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When you find yourself in the vicinity of Royal City Brewery, say, at the Grotto or Gawley’s Performance Centre, it always pays to poke your head in and see what’s new on tap.

We happened to be in the plaza for a Halloween party, and after the festivities, as I was buckling kids into car seats, Greg took two empty growlers into the brewery to fill with something seasonal. He sampled the Autumn Ale and thought I’d enjoy it since it tasted “sweet and spicy”. The other growler we took home was filled with the 100 Step Stout — review to follow soon!

Since a growler contains enough beer for four pints, it’s best to save opening it for an occasion when you have others to share it with, or say, on a weekend. So, the following Friday seemed like occasion enough. I was excited since I didn’t get to try the sample at the brewery. Unfortunately, by the third sip, we both realized a growler was far too much of this beer for us.

Sweet tasting it is, and definitely spiced. Too spiced, in my opinion, with a punch of cloves dominating my palate. (Sidenote: I’m particularly sensitive to cloves after some dental work years back — clove oil is a traditional healing method for tooth pain — but Greg agrees that this was too much spice even for him.)

Sadly, this was not an enjoyable beer. Maybe it needed the right “time and place”, and luckily most other brews to come out of Royal City are delicious, but we will return with this empty grower soon and take a gamble on another adventure.

Here’s how Royal City describes their Autumn Ale: Brown Ale with Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, and Spices – 6%