From the seafaring adventurers of the 1700′s to the homebrewers of today, adding spruce tips to beer has a rich history in Southeast Alaska. The tender new growth of Sitka spruce tips lends a delicious, yet subtly sweet floral aroma to tea, jelly and now Alaskan Winter Ale.
Spruce beers are one of those rare styles that originated in Colonial North America (U.S. and Canada); spruce was often used in place of hops (when hops were lacking) and as a flavoring agent. I’ve heard that a flavor characteristic of a spruce beer is Pepsi-like, though I can’t vouch for that.
There’s a good overall score of 85 on BeerAdvocate, with 95% thumbs-up, though there are several unfavorable reviews.
The Alaskan web site also offers food recommendations (and you know I like those):
Serve with roast goose, turkey, ham or lamb. A nice complement to holiday breads pound cake, or apple pie.