Friday 23 December 2011

Local Beer Review: Garrison Spruce Beer

One thing we definitely have in abundance here in Nova Scotia is trees. While trees aren’t usually something you’d think about drinking these days, this wasn't always the case. Spruce beer has a long history in the Maritimes, dating back hundreds of years. Garrison Brewing Company revived this tradition in 2010, to great acclaim from local beer drinkers. As last years batch sold out within two days, it’s no surprise that they’re back with a 2011 offering. 

Officially released on Friday, Dec 16th, this batch also sold out in less than two days. While not amongst the diehards who stood in line, thanks to Earl, we were able to get our hands on a few bottles. As I had missed the boat last year, I was very much looking forward to trying it.

Just like drinking a Christmas tree!

The first thing I noticed upon pouring was the lack of strong spruce on the nose. I had somewhat expected it would be similar to being hit in the face with a tree branch. Instead, it was more subdued, with molasses shining through. As one of the ingredients, it's probably the molasses that gives this beer its beautiful dark red colour.  

Upon taking a long drink, the spruce definitely comes on strong at the start, but finishes with a good balance of hoppy bitterness. The beer has some body to it, but it's expected when packing 7.5% ABV. Despite the higher alcohol content, it remains fairly easy to drink, so consider yourself warned. One too many of these and the spruce trees might try to take revenge. 

All in all, Garrison's Spruce Beer is excellent, and has quickly become a new holiday tradition for Halifax beer drinkers. If you weren't lucky enough to get your hands on some last week, you might still be in luck... Garrison has announced that they will release another smaller batch after Christmas. I'll probably see you in line.


  1. 8.5%!? Mine only says 7.5% I'm returning my spruce for a refund!!!


  2. Ha, thanks for that... must have been confusing my ABVs between the Spruce and the H&T / Propeller Imperial ESB.