Friday, December 24, 2010

Fraoch Heather Ale

Brewery: Williams Brothers Brewing Company
Style: Scottish Gruit
ABV: 5%
Country: Scotland

The bottle for this one caught my eye. It had ancient looking Scottish runes and sigils all over the label. Looked like something William Wallace would drink. Claimed to be brewed since 2000 b.c. from an ancient recipe, I was sold.

Turns out that this style is called a Gruit. My good friend Jimmy Wales tells me that Gruit is a herb mixture used to flavor and bitter beer. The Fraoch variety of gruit uses heather flowers, sweet gale, and ginger. Gruit was used until the 11th century when hops started to be used as the main bitterer/flavorer/preserver of beer.

Poured a delicious looking bright amber color with a decent, white head. Aroma was light and sweet. Taste was similar to the smell, light and flowery. Malts were sweet and filled with a touch of herbs. Carbonation was also light which allowed for more of the buttery smooth body to show through. Finish had some grains making an appearance with a hint of spiciness. Nice and dry finish. No bitterness at all seeing as this style predated the use of hops. Unique and quite different than what I've been drinking recently. A good choice if you're looking for something new. This would be a good beer for a hot summer day. I was hoping for a bit more though. Still enjoyable, B

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