Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Beer! Williams Brothers Fraoch Heather Ale

I apologize for the lack of posts the past few weeks.  As many of you know, I got married on Father's Day.  The lead up to and wind down from the wedding has meant lots of work at home as well as many extra hours at work just to keep up.  Soon, however,  you will see posts with lots of wedding pictures and the start of a series detailing exactly how we made the wedding work, including specific details as to how to plan a wedding with the minimal amount of stress.  I'll also be finishing up a post that I'll be submitting to A Practical Wedding, which Katie and I are really hoping they'll post.  For those who have been anxiously awaiting wedding information and pictures, read all of the way through this post and you'll be treated with a reward.

Previously, I've reviewed another of the Williams Brothers brews, their Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale.  If you missed that review, you can read it here.  The Fraoch is another of the Williams Brothers beers, and another based on an ancient Scottish recipe.

Would it be a beer review if I didn't share some flavor text?

"Fraoch is Scotland's native ale.  Heather ale has been brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C.  Brewed using heather flowers and Scottish malt, it has a distinctive floral aroma, full malt character, and a dry wine-like finish.  As one of the oldest styles of ale in the world, there are many legends and folklore surrounding it."
 Personally, I think the bottle's flavor text is a bit lame.  Here's some better information from the Williams Brothers website.
"Brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C. heather ale is probably the oldest style of ale still produced in the world. From an ancient Gaelic recipe for "leann fraoich" (heather ale) it has been revived and reintroduced to the Scottish culture. 
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.

A light amber ale with floral peaty aroma, full malt character, a spicy herbal flavour and dry wine like finish.

Recommended with : Rich and Spicy foods

Drink slightly chilled from a fluted glass. 5% abv"

Fraoch is a semi-opaque golden beer with a light head, roughly one finger thick.  It smells light and somewhat of citrus, with a light caramel note.  The color measures in at about 10 on the SRM scale, which is the same classification as a bass pale ale.  The state abv from the brewery is 5%, which puts it right in line with most of the lighter microbrews.  

Heather is a small perennial shrub commonly found throughout Scotland.  It blooms small purple/pink flowers arranged in large groupings at the end of branches, much in the same way that lilac does in the U.S.  

 The heather flowers used in the brewing impart a very slight flavor on the beer.  Just as the brewery describes, there's a nice spicy undertone to the flavor as well.  This spice isn't the type of capsaicin fueled burn of good hot wings, but more of the well balanced spicy of good Moroccan food.  The flavor is well balanced, light, and continually enjoyable.  I recommend this beer for anybody interested in starting to expand their beer drinking, but a bit nervous about straying too far from what they already know.

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