Saturday, October 20, 2012

Williams Brothers Brewing Company - Grozet

Scotland, specifically Edinburgh, has long been at the top of my traveling "wish-list" for the past couple years. This affinity to has ballooned thanks to a friend, we'll call, Bob. Bob's maternal family is from the northwest coast of Scotland and has told many tales of hiking, fishing, and "real ale". I cant wait for time when my wife and I are able to live out these tales.
The perfect place to begin living these tales would be at the Williams Brothers Brewery where I believe Bob's triumvirate of Scottish tales are both born and told. Williams Brothers Brewery specializes in real ale or cask ale in various Gruit styles. Gruit, an ancient beer made with herbs and spices before the introduction of hops, is indigenous to Scotland and the Williams Brothers are revitalizing this style of ale both within Scotland and abroad in the United States (Bruce Williams has appeared multiple times on Beer Sessions Radio promoting cask ales).  
Recently, I noticed a Williams Brothers product, Grozet that I had never seen before. Upon further inspection, this gooseberry infused ale sparked my interest so I decided to indulge. The beer was much lighter than I anticipated. It resembled a straw colored Berliner Weisse with its high level of carbonation. The two-finger head was light and bubbly with little retention leaving wisps across the surface of the beer.
I found it difficult to detect a substantiative aroma, which is most likely due to a cold serving temperature (stupid fridge!). The components of the aroma that I was able to detect were a slight musty fruit (grape?) that provided a wine-like quality and very light tartness.
The taste profile was very unique. An earthy bitterness overwhelmed my palate during my initial sips. This bitterness conjectured up images of fungi and decaying leaves on the forest floor. As my palate adapted to very unique bitterness, I began to search for the gooseberry. Unfortunately, the gooseberry was not as dominating as I would have hoped leaving me searching for almost non-existent tartness. As the beer warmed, the taste changed dramatically from a weird over-powering bitterness to a crisp, refreshing ale with a hint of lemon tartness. Having never experienced a bitterness in a beer like the one present in this gruit, I decided to do some research. This distinctive bitterness was the result of Bog Myrtle a natural herb in northwest Europe. Although this herb is an unique beer ingredient with an interesting flavor profile, I think Bog Myrtle and beer is dysfunctional partnership.
This gruit had a very light body with  an ample level of carbonation. Without this carbonation level, my overall impression of the beer would have fallen slightly because as the beer warmed the carbonation allowed the gooseberry to enter into the taste. I recommend this beer for the hammock on a hot and humid summer day without any time in the fridge allowing its real ale roots to shine through.