Monday, October 4, 2010

Bog Myrtle Beer 'Gageleer'

Gageleer beer is an interesting take on a Belgian ale, oh, it is a Belgian ale but nothing like I've ever had before. This is an organic beer brewed with an addition of sweet gale which is also know as bog myrtle. I like the sound of bog myrtle, bog myrtle, it kind of rolls off the tongue and makes me think of an ingredient in a witches brew like eye of newt. This may not be far from the truth as the leaves of bog myrtle, with its sweet resinous scent, have been used over the ages as a traditional insect repellent. You can read about the ancient remedies of bog myrtle here at Wikipedia which covers some of the medicinal values of the herb. But what intrigued me most was the reference to the use of sweet gale as an ingredient in beer prior to the use of hops.

The 7.5% abv. isn't evident during tasting but what does come through is a thin, watery version of sprite, a lemon/lime character but on a very subtle level. I have to say that the beer is unique in this way but not offensive and at the same time does not draw me in for another glass. Their website claims minor notes of eucalyptus but I didn't get that. It's hard to put a finger on the flavor qualities of this beer other than mild mint and sweet. Even though this is a beer from Belgium, if I brewed it for a competition I would enter it in the BJCP category 21 section (spice/herb/vegetable beer), as I doubt I would get a good score in the Belgian styles.

Finally, I'm not a artist in any way but I could probably come up with a better design for the label, maybe add a little color or an image of some boggy lowland with sweet gale thrusting up from the nitrogen starved soil, just sayin'.

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