Review: Beau's Buenos Dias Gruit Ale
A gruit is an ancient style of beer brewed without hops back when hops weren't readily available. Instead of hops, the beer used a variety of herbs to give it the bitterness it needs. If you've never had a gruit before, well.. you're not the only one. Prior to Beau's Buenos Dias, the only other gruit I ever had in my life was the Gruit from New Belgium Brewing, and only in a flight sample so I don't even remember trying it.
We all know Beau's is pretty experimental when it comes to beer, and it's no surprise seeing that they're sourcing organic ingredients as much as possible so seeing an organic gruit is nothing out of the ordinary for this Vankleek Hill brewery. The beer is going to be arriving in Manitoba in upcoming days so I got the chance to check out this product at the Brandon Beer Festival before people in Winnipeg for once!
Appearance: Buenos Dias pours a lightly cloud straw yellow with a minimal amount of carbonation and a light amount of snow white head on top, mostly around the rim of the glass.
Aroma: The first thing I notice is hops but seeing that there's no hops being used in this beer, it's the herb mixture used that gives it a bit of a piney, sprucey and grassy aroma to it. Wait a minute.. looking at the label.. it does use hops - the perle variety.. so Beau's is a big fat phony (or not, they never said that it didn't have hops in first place).
Ahem.. back to the smelling notes.. I'm getting a slight hint of a gose-like aroma in there with a light sour Belgian blonde ale with a sprinkling of sea salt. Notes of lime, lemon and a hint of cucumber. The name is pretty fitting so far because it reminds me of Cinco de Mayo quite a bit so far.
Taste: Reminiscent of a saison as I'm getting mostly citrusy, yeasty notes up front at the beginning - notes of lemon, lime, a light grassiness and a whole lot of herbal. The herbal notes are reminiscent of the aroma but more of a spruce and cucumber sort of flavour to it. There's a light sour bite that's reminiscent to a specific saison I used to love.. but I can't put my finger on which saison. Mild amount of saltiness like a gose. It's fairly light on the palate and easy to drink considering all I'm tasting - no wonder why it was a hit at the Brandon Beer Festival!
Overall Thoughts: A solid gruit with some herbal notes to it, some notes in there that remind me of saisons and gose and a lot of citrusy goodness that makes this beer perfect for the patio on Cinco de Mayo. I was expecting this beer to have no hops in it seeing that the traditional Gruit didn't contain hops, but hey.. it's current year, hops are plentiful now!