I’ll own up that I bought this EBULUM ELDERBERRY BLACK ALE almost entirely for its mysterious and beautiful old-world label, and just for the notion of an “elderberry black ale”. Sounds righteous, hunh? Turns out there’s a history behind it as a style, as Beer Advocate’s web site makes clear:
"Introduced to Scotland by Welsh druids in the 9th Century, elderberry black ale was part of the Celtic Autumn festivals when the "elders" would make this strong ale and pass the drink round the people of the village. The recipe was taken from a 16th Century record of domestic drinking in the Scottish Highlands. Elderberries were used for many natural remedies to cure sciatica, other forms of neuralgia, influenza and rhumatism as they contain tannins and fruit oils. Ebulum is made from roasted oats, barley and wheat boiled with herbs then fermented with ripe elderberries."
The druids! Wow. So here’s your way to connect with the Welsh druids of the 800s. The company that bottles it now is called HEATHER ALES, and they’ve made themselves a fine, fine beer that was a joy to drink. It came off as very fruity at first, and I was actually wondering if it was in fact a lager, as it had that sorta taste to it. Very fizzy and tingly, and incredibly smooth and gentle. The fruit notes actually calm down as the beer warms, and it’s just a lovely ride from there. Just this past weekend I saw this very beer for sale as part of a boxed Scottish ales gift pack, and I nearly pulled the trigger again. Great beer – do what you can to secure yourself a teeming goblet of it. 8/10.