By Iron Chef Leftovers
The Mountain Beers from NW Peaks in November had a decidedly seasonal tone to them – Thanksgiving dinner. There was a pecan pie beer (review forthcoming) and a beer that invokes the flavors of stuffing – the Spickard Spice Ale. You don’t see too many beers that use savory (herbs) rather than sweet (nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.) spices, so I was really excited for this one.
From the NW Peaks Website:
The name. The mountain. Spickard is juxtaposed to Mt Redoubt (the namesake for our red ale) and is a great alpine destination, although accessibility is limited to put it mildly. To get to Ouzel lake located at the base of Spickard, you have to travel through Canada and then hike back into the US to Depot cirque. The waterfall en route is one that might not be matched by another in the N cascades. Truly a splendid location.
The Beer. While many breweries are doing pumpkin spice beers in October, we decided to wait until November. And instead of using Halloween spices (pumpkin), we went towards Thanksgiving spices/ingredients. We started with a base that includes more than 25% maize giving the beer a thicker, sweeter flavor. We then added some spruce, rosemary, and thyme that give the beer a flavor reminiscent of thanksgiving stuffing. A great beer on its own and a perfect accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner.
The beer pours and amber reddish brown with a cream colored head. The nose is dominated by strong notes of rosemary and sage with hints of corn and grain supporting the herbal character. The beer leads off with solid herb flavors of sage and thyme with supporting notes of wood (not oak – think tree branch) and rosemary (probably the spruce in the beer), before moving into a slightly sweet middle, supported by grain and a mild corn character before finishing long with notes of yeast joining the herbs and corn. The finish is long and all of the flavors integrate perfectly, forming a liquid cornbread stuffing beer. The beer drinks well on its own but it truly shined with a traditional thanksgiving meal where its depth of flavor truly stood out when paired with turkey and stuffing.
NW Peaks Spickard Spiced Ale makes a glutton out of itself, rolling in at 4 turkey induced comas out of 5.