Archive for November, 2008
To round out a week of flowers, here we have an ale made with hibiscus flowers, a wine made with lilac flowers, and an ale made with jasmine flowers. Rosee d’Hibiscus, above, is made in a Montreal, Canada brewpub. It is a wheat beer and its “rose colour comes from the hibiscus flowers added during the brewing process. The aromas and flavour of this tropical flower are very prominent …”
The lilac flower wine is made by Maple River Winery in Casselton, ND.
The ale brewed with jasmine flowers is made by New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins, CO. It goes by the name Avatar Jasmine IPA.
On Monday and Tuesday we brought you flowers in the form of rose liqueur and elderflower liqueurs. Without further ado, we wanted to bring you the most commonly used of all the flowers used in alcohol beverages. But we didn’t wanted to bring you just any hops. So here we bring you wet hops. Sierra Nevada makes Wet Hop Ale. In a video and on the label they explain that it:
… was the first American beer ever brewed with 100% fresh-picked “wet” hops. In just one day, we harvest hops in Yakima, WA, ship them that night to our brewery in Chico, CA and then rush them into the brew kettle … This extraordinary effort creates a beer with unmatched aromatics of pine and citrus … that hop fanatics like us dream of all year.
Hops are the female flower cones of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus). They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, and also in other beverages and in herbal medicine. The first documented use in beer is from the eleventh century. Hops contain several characteristics favorable to beer, balancing the sweetness of the malt with bitterness, contributing flowery, citrus, fruity or herbal aromas, and having an antibiotic effect that favors the activity of brewer’s yeast over less desirable microorganisms. … Many different varieties of hops are grown by farmers all around the world, with different types being used for particular styles of beer.
A large number of alcohol beverage products are made from and with flowers. Hops is the most common and obvious example. Yesterday we showed liqueurs made from elderflowers, and today we have a few spirits products made with the rose flower. Crispin’s Rose is made with macerated petals from heirloom roses, according to its front label. Pinky Vodka is another famous example, and it’s made with “violets, rose petals, and ten other botanicals.” Finally, here is Rose Petal Artisan Vodka (Vodka Infused with Rose Petals) made by Modern Spirits of Monrovia, CA. The producer says it is: “Made with only the petals of three highly aromatic rose varieties that the founders grew in their back yard, Modern Spirits Rose Petal captures the full range of this beloved flower “from sweet floral to spicy herbal.”
This week we plan to show unusual ingredients — in the form of various flowers added to various alcohol beverages. The first one that comes to mind is St. Germain Liqueur. It is made with elderflowers from the Alps. Jamie Boudreau said:
The thing that blew me away … was not only was it beautiful, but it tasted great. Not overly sweet (for a liqueur) I got subtle flavors of lychee, peach and citrus: complex and not cloying. … This is a versatile liqueur … the elderflowers are hand-picked in the Alps. They are then taken, by bicycle, to market, where they are purchased by the distillery.
The flowers come from the Sambucus nigra shrub. This flower has long been popular in tea, sodas, wine and even soup. A second elderflower liqueur is Pur Likor, made in Germany and imported by Braverman of Seattle, WA.
Despite many problems here in the US, the beer on the left shows the First Amendment is alive and well. Does anyone else find it a remarkable testament to the country’s strength, that the executive branch would affirmatively approve a label rather bashing the sitting president? This label does not pull any punches, with a reference to Brown and the Katrina fiasco. It goes on to say “It’s Fall of 2008, so that means we’ve nearly seen the last of the Ugly American.” TTB has approved only a small number of labels referring to presidents. For those disinclined to find fault with President 43 we’d recommend the Cabernet Sauvignon.