Today’s guest review comes courtesy Chuck, author of the beer blog beerbirrabier. Chuck’s blog is new; at the time of me writing this, the blog is only 4 months old. From his review, I can tell he knows a whole hell of a lot about beer…definitely more than I do. I still don’t know what “peat” flavor is. But I digress. Chuck is a keen home brewer, beer writer and lover of all things beery, so he sounds like my kind of guy! If you want, you can also connect with him on Twitter.
Relatively speaking, the use of hops as a bittering and flavoring agent in beer is a modern one. Four thousand years ago, the Scottish were using Heather and Myrtle to brew beer with. Fraoch – pronounced Frooch – is a Heather ale that dates back to The Picts; a confederation of tribes that ruled Scotland in the ninth Century.
Williams Brother’s Fraoch is produced to a sixteenth Century Gaelic recipe, using Malted Barley, Heather and Myrtle.
The beer pours a light copper-orange color with a medium sized, loose, white head. On the nose you’re instantly greeted with something that’s foreign to the standard beer taster’s repertoire. It’s overtly floral but in an unusual way. Behind that floral aroma you then get notes of peaty malt and earthy herbs.
When you taste the beer you first get a slight sweetness on the tip of the tongue. This quickly moves aside to make way for a floral punch and then delicate lemon. The Peat and Earth in the aroma come through and build to a moderate bitterness, before this is swept aside and finished off by a slightly spicy ending; that reminded me of warming ginger.
This beer is different to anything else. You might be programmed to expect pale and hoppy, but that’s not what you get. It’s floral, it’s herby and it’s fresh. The Heather gives a wonderful wild feeling to everything, making it impossible not to think of the country side and rolling hills of Scotland.
Whilst is won’t be for everyone, if you’re looking for something different or if you’re intrigued by the history of Heather ale, give this one a try. It’s deliciously different.