s dominant feature.

It’s a cozy brew meant to add some warmth to cold winter nights and that’s exactly what you’ll get with Granville Island Brewing’s popular Lions Winter Ale.

<who>Photo Credit: Granville Island Brewing

“Delicious caramel, white chocolate and vanilla notes create the perfect beer to enjoy with friends this season,” the brewery says of the beer, which can definitely be considered a Granville Island staple despite only being sold from October until April.

It’s such a popular beer that Granville Island has created a new Winter Selection Pack, which features two brand new beers to go alongside the Lions Winter Ale.

Along with four of the longstanding winter ales, the 12-pack also features four Lions Salted Caramel and four Lions Chocolate Orange.

The brewery says the Lions Salted Caramel has delicious caramel and chocolate aromas that match perfectly with a hint of sea salt, while the Lions Chocolate Orange features notes of chocolate and orange rind with hints of rich caramel.

While Granville Island certainly isn’t the kind of smaller BC craft brewery I typically like to feature in this column, their large profile does mean you shouldn’t have any issues finding these beers.

You can buy the Lions Winter Ale or Winter Selection Pack at public and private liquor stores across Western Canada.

<who>Photo Credit: Granville Island Brewing

Josh Duncan is the NowMedia news director and a craft beer lover. Reach him at His beer column appears every Saturday afternoon in this space.

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