Vankleek Hill, Ontario – The shortest day of the year will still have something for Eastern Ontario craft beer fans to look forward to: Beau’s Brewery will be marking the winter solstice, December 22, with the launch of a new year-round series of gruits (herbal ales). The Gruit Series kicks off with the return of Beau’s first-ever gruit ale brewed, Bog Water. It will be available on the release date from the Beau’s Brewery, and will arrive a bit later (mid-January) in LCBO stores in Ontario.
Beau’s Gruit Series takes inspiration from centuries-old brewing tradition; a time before the Bavarian Purity Act of 1516 that declared that all beer be made solely with barley, hops, and water. In gruit ales, herbs, spices and other botanicals replace a dominant hop character, throwing open the door to experimentation. Each gruit in this series will be featured for three months, and will have a unique combination of ingredients and flavours.
Bog Water gruit is brewed with hand-harvested organic bog myrtle, a deciduous shrub native to Northern Ontario and Québec. The bog myrtle contributes a sweet aroma, balanced bitterness, and herbal, spicy notes suggestive of a digestif. A Belgian yeast profile makes Bog Water a very complex and contemplative 6.6% winter ale.
“We’re super-excited to launch this new series at Beau’s. There’s so much creativity that brewing gruit ales allows us,” says Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne. “It also lets us highlight organic ingredients that were harvested locally, such as the bog myrtle in Bog Water. We’ve brought in 200 kilos of organic bog myrtle for us to brew gruits with this year, along with local spruce tips, and a supply of locally harvested Labrador tea.”
Beau’s Brewery has made a name for itself in brewing these historically inspired gruit ales, and on February 1 will celebrate International Gruit Day 2016. Like-minded breweries around the world with an interest in brewing with botanicals will celebrate the occasion along with Beau’s by brewing a gruit recipe, and raising a glass to the rare style that day.
Bog Water gruit will be available beginning Dec. 22 at Beau’s Brewery in Vankleek Hill, or in Ottawa via BYBO, a social enterprise run by Operation Come Home (www.BYBO.ca). LCBOs throughout Ontario will begin stocking it in mid-January. Featuring a new label design (photo below), it will be sold in Beau’s signature 600 ml bottles at a price of $5.25. Select restaurants and pubs will also pour Bog Water on draught.