Monday, December 19, 2011

Here's Mud in Your Eye!

A few years ago, I remember visiting the Canadian Museum of Civilization and seeing an exhibit that showed some well-preserved Stone-Age artifacts, including a perfectly preserved person. Lori and I, at the time, exclaimed that if you wanted something to be kept intact, you simply threw it in the bog.

Well, the folks at Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill—just east of Ottawa—pride themselves on crafting organic, all-natural suds, so it would be unthinkable to add any preservatives to their creations. But then again, a bog is all-natural, isn't it?

This week's tasting is Beau's seasonal beer, Bog Water. The name comes from a bog in Alfred, Ontario (not far from Vankleek Hill), which is some 10,000 years old and is home to many endangered and rare wildlife. Instead of using hops in this beer, Beau's uses sweet gale, a wild bog myrtle, to create a unique style of beer, which they've named Eastern Ontario Gruit.

Here is the skinny on this unique brew:
Beau's All Natural Bog Water
Vankleek Hill, ON
LCBO: $4.35; 600 ml
6.6% alc/vol

Pouring this beer from the bottle to my glass, I couldn't help but notice the murkiness of this gruit. Holding my glass to the light, I found the colour a rich, deep, caramel amber (see photo, below). My glass held right against the light, it was obvious that no filtering is performed before bottling. And that's just fine. The appearance can be compared to bog water. Appropriate.

On the nose is a distinct yeasty aroma with traces of citrus-like fruit. This fruit carries through on the palate and intensifies with a plumy sweetness and a caramel finish, plus a bit of heat from the alcohol. Though the alcohol level is not as high as some beers I've tasted lately, I found it most distinctive in the Bog Water.

This is an earthy beer with a bit of a wild side. From its name to its appearance, to its unique style, and finally to its unique taste, this is a seasonal beer that must be preserved.

And by preserved, I mean kept in my repertoire of beers, while it lasts. This is not a beer that you'd want to throw in the bog.

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