This, the 2nd of this month’s shipment from Beer of the Month Club, is the one that I’m most intrigued by. This is a Scottish ale brewed with gooseberry and wheat. Now, I lived in Scotland for a bit, so I have an appreciation for some of the great ales they put out (I’m still holding out for some imported 80 shilling in the States – it’s a poor man’s dark beer in Scotland, but man did I have some good times with that stuff). Furthermore, I’m a big fan of wheat ales. However, I’ve never had a Scottish wheat ale, and I’ve definitely never had any ale made with gooseberries (I don’t even know what a gooseberry is!). So, all things considered, this beer is going to mean a lot of firsts for me.
The beer pours a light golden color with just the slightest, almost imperceptible, reddish tint to it. The aroma of this is quite unique – it’s a thick fruity sweet aroma with some tanginess to it. It reminds me of some sort of sour gummy fruit candy from my childhood whose name I cannot immediately recall. In the mouth, this has the soft mouthfeel of a good German hefeweizen, and the wheaty sweetness that goes along with it. However, the flavor is layered with a unique fruity flavor that is both sweet and a little bit sour. Since I’m not familiar with a gooseberry, I can’t really tell you what one tastes like. However, in this beer, the flavor is sharp and not at all cloying. It’s just a candy-like fruitiness that sits on top of a rather standard wheat ale. The aftertaste gets quite strong for a short moment before and pushes into the nasal cavity. Then, it quickly diminishes into a light remainder at the back of the throat. Honestly, this wasn’t at all like I expected. Instead of a traditional fruit beer, this one hit me with a much sharper and candy-like tanginess that, while tasty, took a bit of getting used to. In fact, my first impressions were quite disappointing. However, after finishing this one up, I’ve decided that it is actually very good and maybe a bit more thirst-quenching than other beers of vaguely similar variety. On top of this, the beer has some excellent label art that was apparently courtesy of students at the Glasgow School of the Arts – well done!