Herbal Infusions


The North American Organic Brewers Festival is upon us this beer event laden weekend. One thing I’ve noticed looking at the beer list is the number of beers with different herbs in them. The trend in craft brewing right now seems to be towards barrel aging beers, but I’ve noticed a trend towards herbal beers here in the northwest, and to a much lesser extent around the nation. Could herbal beers be the next big thing?

Personally I love  the aroma, and to a much lesser degree the flavor, that herbs other then hops impart to beer. I’ve used both yarrow and bogmyrtle a couple times. So I find myself wondering why the trend?

I think part of it is the novelty value to the consumer, and an interest for the brewer in stretching their horizons. I think it’s one of the reasons oak aging has exploded. To the average non brewing public the idea of barrel aging, boiling with hot rocks, or adding dandelion flowers is something way out there. There is a big draw in trying unique or unusual beers for the beer snob crowd.

As a brewer I’m interested in the techniques from a non novelty stand point. What can these different ingredients and methods do to change the characteristics of my beer? Are they effective? It’s the same curiosity that caused me to dump peanut butter in a stout. It’s also the same curiosity that caused me to develope my recipe for a gooseberry yarrow saison that I’m brewing this weekend.

So am I full of it about these fads and trends? I’d like to know others opinions. I’d especialy like Soseman’s input since she works in marketing.

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3 Responses to “Herbal Infusions”

  1. J.R. Box says:

    I can not speak to the existence of a trend
    but, Venti’s Basement Bar currently has Roots Organic Bughead Heather Ale on tap. The brewery reports [ abbreviated ]: ‘Brewed without hops – favored with heather tips, honey, and malts, this . . . ale may be the most interesting ale you’ve ever had!’. This would seem to be a herbal beer.

    Further, today, at Oregon Trail Brewery, Corvallis, today, I noticed their Ginseng Porter. The Brewery reports [ abbreviated ]: ‘robust porter . . . infused with American, Korean, Siberian, & Tienchi ginseng for an earthy, rooty finish.’ Sounds herbal to me.

  2. Jared says:

    Ya, I was planing on trying it tonight, but apparently I forgot Ventis closes at 11 🙁 Hopefully I can get there before the keg is drained.

  3. […] for their hoppy brews loaded with lupulin. But apparently that may be changing. A little bit back I commented on the increasing number of herbal beers out there. Personaly I thought it was just a trend towards […]

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