BEER REVIEW: Beau’s Buenos Dias Gruit Ale
Before we begin, let's address this word: gruit. When it comes to pronunciations, beer culture is funny - just look at what we've done with "hefeweizen," which many people now affectionately call "heffs." As far as "gruit" goes, I've always pronounced it "grew-it," the same way we pronounce the words fluid, druid & conduit. I've been told many times I'm wrong. Apparently, the correct way to say it is "groot," as in, rhymes with fruit. But like I mentioned in my introductory first-ever blog post, I'm stubborn. I've always called it "grew-it," and I'm not stopping now. With that out of the way, let's get.....tuit.
STYLE: Gruit Ale
Buenos Dias is the latest in a line of gruit ale releases from Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, about a 45 minute drive from Ottawa. The drive is worth it. Beau's has been making some of the best beers to come out of the Ottawa region for the last 10 years, and many of them are "outside the box" type beers. Among those: black forest cake beer, peanut butter and grape jelly beer and one of my personal favourites, mint IPA.
While most of Beau's gruits have been herb or floral-focused (lavender, bog myrtle and sage have all been featured in previous gruit releases), Buenos Dias takes a different route: lime and orange peel with sea salt. You wanted a new summer beer? Look no further. If you're a fan of margaritas, you no longer have to drink half a bottle of tequila while enjoying your favourite cocktail. Although that is still a very entertaining option.
I've really been digging the designs for most of the gruit releases from Beau's. In an age where label designs are getting louder and more colourful (which I personally love, actually) there's something to be said about simplicity. Given that gruit is an ancient style of beer, classic labelling seems apropos. Like all of their beers, Buenos Dias comes in the classic 600 ml Beau's bottle, and the label tastefully features the ingredients found in the beer. It reminds me of the type of paintings you'd find on the walls of a rustic kitchen in Tuscany. No need to show off - the beer will do that instead. But more on that below.
Pours a light, golden yellow. It has a thin, effervescent head that quickly settles down. While the retention isn't great, the whole beer seems to stay tightly carbonated throughout, like a sparkling wine or seltzer.
A beautiful mix of fresh orange and lime zest, swimming in a light bath of sea water. Not overly strong, just a subtle salt water smell which I love. It reminds me of home (I'm originally from Nova Scotia and the smell of salt water permeating the air is something I look forward to every time I go back). The lime essence is much more dominant than the orange, but it's definitely there, in the back, like a pimply teenager in the nosebleeds at a 5 Seconds of Summer concert, jealous of her friends who have floor seats.
Super refreshing! The high level of carb is evident at first sip, which I find really works well with this style. A great balance of sea salt and citrus - many times, when a beer has two or more dominant flavour profiles, there tends to be a bit of a battle between them, and in the end neither are bold enough to make the beer have a lasting impression. Here, both flavours are mutually agreeing with one another. It's like dad's taking his two boys out for a Sunday drive, and instead of fighting over who gets to ride shotgun, they both agree to sit in the back together. Everyone's happy - especially dad. The lime is much more dominant in my opinion, and it finishes on a pleasantly salty note.
It's very similar to some of the lighter gose beers that are out there - so in that sense, it's very different than the other gruit releases from Beau's. I'm really loving the gose style as of late, especially on a hot summer day. I kind of compare them to Gatorade, and how the level of sodium has a wonderful natural ability to refresh you and quench your thirst. Now, obviously Gatorade has a very different taste, but that's not what I'm referring to. It has a good amount of sodium and potassium that is designed to hydrate the body. That's similar to the effect this has. Or maybe it was just the perfect beer at the perfect time.
Beau's did an absolutely bang-up job on this one. I could very well be drinking many of these this summer, at the beach, at the cottage, at the pool....you get the idea. A summer beer through and through, this is the beer that Bud Light Lime and all its variations of shit-eritas could only hope to be. And even though I'm a lot less wilder than I used to be (growing up is a bitch), I can't help but thinking that if we were to do a few rounds of tequila shots, I'd say screw the salt & lime and follow it with a chaser of this delicious gruit ale. Buenos Dias indeed.