Style: Scottish Gruit brewed with Sweet Juniper Berries and Heather Flowers/Tips
The beer pours like murky swamp water, a gross yellowed brown, almost like cider. A light white head forms and fizzes away, leaving a slight head/scrim behind. The body is, as I have already said, murky and indiscernible. Honestly, if this weren’t a gruit I would say it was an ugly beer, but it being what it is, it just looks fascinating. On the nose this beer is light and earthy, with some great candy bread scents and a nice earthy must that I assume is heather tips and juniper berries. Almost sweet caramel is also present, and as I push my nose more into it and let the beer warm up I get more of a smell that is earthy and enticing.
In taste, the beer begins with light sweet bread and then opens into spicy bread and herb notes. The taste feels fresh and herbal, with a slight minty tingle in the aftertaste, but still very strong earthy bread notes. The more I drink the more I notice that the minty fresh flavor actually is their throughout the sip, lying below the more forward flavors of the beer and adding a crisp refreshing bite to the beer that does give slight sweet berry notes. As the beer warms up I note caramelly sweet notes and very slight roasted flavors lingering in the flavor. On the mouth this beer is thin and highly drinkable, crisply kissing the tongue to refresh it, and leaving the mouth only slightly wet with saliva, but overall clean and refreshing. I’m not sure if it is the thought that I am drinking an herbal beer, or if it’s the actual beer, but I feel a lot of the tingling healthy affect that herbal tea imparts on my mouth, which is superbly refreshing and highly fantastic in a beer. Earth Eagle is a new brewery that is specializing in brewing (though not exclusively) gruits which are superb, and I am really excited to see what they do with them. William Wallace is a fantastic start to their gruit brewing, and I am really excited to see where they go from here. I may be stepping ahead of myself, but I feel this brewery may be one of the major starts of the American Gruit style, and I am excited to see where it goes! Overall this beer is terrifically drinkable, refreshing, and an all around great beer. A wonder gruit for sure!
I tried pairing this beer with my mother’s homemade mushroom soup and sweet oatmeal cornel bread while I was home for Thanksgiving, and it paired quite nicely. The bread and the beer went together best, allowing the varying sweet notes from the bread and the beer to play superbly together as the beer cleansed the palate for the bread. The beer also played nicely with the soup, but was a little sweeter than I would prefer to have with something as savory as mushroom soup. The sweet and savory combo worked nicely, though, and none of the flavors really masked each other heavily. The sweet of the beer did, however, come off a little more cloying when paired with the soup than on its own. This beer is a lovely beer to pair with food, and is worth experimenting with.