Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spring Fever Gruit (Salt Spring)

Huh, so a gruit eh? This one is hard, how does one evaluate a beer style you rarely get to taste? Perhaps we should discuss what a gruit is. That is simple: "gruit" refers to a mixture of herbs that is used to help bitter the sweet wort in beer making. This was how beer was made prior to 1000CE. It terms of world history, hops are a relative new comer.
I had to chance to sample this beer twice tonight. The variety in cask at Clive's Classic Lounge had a tad more cinnamon flavours. Then I had a bottle at home to sample. We stared at this glass a long time, all hesitant to talk about it. It was different. In some cases, different is good.

Spring Fever Gruit = 6/10

The gruit nose is very herbal, duh. There is a lot to take in: fireweed honey, buckwheat, tobacco, heather, lobelia and lavender. A light-medium body gave the palate a lot to thing about. It is very floral sweet, but yet not cloying. What is in the herbal mix? Marshmallow, yarrow, buckwheat, honey, heather? Sadly the flavours ended clean at the end of the sip. You wanted to go back, again and again to discover more earthy flavours. I liked it, but not everyone will.

Now a bit of contention about the labeling. Brewed on a full moon to bring out the potency of the botanicals. I had little difficulty with this claim. I would like to think that if the herbs were harvested on a lunar significant night, there would be more influence on potency. There is a wealth of information about circadian and seasonal variations on plant constituents. For a great summary read the Spring 2010 issue of the American Botanical Council's journal HerbalGram. Did I mention that I am an Herbalist also?

Taste +4
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 great new labels and reasonable description of beer.

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