If you’re one of those people who long for the days when beer tasted like beer then maybe you should stop reading now.
Still here? Good for you, you adventurous imbiber because we’re about to cross the streams and change perceptions of beer with a few strange brews.
1. Sour beers
Sour beers may sound like some newfangled thing made up by bored brewers eating one too many sour worms, but it’s actually one of Europe’s oldest beer families. Back in the day before good hygiene and sanitation, all beers were sour due to the wild yeast and bacteria that fermented them. As conditions and brewing science improved, brewers started using pure yeast cultures and actively avoided wild infection.
With the craft revolution in full swing, we see brewers, especially in the US, looking to old-world fermentation for new, complex flavours. Wild fermentation is unpredictable but the results can be sublime.
Try: Fraser’s Folly Wild Raspberry
At some point in history, some clever sausage decided to mix their two favourite drinks, mead and beer. The result was a new beverage with the qualities of both and for whatever reason, they decided to call it, braggot. It’s made by brewing with a hefty dose of honey and sometimes fruit, spices or herbs were added. The result is a brew that has both the qualities of sweet, floral honey and rich, toasted malt with a few additional aromatic flavour pops. They were the height of luxury a couple of hundred years ago but they fell out of favour in recent times.
Try: Old Potter’s The Five Brewer’s Braggot
3. Brut IPA
Brut IPA is one of the newest kids on the brewing block and like many great recipes, it came about through trial and error. It uses a sugar-eating enzyme called amyloglucosidase which has long been used in brewing (mostly for stouts) in a new way. Brewmaster Kim Sturdavant of San Francisco’s Social Kitchen and Brewery added it to his hefty IPA to dial back the sugar and sweetness of the brew. What he ended up with was a bone dry IPA that reminded him of champagne. He called it Brut IPA and the rest is a very short history. The style burned its way through the US and has arrived at our shores.
Try: Metal Lane and Saggy Stone collab Citra Nova Brut IPA
4. Beer-Wine Hybrids
Is nothing sacred anymore?! Not a chance. Beer-wine hybrids have been around overseas for years so it was just a matter of time until they made it here. And you know what? They are bloody delicious so rather than arguing about which beverage is better, why don’t we all sip on a hybrid and get along? Grapes can be used in the mash during the brewing process and they can be used in the refermentation process. Some are even aged in wine barrels for added complexity. It’s the best of both worlds in one tasty beverage.
Try: Devil’s Peak Vanniehout