I had a bad feeling when Cinabar came up to me with an excited sadistic grin on her face in the Westmorland Service Station. She had something clearly hidden in one hand behind her back. Admittedly I was expecting something laced with chilli or some fluffy animal, rather than oddly flavoured ale. This Gooseberry and Wheat Ale was brewed by Williams Brothers Brewing Company, in Alloa, Scotland. A brewer that’s sheer quality and diversity of beverages I have recently become acquainted with. I took one look at the bottle and thought, “well how bad can it be?” This 5% volume blond wheat ale was served in a 330ml bottle. Further information found from a leaflet that Cinabar passed to me stated that this ale was brewed with lager malt, wheat, bog myrtle, which is a native herb to Scotland, hops and meadowsweet, and then secondary fermented with Scottish gooseberries. In old Scottish “Grozet” means gooseberry, and originates from the Gaelic word “Groseid”. This type of ale has been brewed since the 16th Century by Scottish monks and alewives (who sound like the best kind of wife!). A blend of malts, wild spice and ripe gooseberries were mixed together to brew the ale. Third year students at the Glasgow School of Arts designed the image on the label for a project, basing it on a first millennium Celtic maze design.
Chiding myself for my initial negativity, I decided to try this ale in the early spring time for its refreshing blond ale reputation. After leaving my bottle of Grozet in the fridge to cool for a while I found that the ale had gone a misty blond colour, which the bottle’s label warned would happen due to its natural fruit and cereal. This ale had a strong gooseberry mixed with wheat smell to it. There was an initial bite to this ale that had a metallic like acidic flavour that quickly moved to malted barley and hoppy bitterness with a finishing zingy citrus kick from the gooseberries, leaving a zesty hoppy gooseberry aftertaste. This ale easily met its reputation for being very tasty and refreshing indeed and would go very well with a fishy meal of any kind. I must try Grozet with a large salmon steak some time or better still; fish and chips!