Spruce Beer

Spruce beer is a beverage flavored with the buds, needles, or essence of spruce trees. Spruce beer can refer to either alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. A number of flavors are associated with spruce-flavored beverages, ranging from floral, citrusy, and fruity to cola-like flavors to resinous and piney. This diversity in flavor likely comes from the choice of spruce species, the season in which the needles are harvested, and the manner of preparation.

The fresh shoots of many spruces and pines are a natural source of vitamin C. Captain Cook made alcoholic sugar-based spruce beer during his sea voyages in order to prevent scurvy in his crew. Though spruce has sometimes been used as a flavoring ingredient in beer, such as Alba Scots Pine Ale,[and the Alaskan Brewing Company’s Winter Ale, the only beer termed ‘spruce beer’ is Wigram Brewing Company’ Spruce Beer, which is based on Captain Cooks first beer brewed in New Zealand in 1773.

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