Tofino Spruce Tree Ale

Reviewed by on August 11, 2016 in Summer Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Tofino Brewing Company

  • Origin: Tofino, BC, CA

  • Rated On: August 11, 2016

  • Best Before: N/A

  • ABV: 6.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cold to cool

  • Style: Spruce Ale

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

Tofino Brewing comes to us from the Pacific ocean side of Vancouver Island, and this is their spruce ale, with a nice description on the label of the island forest experience, especially the ‘And rain. So much rain’ coda. Ha!

This 650ml bottle pours a clear, bright medium copper amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly ecru head, which leaves some random stringy lace around the glass as it slowly and evenly subsides.

It smells of bready and crackery pale malt, some soft caramel/toffee sweetness, a bit of dry earthy chalkiness, subtle green piney acerbities, and more floral, leafy, and wet grassy hop bitters.  The taste is zingy spruce and pine resin, bready and doughy caramel malt, a hint of edgy yeast, some tropical-leaning muddled dark fruitiness, and additional leafy, weedy, and floral green hoppiness.  The carbonation is quite tame in its lolling-about frothiness, the body a decent middleweight, and mostly smooth, just a wee green, let’s just say pea pod, thing doing its usual disservice to the proverbial princess here.  It finishes off-dry, the complex base malt standing strong, as the various green forest and unheralded fruity characters head to ground.

Overall, a rather tasty and engaging bitter ale – if they hadn’t mentioned (or named the thing after it, for that matter) that this was a spruce beer, I would have just assumed that it was an IPA made with some experimental new hop that exhibits pine and sundry esters.  Whatever, it’s pretty good, with the spruce taking a supporting, instead of leading role.

Brady White



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