Tis the season for Christmas trees, so why not drink a beer with spruce tips in it? The next beer in Harpoon’s 100 Barrel Series – Spruce Tip Ale brewed using spruce tips harvested from Vermont’s Downer State Forest.
The spruce tips were used in the same way finishing hops are used – in the boil and the whirlpool.
From the press release:
Harpoon Vermont brewer Tom Graham created the recipe and brewed this 100 Barrel Series beer. “I first got the idea for this beer when reading a great book called ‘The Homebrewer’s Garden.’ When spring finally came to Vermont, my wife and I gathered a pound of spruce tips and I brewed a homebrew batch using them,” says Tom. “I was pretty pleased with the results so I shared the beer with my colleagues here at the brewery. From there it blossomed into this 100 Barrel Series beer.”
Sourcing the spruce tips was no easy task. It required collaboration with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and a team of enthusiastic spruce pickers. Harpoon staff and members of the brewery’s customer loyalty program, Friends of Harpoon, volunteered to help collect the spruce tips from Downer State Park over several days in the spring.
In order to maintain the spruce tips’ freshness until they were to be used for the brew, Harpoon’s long-time friends at the Vermont Foodbank offered to lend their airtight food preservation system. In appreciation of the Foodbank’s support, for every pound of spruce tips that were harvested Harpoon made a $10 donation to the Foodbank. In total, 212 pounds of spruce tips were harvested and the brewery made a donation in the amount of $2,120 to the Foodbank.
Like this beer’s 100 Barrel Series predecessor, the Catamount Maple Wheat, the Vermont Spruce Tip Ale celebrates Vermont and the craft beer drinking culture that thrives there. In June of 2000, Harpoon purchased a brewing facility in Windsor, VT and brews roughly 40% of their annual barrelage in the state. Visitors are welcome daily to visit the brewery in Windsor and sample Harpoon’s locally-brewed beers straight from the source.
Style: Winter Warmer
Taste Expectations (Per Harpoon): The spruce tips impart citrus, pine, spice, herbal and earthy notes. A host of malts, a hint of roasted barley and generous use of Chinook hops complement the unique spruce flavor.
Availability: 22oz bombers, limited draft.