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The Brew

by Bryan Carver

(photo: Bryan Carver)During the winter months as the days grow shorter and the weather cools, beer lovers often reach for the comfort of darker beers. The brewers of Prince Edward Island have been busy preparing a variety of stouts all which are perfectly suited to be enjoyed with friends and family over the holidays.

A favourite with many Island beer drinkers, Barnone’s ‘La Vaca Loca’ is the only milk stout available locally year round. It’s roasty in flavour with coffee and chocolate notes, has smooth mouthfeel and a sweet finish from the addition of the milk sugar lactose. This one is brewed in small batches so if you’re lucky you might be able to grab a growler in the weeks leading up to the holidays.

Copper Bottom Brewing in Montague recently celebrated their first year in operation. One beer they released to celebrate the successful year is an Oatmeal Stout called ‘Ken’s Stout’, named after owner and head brewer, Ken Spears. It’s full-bodied from the addition of oats and rich in roasted malts with a dense creamy head. This stout will be available on select taps and in cans for you to enjoy at home.

Moth Lane Brewing has bottled up something special for dark beers lovers, too. A small batch of Imperial Stout spent a few months in freshly emptied single malt whisky barrels from Cape Breton’s Glenora Distillery. After conditioning in the oak barrels, this massive 13% ABV beer has been placed in a limited run of bottles and dubbed ‘3 Mile Limit’. This beer is in scarce supply, hurry to find yourself a bottle at the Summerside Farmers Market or at the brewery.

PEI Brewing Company will have a second annual release of its spiced milk stout, ‘Shortest Day’ which makes for a warming pint to be enjoyed over the holidays. Spiced with rum-soaked nutmeg and vanilla, its festive, warm spices and sweetness from lactose make it a great pairing with holiday cookies.

Upstreet celebrates dark ales and the return of winter with the release of their seasonal stout, ‘Black Tie Affair’. Upstreet adds cranberries to incorporate a subtle tart element in the beer’s flavour profile. Along with the cranberries, they add vanilla to evoke the nostalgic aroma that can be found in most Island kitchens in the weeks leading up to Christmas. ‘Black Tie Affair’ would be a great addition to an afternoon of baking holiday treats.

Be sure to try a few of these rich, dark beers that the local breweries have on offer leading up to and over the holidays. It's not often we have such a wide variety of local stouts available so get a wide sample and gather a group of friends to try these roasty ales as you celebrate the holidays.

Please drink responsibly and if you drink, don’t drive. Happy Holidays!

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