1001 Beers: Fraoch Heather Ale

So I stopped by a wine shop one day because Washington State is awesome as hell. Oh yeah, I love my PNW! But the reason I did stop was because there was a sign outside of it saying “Fill Your Growler Here! Craft Beer Now Available!”. How Badass is that? I love the new WA state liquor laws. Though, I did not get a growler fill. There was really nothing in the store I wanted to pick up. I mean I got a Deschutes Chain Breaker IPA, but that was it…

Until I noticed a 4 pack of Scottish Ales. I figured, “What is the worst that can happen from grabbing this?” Exactly. funny enough, I randomly look in my 1001 Beers book and Williams Brothers Brewing Company is in there and one of the ales listed is actually in this 4 pack.

Williams Brothers has a very interesting philosophy on ale. There is a lot of good information in the pamphlet they included but here are some highlights.

Heather Ale Ltd started as a crusade to revive the Scottish tradition of brewing ale from malt and heather flowers.

The variety of flavours has been forgotten-it’s hardly surprising that most of today’s beers taste the same, they are made with the same four ingredients. Rather than drinking a globally homogenised beer, we are trying to encourage you to try the flavour of the country which it is made. Reflect on why people used local flavours, biodiversity is a practical solution. Enjoy the taste of Scotland.

It talks a lot about ingredients that were used in beer to prior to the use of hops and how many of the materials are hand picked and frozen the same day for use throughout the year. Pretty exciting, I feel. It even tells when the ingredients for each ale were collected. There are 5 ales listed but only 4 in the pack. Damn. The one that is not in here, Kelpie, is a seaweed ale and I would love to find it.

I am just going with these in the order that I had them. So the first, Alba is Gaelic for “Scotland” and it is a Scots Pine Ale. A tawny brown strong ale with spruce and aroma, rich malt texture, complex wood flavour and lingering finish. Best drunk at room temperature from a wine goblet as an after dinner digestive. I pretty much ignored all the glass suggestions. Oh well. Though, I wish would have. Here is a little information from the brewery about this ale.

Introduced by the Vikings, spruce and pine ales were very popular in the Scottish Highlands until the end of the 19th Century. Many early explorers, including Captain Cook, used spruce ales during long sea voyages since it prevented scurvy and ill health.

So, I thought this ale had a sweet, alcoholic, and spicy nose. It tasted like tea to me and kind of drank like it too. Low carbonation, medium mouthfeel and 7.5%. Crazy, right? I am assuming that a lot of the flavors I got were from the spruce and pine. I have only had a couple of ales that used this before and it kind of reminded me of those but tasted nothing like them at the same time. This is very unique.

Next is the Grozet. Grozet is Auld Scots for “Gooseberry”. I have never experienced Gooseberries before so this works for me too. Trying new things, Score Yeah! This ale is brewed with Lager malt, wheat, bog myrtle, hops and meadowsweet, whatever that is? and then secondary fermented with Scottish Gooseberries. It goes on to say that it is described by the press as Light pale ale with champagne.

It had a really fruity nose. The bitterness was really light and the ale dries the mouth. You get some bready and fruity notes. I wish I knew what a gooseberry tasted like. I am assuming that is what I was tasting. Pretty great. A good down to earth ale at only 5%.

Ebulum: Elderberry Black Ale.

Introduced to Scotland by Welsh druids in the 9th Century, elderberry black ale was part of the Celtic Autumn festivals when the “elders” would make this strong ale and pass the drink round the people of the village.

Dark roasted, fruity nose. The flavor was really mellow throughout. A bit nutty and roasted on the back end.Another great ale at 6.5%. I spent a little time with this ale. Again though, what the hell is an Elderberry?

Beer Number 11: Fraoch Heather Ale. We are finally here! The information on this ale is pretty interesting too. I mean, it has to be with the importance the brewers put on it and all of the medals it has won.

(Pron: Fru-Och) is Gaelic for “Heather”

Into the boiling bree of malted barley, sweet gale and flowering heather are added, then after cooling slightly the hot ale is poured into a vat of fresh heather flowers where it infuses for an hour before being fermented.

My thoughts. I thought this one was great as well and it sat at 5%. I got nothing bad out of this set. That rarely happens. The nose was very complex. Floral notes of bubblegum, fruit, spice. The ale had a very clean taste. Lemony, Grassy, Herbal, toasty. It really coats the mouth. Loved it. I will for sure be trying to find these ales again. This brewery is amazing.

990 Bottles Of Beer To Go!


1001 Beers: Fraoch Heather Ale

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