Monday, August 16, 2010
Fraoch Heather Ale
Color: Clear, rusty gold.
Aroma: Roasted malts, black pepper.
Flavor: Somewhat thin with a floral malty sweetness and notes of toast.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty.
Finish: Bread dough and lemony citrus.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good
Color: Cloudy, dirty gold.
Aroma: Bananas, cloves, cardamom, lemon.
Flavor: Ripe bananas, yeast.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Neither.
Finish: Clean, refreshing and acidic with a bit of lingering clove spice.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Fantastic
Winner by unanimous decision: Franziskaner.
In one corner we had the Fraoch, a Heather Ale brewed in Scotland using an ancient Gaelic recipe. In the other corner we had the Franziskaner, a Hefewiezen hailing from Germany. It was an outdoor fight and the sun was blazing which may have given the Franziskaner an unfair advantage since Hefeweizen-style beers taste extraordinarily good on a hot day.
The Fraoch was certainly a well-made beer with a unique flavor, but it seemed thin and feeble compared to the Franz. The ancient Scottish recipe did manage to hold its own for a short time with some veteran guile, but was ultimately picked apart by the fresher, livelier German. We suggest you try the Fraoch this autumn, as the flavors would seem to make a good match for some cooler weather and hearty harvest fare. The Franz, on the other hand should find its way into your refrigerator quickly so that you can enjoy it on one of these last hot days before the sun disappears for the next 8 months.