Style: Cucumber Lime Gruit
Appearance: Exceptionally cloudy. Opaque. It looks like a glass of gold/straw yellow grapefruit juice.
Aroma: Bright lime notes pop out before the scent of pear and cucumber come through. Mild bready malt is in the background.
Flavor: Lots of cucumber and lime. This finishes with biscuit and corn notes. It’s like eating a cucumber lime soup in a bread bowl. Hints at white pepper and has a snap of celery flavor near the finish.
Mouthfeel: Low to medium carbonation with a balanced body. Not dry and yet not acidic. Sincerely right in the middle.
Aftertaste: In the finish I’m getting strong notes of biscuity bread followed by a last push of lime and cucumber.
Food Accompaniment: While I didn’t consume this with food, an hors d’oeuvre of cracked pepper crackers and a mild fish dip would be a perfect pairing. I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty wonderful with this beer. That lime and cucumber will latch onto the fish and brighten it, while the dairy and fatty characters of the dip will mellow out the brightness of the Gruit while still working with the malty flavors of it as well. The cracked pepper on the crackers? Well, it could be overpowering, but I think it would break up the whole thing quite nicely. It would add a third layer to this weird concoction.
Overall Impression: This is a novelty beer. Would I seek this out again? I don’t see that happening (not that I could anyway because of the availability) but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Would I recommend you order it at HopCat and try it out with friends? Yes. Why not, right? Novelty beers have their place, and if you are looking for something mildly refreshing and you want to mess with your normal palate experience, I say go for it.
Besides, not many people attempt a Gruit — a historical take on beer because back in the day they didn’t use hops to balance the malt or preserve their beer. Instead, it was mandatory for brewers to use this concoction called ‘gruit’ which was an undisclosed mixture of spices and herbs so they could balance the malt and flavor their beer. However, the state and the church owned this recipe and made it mandatory for brewers to use gruit in beer in order to call it beer and sell it.
Overall, it’s a fun idea and it certainly has been the strangest thing that I’ve enjoyed in a few days.