Saturday, November 17, 2012

Earth Eagle Brewings: William Wallace gruit

Type: Gruit
Origin: Portsmouth, NH
Price: $8/L
ABV: 5.5%
NSP: 6.9

Earth and eagle brewings is Portsmouth's newest brewery which opened to the public today. Deborah and I stopped in to hit their tasting room at about 3pm and the place was hopping. 

Unfortunately, I think these gentlemen were victims of their own popularity today, since the tasting room wasn't large enough to accomodate the crowds and there was a 30 minute line to get in the door. If I was running a brewery, I'd want to have maybe 10x overflow capacity for my opening day so that everyone could get their fest on, but maybe the local rules don't allow that sort of thing. Between the brewery floor, the attached home brew mart, and the hallway leading to the two, there was probably like ~3-5x as much space in the building as the official tasting room. So anyway, we said: damn this wait and got a growler to go instead.

These guys apparently specialize in gruits, and based on my prior experiences with juniper flavored beers, I thought I'd take a swing at this one of their six on tap. The pour had some fizz, no head, and was pretty clouded as it appears to be unfiltered. The biggest difference between this and other juniper beers I've had  was the carbonation: bubbles! So many of those are badly flat, but this one was pretty spot on. It sort of has that weird hop-less gruit taste, but that's growing on me as I go. The juniper is more prominent than the other juniper beers I've had. 

There's also heather in here for flavor, which I'm not so familiar with so I had to look up what to expect for flavor. My first googling dug up no flavor info, but I learned that heather is an antiseptic (similar to hops), and a vasoconstrictor (counteracting the alcohol...), and also that it is a feminine plant from the planet Venus with rain-making powers. Apparently it is also used to bring good luck and guard against sexual crimes. I'm glad to know that the beer I'm drinking helps to prevent that sort of stuff... with the exception of naiad burgling (seriously, oglaf is awesome, see below). There needs to be more naiad burgling in the world. Right... back to the flavor. Look, after more googling all I can find is that heather tastes like herb, but there's nothing explosively new to me or herbal in this beer so maybe I can't taste it?

Otherwise the beer has a great body, and is not over malty like so many east coast brews I've run into. There's an awesome nutty flavor which beats the hell out of most brown ales I've had, the only other beer variety I think generally qualifies as nutty. Even with no hops it's nicely balanced, so I'll definitely be back for more. Maybe tomorrow for their IPA... there is life beyond hops, but hops are so damn tasty that it is tough to leave them for long.


  1. If you go back, I definitely recommend checking out the Exhilaration which is another gruit, or the Red Ryder, a rye amber ale. I'm excited to see these guys get off the ground. really unique/quality offerings

  2. Nice review. One thing though... Is it weird for me to get a boner reading a beer review?