KajII (799) - Macon, North Carolina, USA - DEC 6, 2012
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 11/20
12oz Bottle. The pour was a clear medium amber with a large (2-3 finger) white fluffy head that mostly diminished, down to a thin puddled layer of residue and small collar with fair streaky lacing.
The aroma was very mild of a light grain malt, mild pine hops and an earthy cobweb yeast with notes of caramel, dust, a light spiciness and a just a very light hint of spruce tips.
The taste was a bit malty with a light caramel sweetness from the get go, and then became a tad bitter with a mild hoppy presence and a spicy wood taste towards the end. The flavor lasted an average time proceeding the swallow with a slightly bitter woody taste left behind to linger in the taste buds.
Mouthfeel was a little beyond light in body and dry in texture with a carbonation that was just past soft in intensity.
Overall this brew did not have a strong spruce presence in the aroma, but offered it up nicely with a woody bitter taste at the finish...
Beaver (1404) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - DEC 5, 2012
2.9 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 oz bottle. Pours a clear reddish gold with a small off white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.
The aroma is sweet biscuity caramel malts, honey, some fruit and a little spruce that comes out as it warms.
The flavor is sweet bready malts that quickly is dominated by a big spruce bitterness. The mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied and a bit watery.
Overall, interesting one-dimensional spruce beer.
mensch (264) - Loveland, Colorado, USA - DEC 3, 2012
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Surprisingly pale, yellow with a slight orange tint. Lacy white foam. Subtle aroma, sweet pine and a little lemon. Light bodied, full flavored. Nice carmel malts blend with plenty of hop bitters and the dry sticky spruce. Very well made, different but safe.
BrewMoose (83) - Florida, USA - DEC 2, 2012
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12oz bottle. Pours dark golden with a thin white head. Aromas of pine and lemon. Citrus pine woody caramel favors. Woody floral aftertaste.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
thornecb (4690) - Marblehead, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 26, 2012
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours gold into a Sam glass. White head with good retention recedes to skim surface. Sweet caramel, grass and wood aromas. Dry with earthy caramel upfront turning to sweet marshmallow before the mild bitter twig finish.
UncleKorm (998) - Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA - NOV 20, 2012
1.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 2/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 4/20
Bottle poured a clear amber w/ a thin white quickly diminishing head and good lacing. Moderate aromas of bread and spruce. Flavor is moderate acidic initially and a heavy bitter finish. Taste is pine sap, so overhanded it overshadows any other taste to this beer. I’ve had spruce tip beers before & they can provide a nice crisp taste to a beer, this beer however it is overkill. Medium bodied, creamy texture, fizzy carbonation and heavy astringent mouthfeel.
craig220 (313) - Crofton, Maryland, USA - NOV 19, 2012
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Poured a clear golden orange with a thin white head. Aroma is caramel, bread, spruce, and floral. Taste is like pine needles and caramel... odd. Feel is light bodied with fizzy carbonation.
drcboehm (87) - New Jersey, USA - NOV 17, 2012
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 oz. Bottle. Winter craft pack. Drinkable with nice hop tones but that’s about it. Overall tasty.
Drake (9999) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - NOV 16, 2012
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
12 ounce bottle, Winterland pack, from Whole Foods Market Charlottesville. Pours a clear light amber color with a medium sized creamy white head. Decent head retention. Aroma of spruce, mint and caramel malts. The taste is spruce, mint, earth, tea, caramel malts and a bitter finish. Medium bodied. Decent.
CharmCityCrab (188) - Maryland, USA - NOV 10, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Oh, hey, a craft ESB. Haven’t seen one of these on the shelves at a decent price or in a mix pack for a long time- not since Sierra Nevada ditched their ESB. Had an import non-craft ESB at a gathering, and it wasn’t the same- the base was there, but not the springy piney hops. Magic Hat’s take on an ESB has the base, and some spring piney type hops on top (Not a ton of them, but enough to be noticeable and evoke spring), plus real honest to goodness spruce from, presumably, trees. Spruce! I love it.
Not saying this is the best beer ever or anything, but I was excited to see the style in their winter mix pack, because the style just isn’t available from widely distributed reasonably priced craft brewers anymore, typically. Wouldn’t mind seeing it in it’s own 6-pack, even! And, hey- spruce!
I think of these as being spring beers, but I’ll take it in a winter mix pack. The spring mix packs come out in winter now anyway, so what’s the difference, really? Drinking it in late fall out of a winter mix pack feels more like spring than drinking it January out of a spring mix pack.