Ad­vice For Home­brew­ers

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Fruit in Beer -

Use Lo­cal Fruit “Lo­cal fruit is the right way to do it. To know your grower is to learn a lot about the fruit: Work with the farmer and get it at peak ripeness.” Casey rec­om­mends to home­brew­ers that they ex­plore their lo­cal farm­ers’ mar­kets for fruit-beer in­spi­ra­tion. “That’s how we find a lot of our grow­ers.”

Use Whole Fruit All of the fruit in Casey beers is whole fruit. “Puree makes great beer; it’s just not as unique. Us­ing the least adul­ter­ated fruit is im­por­tant to me be­cause that’s fla­vor you can’t get any other way.”

Us­ing whole fruit can cre­ate some chal­lenges in sep­a­ra­tion and, ul­ti­mately, some chunks of fruit in your fi­nal prod­uct. “We don’t squeeze the fruit. It ei­ther rises to the top of the tank or drops to the bot­tom, so we pump out of the mid­dle and use a small strainer for the larger fruit chunks. Of­ten you’ll find small pieces of fruit in our beer, and con­sumers are okay with that,” Casey says. “Mashed pota­toes with zero lumps weren’t hand-mashed. Con­sumers want lumps; They want that au­then­tic­ity. It’s just like peo­ple want­ing to see haze from their hops be­cause that trans­lates to more fla­vor­ful beer.”

In most cases, whole fruit doesn’t put your beer at risk of un­ex­pected sour­ing. “I don’t think we’ve ever got­ten off-fla­vors from us­ing whole fruit,” Casey says. “I’m of the be­lief that any­thing on the fruit skin is aer­o­bic, so it will want oxy­gen. The amount of cul­ture we’re al­ready adding to our beer will help com­pete against any wild yeast or bac­te­ria that might be on the fruit.”

Be Pa­tient It seems the se­cret sauce in Casey’s beers is pa­tience. His beers age any­where from 3 to 24 months in bar­rels, and the beer-mak­ing process be­gins long be­fore that. “It takes time to cul­ti­vate re­la­tion­ships with farm­ers, time for the fruit to grow, time to an­tic­i­pate peak ripeness and then har­vest,” he says. “Then it takes time to age beers, time to bot­tle con­di­tion, and then time to sell them. This isn’t some­thing you can rush.”

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