A beer called Liquid Christmas and brewed with spruce tips might sound anything but traditional, but spruce tips have been used in brewing for centuries, with the earliest usages on record coming from ancient Scandinavia.
Liquid Christmas IPA from Dunedin’s Caledonia Brewing is the most traditional offering in a trio of holiday-themed beers, with Pour Gingie gingerbread ale and Tartan cranberry berliner making up the balance.
Liquid Christmas looks like an ordinary IPA, sparkling and golden, with a delicate white froth. The beer doesn’t smell piney, as you might expect; rather, it’s floral and citrus-forward with a soft bouquet.
The flavor is also a surprise: instead of the sharp, resiny tastes you might expect, there are sweet flavors contributed by both the hops and spruce. Additional berry and tangerine notes give the beer a subtle, candy-like finish — almost fruitcake-esque, if we’re sticking to the holiday theme.
The beer is still an IPA, of course, so there’s a modest bitterness in the mix, which provides a firm backbone to balance the sweet and fruit flavors. The final result is an immensely pleasant and festive brew, perfect for ushering in the holiday season.
Try Liquid Christmas on draft while it lasts at Caledonia’s tasting room at 587 Main St. in Dunedin. The beer was brewed at double the amount of last year’s batch due to the high demand, but it will still likely kick before the end of the month.
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