Christmas 2013, Beer #1: Propolis Brewing

15 Jan

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Once again Brian presented us with a wonderful collection of beers for Christmas this year.  From this, I selected the Propolis brewing Prunus, a dark ale brewed with herbs and aged on cherries to drink tonight. I had noticed this brewery at many of the fine drinking/bottle shop establishments I frequent. I have to say, the simple yellow label with a honey bee on it always catches my eye. It bugs me, as I know this is purposeful to get me to buy the beer even though what’s inside matters.

Let’s get to what matters and taste this beer. Malt and, what I perceive as sweet spices, are easily detected in the aroma. Unfortunately, I can’t distinguish the individual spices, guess I should have shared it with more people. A group consensus could have helped here. What struck me from the first taste, was how light the body is, I expected a heavier winterish brew. This is foremost a spiced ale. Up front there is a a short lived, light malty sweetness, which is quickly over come by the spice. While the spice is not over done it is the dominate flavor. The finish is lightly tannic and tart. I assume the tartness is from the wild cherries but I do not taste the cherries themselves.

This beer is clearly bottle conditioned. The final pour was heavily clouded by sediment. This doesn’t bother me but if you prefer a clear beer I would suggest pouring the beer into the glass, or glasses, all once, leaving a bit at the bottom of the bottle.

I prefer a heavier malt backbone as a counterbalance to spice in beer like Prunus. This was not my favorite beer but it had elements of complexity and obvious craftsmanship. I notice in April Propolis Brewing releases a spruce ale and I will be giving them a second taste for that ale.

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3 Responses to “Christmas 2013, Beer #1: Propolis Brewing”

  1. Christopher Barnes January 15, 2014 at 8:21 AM #

    I’ve tasted a few of their beers. I think they’re making some good and interesting stuff. I just have a problem with their pricing. It seems a bit steep for a new brewery. They’re pricing is more what you expect from established brands’s barrel-aged products. It’s a bit much to pay for an unknown quantity.

    • Miranda January 15, 2014 at 9:01 AM #

      This resonates with me. I get why, they are brewing specialty beers with fruit and the like which adds expenses and processing. I like they are trying to focus themselves and add something unique (for marketing or brewing interest I always wonder), but for the consumer it is definitely easier to grab the unknown specialty beer from a well-loved brewery than from a new, unknown brewery when I’m standing in a bottle shop and looking to drop some decent cash. And these days enough breweries are investing in smaller specialty batches they would probably do themselves a favor by offering one or two cheaper year-round options that people could fall in love with and thus be more likely to try a lot more of their stuff.

      My husband offered me a taste of this one and I can say it didn’t convince me to gravitate toward them in the beer case.

      • Christopher Barnes January 15, 2014 at 9:13 AM #

        Agreed. The quality is good. The packaging is good. The concept is good, but the barrier to entry is high.

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