It’s been frigid this February in Pennsylvannia. Temperatures have barely crept above minus six degrees Celsius all
month long and anything above freezing feels like an absolute heat-wave. Last week they pulled the famed Groundhog from his slumbers in Punxatawney and against all odds he failed to see his shadow and predicted that spring is just around the corner! As I defrost my frozen kitchen pipes I have to chuckle at the old rodent’s sense of humour. At least that’s something to smile about and so, it seems, is the limited edition beer brewed for the occasion!
Introducing Groundhog Brew from a long established brewery in these part, Straub. It was 1872 when their founder, German-born Peter Straub arrived in St Mary’s PA with his authentic knowledge of craft brewing gleaned from Wuerttemburg in the old country. Since then Straub has remained a devoted brewer of some high quality and innovative craft ales.
This one pours a deep coppery amber with an off-white head and decent lacing. First whiff delivers the grassy hop aroma of those specially imported German hops. The initial sup offers up quite a plethora of flavour: chocolate, toffee, dark fruit and deep malts. (By the way, there is absolutely no hint of any groundhog flavour to report!) There’s a good, clean aftertaste that lingers that’s slightly, but not unpleasantly, bitter.
Verdict: All in all, I suspect that the Groundhog is onto something by getting his name on this one. After all if you can’t predict the weather accurately you might as well back yourself up with a dead certain winner on the ale front. I’d pair this with a nice hot German sausage and kielbasa dish. With ale this good I can endure another six weeks of ice, wind & snow. Now bring me another, throw another log in the fireplace and just shut the door on that draft.