Gulf Island Brewery Salt Spring Island Heather Ale was another beer I got in the beer exchange with Leapbeer. Gulf Island Brewery is located on Salt Spring Island, a smaller island just off the coast of Vancouver Island. They began production in 1998 and remain a small family operation with a massive staff, including owners, of 4.
Heather ales are an ancient style that trace their origins back to prehistoric Scotland. Heather was used to balance the flavor of the beer 3,000 years before hops became the prominent spicing option. Saltspring Island Heather Ale is a special release created for Butchart Gardens featuring heather grown at the gardens. Heather is a flowering plant that prefers acidic and infertile soil and was one of the most commonly used ingredients in the gruit mixes used prior to hops. Fun fact, it’s also related to cranberries.
Appearance: Honey gold with a touch of amber highlights. White head with ok retention.
Aroma: Herbal, floral, earthy with sweet touches of honey.
Taste: Earthy, grainy, honey notes with a touch of floral sweetness. Balanced.
Overall Impression: This is a really nice beer. The balance lends itself very nicely to being a refreshing beer option. It’s flavorful, but not too strong. This is an enjoyable summer sipper a nice level of interesting depth.
Availability: Very limited. Probably not available except on or around Vancouver Island, BC.