Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale: A new release with the new head brewer, this craft beer is brewed just in Algergrove, BC at a strength of 6.5% with 26 IBUs and of course spruce tips. This one has made local headlines, won a recent cask off at Tap Convention with some stiff competition so I had to give it a try while it was still fresh.
Aroma and Appearance: This poured with two fingers of foam, with some slow rising bubbles and a pale copper orange like colour. The aroma was fruity tangerine, woodsy, with some bread malt and of course a sprucey aroma similar to piney hops, but slightly sweeter and more floral.
Flavour: Woodsy and floral up front with some caramel, bread malt and tangerine citrus in the middle followed by a slightly sweet spruce finish with a very mild bitterness.
Overall Impression: Yum, if spruce tips are an answer to a pending hop shortage I am all in!
Rating: It is an excellent beer with a rating of 8/10, new head brewer is 2 for 2 so far with the Rocketman ESB being another recent good one.
Food Pairing: If in North Van, or Main & Broadway downtown head to Rosemary Rocksalt Bagels grab a signature bagel with rosemary and let the spruce and herbs combine, I haven’t done this yet but I think it makes a unique pairing that would be fun.
I often wonder about any effects the looming hop shortage will have on the industry, honestly I think beers like this are a potential solution. It still has hops, but delivers a decent flavour blast without going into crazy IBU levels.
4 thoughts on “BC Craft Beer Review – Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale”
Glad you enjoyed the Big Stump, Terry. I like your suggestion of rosemary for food pairing. I wonder how it would do against Greek roast lamb? Pesto dishes may be another good match.
Interesting point about substituting evergreen tips for hops. It was done in northern Europe before its use in combating scurvy, e.g. Alba Scots Pine Ale, sahti (juniper). In the case of Alba, aside from some hops, they also use bog myrtle. Nevertheless, the Fraser Valley used to be the largest hop producer in the British Empire. With the growth of craft beer spurring hop demand, it’s becoming more economically viable to grow them here again. It may take a few years to catch up. So in the meantime, spruce could fill in the gap. It might even evolve into a favoured style in BC.
Dead Frog Brewery
Yes, we live in one of the best hops growing regions in the world. As hop prices go up and craft beer grows, more farmers will get into hops growing. Do you guys own any hops farms, interested in going the Rogue Farms route?
To my knowledge, we don’t own a hop farm at this time, but you never know… The only two BC breweries that I’m aware of currently growing their own hops are Crannog and Persephone.
Dead Frog Brewery
This was one very tasty brew. Glad that they have an awesome new brewer to follow their outgoing brewer.