Let the Gruit Times Roll from Railway City Brewing Company in St. Thomas, Ontario pours a clear golden-amber colour with a fairly small but creamy white head that gets retained as a soapy film and small collar. The smell of rosemary pops from this spiced, un-hopped ale against a backdrop of sweet malts that carries notes of honey and caramel.
The blend of rosemary, sage and black cumin dominates the taste of Let the Gruit Times Roll. The brew is particularly dry and peppery at first and in the finish, while a light and syrupy sweetness comes through on the tongue to lighten things up. The mouthfeel is on the thick and viscous side and carbonation is minimal. The sage and black cumin notes hang around in the aftertaste.
This Imperial gruit from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is a murky, steely dark brown colour with a frothy tan head that is retained as a thick collar and leaves spotty lacing. The Bogfather has a somewhat medicinal smell and cacophony of aromas that evolve as it warms, including raisin, hazelnut, sharp herbs, root beer, anise, bread crust and bubblegum.
The taste of The Bogfather is just as complex. Flavours off chocolate, black licorice, toast, herbs, tart red berries and plum can all be detected. This beer is full bodied, with mild carbonation and a yeasty pop on the tongue. The finish is somewhat bitter and a bit salty, with lingering dark bread and bubblegum notes in the aftertaste.
The Legendary Spring Oddity from Muskoka Brewery in Bracebridge, Ontario pours a clear, light golden colour with a medium sized and frothy white head that has good retention and leaves some spotty lacing. The smell of this seasonal hybrid ale is like a spiced-up Belgian tripel. An almost sour, apple-like aroma is joined by hints of the heather tips, juniper berries and orange zest used in the brewing process and backed by a sweet caramel aroma and a soft yeast tone.
The Legendary Spring Oddity has a crisp and spicy taste with a lot going on. Apples, soapy and floral hops, toasted light grains and berries are backed up by a solid yeast character. The ale is full-bodied with a medium carbonation level. There is a nice pop on the tongue, then a yeasty, biscuit-like feeling. The finish is dry and the aftertaste has a lingering sweetness that becomes more prevalent after warming, followed by the melange of spices and a subtle hint of alcohol.
The appearance of Bog Water from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario certainly lives up to its name. This gruit ale pours a murky, sludgy rust red and copper brown mixture with an off-white head that burns off almost immediately, leaving a thin ring and almost no lace. Bog Water has a very smooth and appealing aroma anchored by earthy grains, grasses and malts. Sweet flowers, raisin, banana, spices and a bit of an overripe pear note also come through.
Bog Water tastes of honey sweetened flowers with a syrupy malt backing. A solid bitterness takes over, then grassy and flowery tones come through in the finish. The wild ale is medium-bodied with a very low carbonation, with both syrupy and yeasty qualities noticeable on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter, with a floral taste and a sort of medicinal quality.