Thursday, May 22, 2008

Natural Herbal Enhancement

Our first seasonal offering has been in tank now for a couple of weeks quietly fermenting with anticipation. We've been silent about it up until now while we rack our brains to dream up a good name to go along with it.

I'm confident you won't find many other beers like it. This brew is a nod to old tyme beverages - the kind of styles being re-invigorated by Belgians and Italians and foresighted Americans. The emphasis is on a unique line up of herbs and spices. If you must conform to styles think Belgian Pale ... with herbs. We're thinking springtime in the sprawling French countryside - or Kensington - whichever you prefer.

We start with a base of excellent lightly toasted malts on a foundation of Canadian 2 row (pils) from our silo: Weyermann (German) CaraHell, Acidulated malt, Wheat, whole flaked Oats, French aromatic, and a touch of French CaraMunich for a nice golden color.

Hops are light - just enough for balance and some Willamette late in the boil for a subtle earthiness.

Now the good stuff... Cardamom, Ginger, Lemongrass, Rose hips, Rhubarb root.

Fun facts:
  • Cardamom is a sweetly aromatic relative of ginger and one of the world's most expensive spices. It is also known to prevent flatulence.
  • Ginger root can be found fresh in most grocery stores and was once very popular in brewing. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, ginger is said to "rescue devastated yang," a condition in which invading cold or infection has reached the interior of the body.
  • Lemongrass is common in Thai and Indonesian cooking and has a fragrant lemony-rose aroma. The herb aids digestion and has been promoted as a stimulant tonic.
  • Rose hips are actually the fruit of wild roses and have a citrusy tart character. They are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C and natural antioxidants and are known to fend off the common cold.
  • Rhubarb root is both tart, sweet, and completely unique in flavor. The root has been used for over 2000 years in Chinese medicine as a digestive and sometimes a purgative.
Beer Historian Rich Wagner stopped by the brewery this week to sample the beer in progress. To his vast knowledge, among all the historical brewing records Rhubarb root has never been used in beer. I'm proud to be an advocate/pioneer in this herbal field! By the way, all these (with the exception on the ginger) are certified organic.

If all these herbs and spices seem like witchcraft to you I urge you to keep an open mind and seek out this beer. (It will be released draft-only in the city in 1-2 weeks) We've carefully chosen the flavor components that have gone into this brew and they work well together - really well. The result is a very floral, aromatic, and subtly tart beer. The toasty malt sweetness compliments the citrusy nose the earthy flavor nicely. Yet the herbs don't overwhelm the senses - just what we needed for early summer!


Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds great! I can't wait to try it. Will you post a list of places that will have it?

John R, Brewer said...

We're just beginning the process of taking orders - I'll do my best to compile a list of taps as the kegs roll out the door. If you want some at your local bar now is the time to make a phone call to PBC! ~ 215.427.BREW

Anonymous said...

the kids at the bike race yesterday totally dug the FdL, that sixtel was empty real fast!

DNA said...

Hi John:

Check out the Fishtown Beer Runners

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