Let Us Be Your Ol' Saint Nick


Whether or not you’re a religious person, there’s no denying the gravitational pull this time of year towards all that is red, green, and merry. Hell, when I was at Dollarama on the first of November sheepishly looking for discounted Halloween candy, already I was being bombarded by fluffy santa beards, garish fake pine ornaments, and candy cane scented candles that actually smelled like plastic grocery bags. Admittedly, the euphoria of Christmas morning has probably worn off for anyone above the age of nine [and a half], and as an adult you need other exciting events to look forward to in the holiday season aside from an overweight geriatric stranger breaking into your house in the middle of the night to eat baked goods. 

So, ladies and gentleman, I give you the Bellwoods holiday beer line-up, AKA grown up candy, AKA Those Things You Get To Look Forward To On Christmas Morning After Your Partner Realizes: 

- Those bags by the fireplace aren’t big enough to hold an all inclusive trip to Jamaica

And after you realize:

- That you’ll be, for the duration of your time off, explaining to your in-laws how everything in your life is going according to plan, your six-pack abs are emerging quite nicely, money just seems to be piling up in your savings account and no, you never polish off an entire bag of potato chips while watching Netflix in your messy studio apartment.

Stop! Enough with your eager cries and roaring applause! Here’s a look at what will get you through the darkest of nights:



This giant sack that looks like bull testis is actually a nylong mesh bag full of orangey clovey goodness. Fear not!

Imperial Spiced Saison with orange and clove: It’s a lot of fun to brew some of the more labour-intensive beers in and amongst the regular contenders. We picked up 16 kg of navel oranges and 16 kg of tangerines from Kensington, cloves, and kefir lime leaves from Canada Herb here on Ossington. We peeled all the citrus, juiced the remaining fruit, toasted the cloves, and crushed the lime leaves just a bit to release some of their intoxicating aromas. Everything was thrown into nylon mesh bags that we added late in the boil, giving it just enough time to steep without cooking. The saison yeast compliments the citrus flavours nicely with a dry finish, making it a perfect beer to pair with sweeter foods or nothing at all. The beer encompasses a lot of traditional flavours we associate with this time of year, namely that strange ornamental  orange with cloves stuck in it. (Tomas from Volo told us that his grandmother makes these ‘balls’, and we briefly considered naming the beer “Grandma’s Balls”. Our sense of decency won out, however, and we will decide on another (hopefully) more appropriate name).

Dry Hopped Session Ale: Though this style is hardly reminiscent of the holidays, I still wanted to fit it in here because it’s upcoming and exciting. Many patrons have requested lower alcohol more sessionable ales, and though the Muggelweisse is under 4%, we wanted to do an American style modeled after a couple of our favourites. We love Pride and Joy from Three Floyds, and though it’s not available in Canada, we have managed to get a couple cases of Hebrew Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale for the brewpub from Shmaltz Brewing Company. Our version is estimated to come out around 4.5%, a nice light amber colour, with lots of Amarillo and Cascade added late in the boil for optimal citrus hop aromatics. Though the IBU’s will be lower than our Monogamy series, or Roman Candle IPA, the flavours will still be big and punchy despite it’s small frame. So come on down and get to the bottom of the keg age old question with us: Do good things come in small packages?

Witchshark IIPA: Hey wait, why is this on the list if it’s just an old favourite? Good question my pupil. It’s because WE’RE ON THE LAST KEG AND I NEED TO CONVEY A SENSE OF URGENCY TO YOU. But we’re making more, right? Yes, of course, but those new tanks took a bit of time to set up and there will be a short little teeny weeny gap between this batch and the next being on tap. So don’t say I didn’t warn you when you come into the brewpub for your aggressive hop fix and that elusive boy with the head of a shark and a flying broom just isn’t around. Let’s just say he’s not always reliable and barely answers my calls. 

Hellwoods Imperial Stout: This will be our second Hellwoods release. We added a touch more smoked malt and made it a little bigger to arrive at a beautifully balanced stout that will surely knock your stockings off. This beer would pair well with vanilla ice cream and that bland fruitcake that you’d like to forget but don’t have the heart to regift.

As it turns out, this beer is so big that its ego can’t fit through the front door, and it needs a little bit more time to work out the conditions of our contract together (celebrities, hey?). All this means is that Hellwoods might be a brew served in the new year when you need to console your broken heart re: all those resolutions and new life goals that you’ve already not achieved.

[I must say as a side note that mashing in 17 hectoliters of what is essentially a giant vat of oatmeal was really really difficult. I had not sugar plums, but visions of augers dancing in my head as I paddled for dear life. This beer was definitely brought to you by my wee (but growing) biceps.]

With all this on the horizon who gives a ding dong if you get a rotten potato in your stocking?