Monday, April 30, 2012

Beereview: Rosemary Homebrew

Creativity is a funny thing in brewing. People travel down a lot of different paths when designing beer recipes. People look at companies like Dogfish and scoff at their beers. Many of the beers don't follow into any BJCP style categories. That doesn't mean they're not good beers, quite the contrary. Many of these beers are amazingly unique. I mean raisins? Who thought raisins would taste good in beers? I've met a number of these brewers before, and many of them are the type to open the pantry or spice cabinet (or even look in the back yard to see what's growing) and see what strikes them that day as a good idea. Sometimes, sure, the ideas are very bad. Tasting those the first time out of the keg is much like the "why did I decided to jump off the parking garage" mornings after a long night of drinking. But sometimes the beers are downright amazing.

Some brewers on the other hand will start with their BJCP guidelines. While they may push the boundaries of these guidelines, they see them as a restriction. Which is fine! The crazy beers I mentioned above will have a very difficult time winning a beer competition. Nor will they appeal to the mass public. Throwing artichokes in your beer probably will not get you your flagship brew. Even if it does, I must say you have a very odd clientele. Or maybe your clientele is only your mother. Then yes, you're beer is special.

But trying to push the limits within the boundaries of the BJCP does make sense. There are still millions of unique beers out there who all fall into the main 23 BJCP categories. It's very much like stock car racing. The cars are kept at very tight constraints, but there's still plenty of room to make tweaks and improvements. It is this area of brewing where you will likely find your flagship beers. Pabst Blue Ribbon is called such because it won first place at the Worlds Fair in Chicago as America's best beer.

This all really boils down to the back-story behind today's beereview. One of my fellow brewers, Jeremy (no, not you East Conway), here in Orlando went and made his own "rosemary" beer. As peers we were skeptical. As men, we jeered and poked fun. You most often see rosemary on pizza and chicken. Not in beer. We weren't really sure if he got his recipes mixed up or not. Well I've tried it. And I'm glad I'm not competing against it...

Let's crack the top to my first peer beereview! This is Jeremy's first foray into bottling off the keg. Congrats Jeremy, you win a cookie for this one. The beer pours a hazy amber color with a thin, but lingering head. The aroma is, well, rosemary. It smells a little bit like Spaghettio's (thanks for the description @NikkiDJ27 [wife]). My history with canned spaghetti isn't great. It's a little bit of a turn off to have that memory. However the beer is great. The rosemary gives the beer a great tart taste that's still sweet to the palette. A very unique taste that's still quite refreshing. Cheers Jeremy! Great work. You might want to try your hand in herbal (no-hop) beer!

Fun fact: the Greek goddess Aphrodite first arose from the sea draped in nothing but rosemary. Let that image mellow in your head a little bit. You're welcome.

Have you tried an herbal beer out there? Share your experience!

1 comment:

  1. I made an oregano beer:

    As I was tasted it throughout the fermentation, it was super bitter, but eventually it mellowed out.  I served it at a homebrew festival and found that people either really liked it, or really didn't.

    It did, however, win 2nd place in the Herb, Spice, Vegetable Beer category at a homebrew competition!

    Sure it was a little unusual, but experimenting is a big part of homebrewing.  In the end, not a drop was wasted.  It also made for a good grilled chicken marinade!