Web Exclusive: Christmas tree beer gaining fans

Web Exclusive: Christmas tree beer gaining fans

(CNN/CBC) - Just in case you thought Christmas trees were only good for decorating, a Canadian beer company is using types of evergreen trees to make an old-school brew.

Some people look at a forest of trees and just see Christmas trees, but others see beer!
That's the way the staff of a Halifax microbrewery sees it.  But it didn't always.
"Well this is not going to be the beer that takes this brewery down," said Brian Titus, Garrison Brewing Company.

But then there was the history. A Canadian tradition that has had Canadians snipping and gathering since the days of its earliest settlers.

"And after that I know that the Americans would do it because George Washington made spruce beer," said Daniel Girard, brewmaster.

Daniel Girard heard stories of his grandfather's spruce beer.  So, he had to try a brew for himself.

"So then I decided to work on it and see how I would have made a spruce beer myself if I were a first settler like years ago," said Girard.

He took all those spruce sprigs, some fir ones too and shoved them in.  After a good soaking, he took out the branches and added some malt, molasses, and hops.  Eventually, he asked his boss to crack one open.

"You know just some wonderful aromas that come off it.  It feels like you're out in a winter evening walking through the woods. It's pretty wonderful.  You just can't feel your toes any more cause it's starting to kick in a little bit," said Brian Titus.
It also has a hardy 7.5% percent alcohol content.
"You don't put a lime on top of the bottle," said Brian Titus.

Soon, the microbrewery owner was intoxicated by the idea of spruce beer.  Others were too.

"Maybe a month ago the emails started to come in you know one or two a day or Facebook messages saying, 'when is spruce beer coming? We need to mark it on our calendar,'" said Tracy Phillippi, Garrison Brewing Company.

Sure enough, come sale day for this year's batch, customers showed up bright and early to get some beer from Christmas trees.

"How Canadian can you get, eh?  We like to say "party like it's 1749," laughed Brian Titus.

In a country like Canada with so many Christmas trees, they could make a lot of beer!



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