Beer of the Week 1/22/11 to 1/28/11
This week's Beer of the Week is a bit out of the ordinary. The girl and I went to a traditional Burn's Supper, and while enjoying our haggis, neeps, and tatties (I'm not swearing at you, I promise!), we drank Scottish Williams Brothers Brewing Fraoch Heather Ale.
Heather is one of Scotland's beloved national symbols. It grows wild all over the country, and turns the landscape purple when it flowers in the summer. There are over 5 million acres of it! Rarer white heather is considered lucky, and a sprig of it is often worn for good fortune.
The Williams Brothers website describes their ale and how they infuse it with this flower:
Brewed in Scotland since 2000 B.C. heather ale is probably the oldest style of ale still produced in the world. From an ancient Gaelic recipe for "leann fraoich" (heather ale) it has been revived and reintroduced to the Scottish culture.While reading that, you might have thought, "Beer brewed with heather? That could be really floral!". However, this is definitely not the case. You can taste the heather, but it's not overpowering. On the other hand, the beer is not quite as drinkable as others I've recommended here because of its dry finish.
Into the boiling bree of malted barley, sweet gale and flowering heather are added, then after cooling slightly the hot ale is poured into a vat of fresh heather flowers where it infuses for an hour before being fermented.
Fraoch is not available in many liquor stores or restaurants, so if you do see it, pick up a bottle and give it a try!