Before I complain about another brutal Northeast Ohio winter in store for the Craft Brewing Business crew, I openly admit that our winter probably isn’t as bad as what they endure up in Alaska. Perhaps to ward off the worst of winters, and to definitely shovel in the seasonal release profits, Alaskan Brewing Co. is adding a unique ingredient into its Winter Ale: spruce tips.
“The spruce tips harvest for this beer is an annual early summer ritual for the community of Gustavus, Alaska,” said Alaskan co-Founder Geoff Larson. “It seems like it is eagerly anticipated, and all of the tips are picked in a period of just a few days – so we get them in the peak of their flavor.”
This seasonal brew made with locally harvested spruce tips could actually help fend off scurvy. That’s right, scurvy. According to the brewery, Alaskan’s Winter Ale is brewed in the style of an English Old Ale–a traditionally malty, warming beer brewed in the fall and consumed through the winter. Alaskan’s take on this style is inspired by none other than seafaring adventurer Captain James Cook, who discovered the pleasant flavor and scurvy-preventing value of Sitka spruce tips during one of his 18th century voyages in search of a Northwest Passage.