Ask anyone from the prairies if they’ve tried purple gas, and they’ll look at you sideways. Purple gas is something for farm vehicles. It’s gas that is dyed and has reduced taxes. It’s not something you necessarily “try.”
Calgary’s Big Rock Brewery, however, is leaning on the prairie name for the brand of it’s new prairie inspired brew. Purple Gas is a wheat ale flavored with Saskatoon berries, and agave. It’s not quite purple, but it’s got enough nostalgia and curiosity in the combination to pique some interest and raise some eyebrows.
Big Rock Brewery is a naturaly brewery. They don’t add corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners to their beers, so when a tart Saskatoon berry is used, the sweetener had to be found naturally. The brewmaster chose agave – yes, the tequila plant. In my mouth, the beer ended up tasting more like a margarita than a beer. The agave flavour is strong. While this is a ‘fruit beer,’ it does end up with more tart than sweet.
Maybe it’s because I’m new to the prairies and the nostalgic flavours just don’t strike a strong enough chord with my memories. Still, it is a great idea, and a brew worth sampling.
Purple Gas is a test beer for the summer, if it’s a success it will get a full roll out. I picked up my sample of 3 cans as part of the Swinger Pack, which this week is only available at the Big Rock Brewery HQ in SE Calgary. You can use the site’s Beer Goggles tool to find out when Purple Gas will be rolled out across the city with more availability.