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Holiday Guide

Give the Gift of Local Brews and Spirits This Holiday Season

Tyler Cole
BY Tyler Cole
(2 votes)

This holiday season, it’s time to ditch the Amazon Prime orders and shop local. This doesn’t just apply to toys, games, and clothes for the younger members of our families; adults deserve some fine local products too. Since 2012, the Wood Buffalo Brewing Company (the brewpub) has been the home of some of Fort McMurray’s best locally-produced products; it’s a craft brewery and craft distillery which produces more than 10 beers and spirits to be enjoyed in their spacious restaurant & bar area. The brewpub also offers many of their products for purchase in growlers, cans, and bottles for you to enjoy at home as well! All the items listed in this article can be found at the Wood Buffalo Brewing Company, 9914 Morrison Street in Fort McMurray. Let’s take a look at some of their offerings this holiday season, with a recommendation from Wood Buffalo Brewing Company’s Head Brewer Jackson Hale on how best to enjoy each product. Jackson is incredibly passionate about his craft, and has been coming up with delicious brews here since 2015.  


Meat Sweat, an aquavit, is sure to warm you up on the coldest Fort McMurray winter day. This strong spirit, very popular in Scandinavia, is aged for 6 months using bison meat to create this liquor’s signature northern Alberta spicy character. For sale in 375ml bottles for $45. Jackson’s Tip: Try 1oz of Meat Sweat in a rocks glass, without ice.

The brewpub’s distilling setup was first used to produce gin in 2013, and the juniper-based spirit has been produced here ever since. Gin is most often paired with its long-time friend tonic and a lime, but here they do things a little bit differently with a few more elements added in. For sale in 750ml bottles for $50. Jackson’s Tip: Try our “Spruce It Up” cocktail for a unique take on the classic G&T.  

Vodka is also produced here at the brewpub, and the house-made vodka can be found in numerous cocktails on the menu. Well-known as a very diverse spirit, the vodka can be found in everything from sangria to Moscow mules here. It’s available in 750ml bottles for $48. Jackson’s Tip: Our Raspberry Tea is a hard-hitting vodka drink that’s sure to get your taste buds going year-round.



Wood Buffalo Brewing Company, for obvious reasons, takes their beer very seriously. Currently, 9 beers are being produced in-house, with another variety coming on sale in November 2018. It is aligned with Last Best Brewing in Calgary, Banff Ave Brewing in Banff, and Jasper Brewing in Jasper – this means products from these breweries are routinely on “Guest Taps” here at the brewpub, and you can find some Wood Buffalo Brewing products at these venues around Alberta! Right now, you can find 10 different craft beers on tap here at Wood Buffalo Brewing, with flavour profiles ranging from a light pilsner to a vanilla ale to a stout. Jackson’s Tip: to stick it to the chilly weather outside, why not try a 6x6oz sampler of some darker, wintry-themed brews? Let’s have a look at Jackson’s “Winter Sampler”:


“The Winter Sampler”

Northern Special IPA is a very hoppy beer, a Northern Alberta take on the current trend of hopped-up West Coast IPAs. It’s the strongest beer produced here at the brewery at 6.0% ABV, and certainly knows how to show the West Coast who’s boss.

Black Gold Stout is a beer as dark as Fort McMurray’s most famous export. Named for the product which brought great prosperity to this region, it has a velvety smooth character and a creamy head with a coffee-flavoured finish.

Babe Blueberry Vanilla Ale has been making huge waves in the Alberta beer scene this year, popping up at pubs all over the province. While the combination of blueberry and vanilla might sound too exotic for some, this beer is very approachable and very drinkable. A game changer.

Northern Dark Black Lager is deceiving, with its stout-like appearance and lager-like flavour profile. At 4.0% ABV, this is a very sessionable beer that rewards those bold enough to stray from their standard pint order. Tastes more like a light beer than you’d ever imagine.

Al Shamal Shriners California Common is a mouthful of a name, but you’ll be savouring every mouthful of this delicious caramel lager. Its brown colouring creates a very drinkable and refreshing beer at 5.0% ABV, with a malted finish.

Belgian Blonde Ale will be available in November 2018, and is the perfect final beer for your 6 variety sampler. With an alcohol content of over 6.0% ABV, it will be the strongest brew available at WBBC, and looks set to be a winter favourite for years to come. 

All of these beers are available at the brewery on draught, or they can also be filled into Wood Buffalo Brewing Company-branded growlers. A new 64-oz growler will cost $24.50, and can be refilled for $15. This is the best way to enjoy all of your favourite Wood Buffalo brews at home! If you’re looking for something more portable to bring to your New Years Eve party, Babe Blueberry Vanilla Ale and the Northern Dark Black Lager are available for purchase in 6-pack cans to take home.


With all of these outstanding locally-made products available right here in Fort McMurray for the beer or spirit drinker in your family, it really begs the question why you’d buy another “two-four” of well-known Canadian or American beer this holiday season, or another bottle of the same vodka or gin for your next party. By supporting a local business and products made here in the Wood Buffalo region, you’ll have an answer to feel proud of to the question “what beer is this? It’s really good!”.


Happy Holidays, and enjoy responsibly!