Note: I wrote this piece at the height of Ottawa’s July heat wave. Although things have cooled down considerably, I still think this makes a great summer beer.
This heat reminds me of Mediterranean summers: hot, sticky, humid and fabulous! What better way to end a day than with a Moroccan Brown Ale from Spearhead Brewery? (LCBO $13.95 6 x 355mL)
Moroccan cuisine, unlike the Tunisian cuisine with which I grew up, contains more fragrant spices such as cinnamon, sugar, raisins etc. Spearhead’s Moroccan Brown ale is an American-style brown ale to which dates, figs, raisins and cinnamon have been added, all classic North African flavours.
The first thing that struck me when pouring this beer was the aroma: definite hints of cinnamon. The colour was a medium-brown, lighter than a chocolate porter but darker than a classic American ale. My first sip was refreshing and highly effervescent. (I confess that I prefer my summer beers to be on the bubblier side with my winter porters and stouts to be less fizzy). At 6%, this beer is considered a strong beer but it really is not noticeable in the taste. As for the North African spice flavours, they did not stand out. This beer was crisp, bubbly, and not bitter, with a hint of hops and perhaps a hint of caramel.
Conclusion: it’s an interesting beer, not for the lovers of Coors Lite, but worth a try. In fact, I think it would go nicely with a Magrebian-themed cold couscous or roasted vegetable salad or a char-grilled chicken dish, seasoned with cumin or preserved lemons.