Around 2009 when I was first getting into the crazy world of beer Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Garrison Brewing was one of the first interesting Canadian microbreweries to hit Alberta shelves. At the time the craft beer available in Alberta was mostly limited to German, English and the local Canadian breweries. A few American microbreweries would soon enter the scene. Garrison was one of my favourite breweries because of their flagship East Coast Pale Ale and their good seasonal brews like their high alcohol Barley wine and Baltic Porter. After the saturation of the market with tons of European and American breweries Garrison fell by the wayside a bit with so many choices for interesting brews. The Garrison Spruce Beer is an interesting style with an incredible mixture of ingredients. Brewed with spruce and fir tips, blackstrap molasses, dates, oats and high alpha acid Citra hops. The Spruce Beer has a moderate 35 IBU’s and an ABV of 7.5%.
Pouring out a dark, ebony black with burgundy hues in the body and a finger of light tan head on top. There are several blotches of beige lacing left all over the glass. The aroma is spiked with floral and medicinal aromas of spruce and fir needles. Notes of caramel, toffee and molasses and a nice toasted malt base. The first sip has a syrupy sweetness with light notes of dark fruit like dates, prunes or raisins. A good dark malt base with toffee and toasty caramel malt notes. The spruce notes come in towards the finish along with the moderate hit of Citra hops. Medicinal and herbal flavours with a light minty note are left on the finish with mild astringency and bitterness. A nice blend of styles with an ingenuity in the ingredients that is rare in beers like this. The citra hops and dates add a nice complement and contrast to the dark malts and spruce notes. An interesting brew that also ends up being incredibly tasty.