It's that time of year again, where I am planning my third annual Fichtenbier (spruce beer) brewday, and it put me in mind of a beer I tried last year in the tasting room of the then relatively newly opened Braukunstwerk bottle shop in Münster. Hops and Needles from Brewcifer is rather aptly named, as Brewcifer (who I believe brew on Buddelship's kit in Hamburg) sourced spruce needles from Sonnenkiefer, who produce a range of products from coniferous tree bits.
Described as an IPA with spruce tips, it's got quite a fruity aroma, with tangerine, passion fruit and a minty, lemon verbena note that felt familiar. Flavour-wise, it's slightly medicinal, but with peach and strawberry cream on top of a biscuity base, dried out with mandarin pith, and light tannins. It's a nice, juicy kind of beer, and I liked it a lot, but I couldn't help thinking that the spruce was playing second fiddle to the hops (Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra, by the way), especially as I know what more spruce tastes like. Nevertheless, it added a nice edge, and I guess that's the main point.