Lion’s Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewing Company in Vancouver, British Columbia is a deep, cola-like ruby colour and yields a large and frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves small spots of lace on your glass. This winter warmer has strong aromas of store bought chocolate syrup and vanilla extract that choke notes of roasted grain and red berries.
The predominant chocolate flavour of Lion’s Winter Ale tastes more natural than it smells and has a nice dryness to it that helps to balance a rich sweetness, but falls just short. The finish has notes of vanilla and cedar, along with a subtle hint of peppermint that comes through in the aftertaste. This ale has a thin, yet mainly syrupy body that doesn’t really stand up to the richness of the flavours presented, a low amount of carbonation and a vague graininess.
The Granville Island cityscape logo is set against a black and green backdrop depicting Lion’s Gate Bridge in Vancouver on cans of Lion’s Winter Ale. There is a description of the beer on the side, along with vague food pairing suggestions. Coded freshness dating is stamped on the bottom of the can and there is no list of ingredients to be found except for a warning about containing barley and wheat.
Lion’s Winter Ale is a decent, porter-like effort, but the sweet taste and syrupy mouthfeel are simply not for me. Though I did enjoy the mild mint tone in the aftertaste, this beer could definitely use a bit more balance and body. Cream cheeses, chocolate, graham crackers, vanilla ice cream and alfredo-style sauces work well with this ale.
Lion’s Winter Ale is available in cans at many LCBO stores and in bottles at The Beer Store here in Ontario. It also sees distribution throughout most of Canada.
Type: Winter Warmer
Region: British Columbia, Vancouver
Brewery: Granville Island Brewing
Format Purchased: 473 mL
Alcohol Content: 5.5%