Parallel 49 Mr. Needles Fir Pale Ale

Reviewed by on December 14, 2015 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Parallel 49 Brewing Company

  • Origin: Vancouver, BC, CA

  • Rated On: December 14, 2015

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 5.0%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Flavoured Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Mr. Needles is part of the 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar, a joint effort once again between Parallel 49 and Central City brewing. Brewed with real fir trees, apparently, in a straight-up ode to one of the more pungent essences of the Christmas tradition.

This 341ml bottle pours a clear, medium bronzed amber colour, with three healthy fingers of puffy, rocky, and slightly bubbly ecru head, which leaves some decent dissipating cloud pattern lace around the glass as it slowly bleeds off.

It smells of fir tree needles, that much is very true, all green and acrid and compelling, with a bit of appropriate dirty earthiness, and maybe a suggestion of some grainy and mildly caramelized malt. The taste is replete with a resinous pine tree bitterness, somewhat biscuity caramel malt, a weird sense of aggravated yeast, and some further earthy, leafy, and perfumed floral acerbity. The carbonation is fairly understated in its barely palpable frothiness, the body on the light side of yer typical middleweight, and not particularly smooth, as chewing on pine needles does have that certain effect, don’t it? It finishes dry, earthy, pine needle-y, and faintly grainy.

Well, truth in advertising, this certainly has, as it seems that they bought the local Christmas tree lot right out, chopped them all up, and let them steep throughout the whole bloody brew cycle. No doubt, this will be a love it or hate it sort of deal, but for me, I’m partial to it, because I heart the smell of the real tree in our living room right now, but I have yet to go beyond simply smelling it – so, thanks, P49!

Brady White

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