Vancouver Beer fans rejoice: Winter Ale is back

Photo credit: My Beers and Ales | Flickr

Now that we’ve officially proved the world isn’t coming to an end, here’s one more reason to celebrate this holiday season.

Local brewmeisters Central City have brought back their seriously addictive Red Racer Winter Ale, just in time for Christmas.  Normally, this wouldn’t be breaking news – But this isn’t any normal ale.

Plenty of local breweries are offering up holiday suds (check out Shawn’s recent post for a complete rundown), but beer fans were seriously disappointed when it appeared that Central City might not be among them.

For the past several years, their Winter Ale has been among the most sought-after of seasonal beers – a serious, hoppy brew with just the faintest touch of vanilla and maple syrup. In contrast to other winter beers, Central City’s was hearty and complex – not some sugar- and cinnamon-sweetened macrobrew dressed up for the holidays.

But it’s never too late for a little Christmas miracle.  In response to popular demand, Central City is releasing 300 cases of its Winter Ale to liquor stores in B.C. this week and also delivering kegs to select pubs and restaurants.  The distinctive cans – showing a scantily clad bicyclist wearing winter gloves, coat and hat – are sure to fly off the shelves.

So just what makes Red Racer Winter Ale so special?

Let me indulge my inner beer nerd for just a minute here.  The secret to this hoppy, amber ale starts with German magnum and chinook hops, with pale ale, Munich crystal and chocolate malts.  Then there are the extras thrown in for flavour: a little molasses, a touch of vanilla and even fresh ginger.  The end result is a full-flavoured, full-bodied beer with a hint of spice and quite a kick at seven percent alcohol.

But the real answer is: Red Racer Winter Ale tastes like Christmas.  On a chilly December night, in front of a roaring fire (or the TV equivalent), it just might be the perfect drink.

Any other seasonal beer fans out there? What’s your favourite winter ale? 

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.

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