413. Urban Chestnut Brewing – Old Tjikko

Urban Chestnut Brewing - Old TjikkoWe’ve decided to hang out at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company for a while on my mini-microbrewery tour of St. Louis.  We’ve visited a couple places in the last couple days, and my friend Joe and I are making our way through the extensive beer menu here at UCBC.  After getting a sample, I decided to go ahead and get this beer, which is bittered spruce tips.  Accroding to the brewery, it “is an aggressively ‘pined’, higher ABV, palate smacker that gets its name from the nearly 10,000 year old Norway Spruce living in the climes of Sweden. Like its namesake, this beer is dark, complex and fantastically fragrant.”

Location: Enjoyed in a snifter at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis, MO.

Numbers: 6.3% ABV, 37 IBUs, 15 Plato, ~ 208 Calories

Appearance & Aroma: It was black in color, and there was a thin, cream colored head on it.  As you’d expect, it has a really big spruce aroma that reminds me of Christmas tree scent.  There’s also a bit of roasted malt aroma in the background as well.

Taste & Feel: The mouthfeel is smooth and slightly crisp, with a medium body.  The flavors up front were slightly roast with some caramel malt sweetness.  However, there was plenty of pine and spruce flavors as well.  In the middle and finish, the piney spruce flavors took over, giving it a clean, fresh, spruce finish.

Food Pairing: This is a specialty beer, meant to highlight the spruce flavors in the beer, and therefore, it should probably be enjoyed by itself.  However, I think this would also be better with some warmer, bready flavors.  Therefore, I’d pair it with something like a pretzel or some honey bread, in order to balance out the pine flavors.

Overall Impression: I think beers like this are a bit of a novelty, and are worth trying, just to try something different or give us insight into a different way beer was made.  I thought this one had a clean spruce aroma and flavor, avoiding the feeling of drinking Pine-Sol, and was pretty drinkable.  Overall, it’s a novel beer worth trying, and gives you an opportunity to try something very different, but it’s not one I’d find myself craving.  Try it at Christmas time and let the flavor and aroma bring back the days of live, fragrant spruce trees.

My Rating: ★★★½☆

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Author: Kevin

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