Local microbrewers in Victoria, BC have launched their annual offerings of winter ales. A departure from what mainstream breweries do, winter mircrobrews are bigger and richer beers which need a bit more time to age. Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub, well known for its forays into seasonal and special occasion beers, is offering Saison, a spiced Belgian beer; Belgian Abbey, a brown Belgian brew; and the return of Fog Fighter, a Belgian blond. Matt Phillips of Phillips Brewing has produced Instigator, an 8.5 per cent alcohol doppelbock; and Grand, a 12 per cent barley wine (the far end of the spectrum of ales) in honour of the company’s 1,000th brew. Phillips’ Double Chocolate Porter, available year-round, is also popular this time of year. Available from Victoria’s Canoe Brewpub is the annual limited release of its winter warmer, Winter Gale Strong Ale. A rich amber beer, it boasts spicy hints of cinnamon, ginger, clove with a malty sweetness and rounded brandy-like finish. For more information visit www.spinnakers.com, www.phillipsbeer.com and www.canoebrewpub.com.

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