Daniel Girard, the Brewmaster at the Garrison Brewing Co. dropped me a line yesterday informing me that he and another Garrison brewer (Qian) would be heading out to one of their hopyards, Meander River Farms, to pick over a dozen bags of spruce tips for a new beer he was brewing today - a strong Spruce Beer.
If you head over to Garrison's Facebook page you can view images of Girard and Qian at the farm cutting the spruce tips and then back at the brewery while they make the beer.
This is Girard's second spruce beer, but first since brewing with Garrison. The beer uses the outer 4-6 inches of spruce and fir branches for aroma and flavours plus molasses and dates for sugars.
President Brian Titus had this to say about the new beer, "...like running naked through an Acadian forest - pretty intense!"
The brewery plans to have some bottled by next weekend and it's intended to come in at 7.5%. "Definitely a traditional ale essentially using what was available at the time. Dark with some residual sweetness, should make for a rich and intensely flavourful mid-winter brew," said Titus.
From the label:
At Halifax, spruce beer was the big commodity and thought to be a very good beverage for the men... Will be Brewed for the Health and conveniency of the Troops, which will be ferved at prime coft... it is made of the tops and branches of the spruces-tree, boiled for three hours, then strained into casks... 5 Quarts of Mollaffes will be put into every Barrel of Spruce Beer... as soon as cold, it is fit for use... while encamped at Halifax the soldiers drank great quantities of spruce beer, "the allowance was two quarts per day to each man, or three gallons and an half week, for which he paid seven pence... the Seamen always continue healthy and active when drinking spruce Beer."