EtTuCthulhu (1385) - Columbia, Missouri, USA - DEC 23, 2012
4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
The aroma of this beer is quite muted, but there are hints of vanilla, roasted malts, and herbal hops, and the color is a cloudy golden yellow with a prominent white head that dissipates quickly. Once sipped, this beer is of a medium bitterness and a light sweetness, but the lively carbonation makes for an earthy tasting beer. The finish is slightly bitter, and the medium body is quite nice.
mensch (280) - 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.
CharmCityCrab (212) - 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.
garrison (792) - Cin. city, Ohio, USA - DEC 10, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Alright, I got this one as part Magic Hat’s 2012 Winter Variety 12 pack, and was surprised its label as an "ESB with SPRUCE". Well, it poured a grainy smelling amber brew that had a fine bubbled head of white foam, with good lacing. Tastewise, I find the hops and spruce presenting an interesting combo upfront, balancing well with the malts into a "grassy" flavor.
zoucrew102 (905) - - DEC 31, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Slightly hoppy with spruce notes for the aroma. Light amber color with a decent head. Hoppy with a fairly smooth piney finish.
---Rated via Beer Buddy for iPhone
Drake (10703) - 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.
Aggie80 (790) - Michigan, USA - MAY 3, 2013
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Caught me off guard! Orange tea color with a weak head and no lacing. Smooth flavor with just a hint of the spruce in the aftertaste. Solid malt flavor with the expected sourness of an ESB.
williamstome (1394) - Somerville, Massachusetts, USA - OCT 26, 2012
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Orange pour, medium white head.. sweet malty, sprucy aroma. Tastes like a christmas tree! Really neat hopping. Yum.
thornecb (4877) - 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.
wlajwl (4695) - Quad Cities, Iowa, USA - DEC 16, 2012
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Aroma is hops, a hint of the spruce and mildly sweet malts. The flavor is spruce/mint, malts and a mildly tart finish.