Alley Kat Spruce Almighty

Reviewed by on June 28, 2016 in Local Heroes Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Alley Kat Brewing Company

  • Origin: Edmonton, AB, CA

  • Rated On: June 28, 2016

  • Best Before: December 23, 2016

  • ABV: 5.2%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Spruce Ale

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Spruce Almighty is the first in line of Alley Kat’s new ‘Back Alley Brews’ series, wherein they allow their brewer(s?) to do whatever it is that interests them. Here, that apparently means that they went into Edmonton’s river valley and plucked a near metric shit-ton of local spruce tips, to make this particular spruce beer – neat-o!  And great punny pop culture reference in the name, BTB!

This 650ml bottle pours a mostly clear, medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, rocky, and somewhat creamy off-white head, which leaves some layered splotchy and sudsy lace around the glass as it lazily recedes.

It smells of gritty and bready caramel malt, mixed conifer tree notes (pine, spruce, and sap), a subtle muddled citrus pith astringency, ethereal yeasty notes, and more leafy, weedy, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is bready and doughy pale malt, a lesser grainy caramel sweetness, some ephemeral yeasty notes, a weakening lemon and orange peel-led citrus edginess, and more consistent, if laid-back sprucey and piney green forest floor detritus.  The carbonation is quite active in its probing and otherwise sassy frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and more or less smooth, with a wee airy creaminess taking stage as things move away from those fridge temperatures. It finishes off-dry, the base house malt not about to cave in just yet, as per usual, with a now at least perceptible acrid green spruce needle thing sort of both assaulting and caressing my tongue – that’s a good thing, right?

Overall, this is a brew that, between its marketing hype, and its actual execution, pretty much works out flawlessly (but is still not godlike, unfortunately).  I’m getting a minorly scaled-back Full Moon Pale Ale character under the relatively benign spruced-up greenness, and that’s a-ok – it only makes for a pleasantly drinkable version of this (typically northern) pale ale sub-style. Go on and seek it out before it’s gone, is all I can further declare.

Brady White



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