What a good beer but quite an unusual one. Golden amber ale under a billowy white head. Sticking my nose deep into the glass, the rich floral lime scent mixes with a little something this side of acrid. For a 4.2% ale, there is still plenty of body. A mix of big bitter herbal flavours - think peppery arugula - with a core of pear juicy pale ale barely holding it up, the juice morphing into an arc of strong honey. Very fresh and watery moreish. A strong drying bitter tea finish that has a herbal root twang that must be the ginseng, a tiny bit like a Ricola candy. At the end, just enough malt sweetness to lead you to the next sip. The overall effect is not unlike dry vermouth.
My worry was that this beer would be too much about the tea and ginseng. I found Great Lake's Winter Ale too strong this year. But with this beer I think the brewery has held off just enough while not leaving there any doubt as to what the special additions are. Assertive and still balanced. I had a Cambodian shrimp soup for lunch at a favorite spot today. This would have worked really well with that or a hot western style with loads of sweet potato. So far there is just one agnostic BAer.