Who says you should only brew with malt, water, hops, and yeast? Okay, who except the Germans? The truth is, we all love adjuncts ... when they work. Early craft brewers dumped about anything they could think of in the kettle. There were some notable successes, but lots of failures. Brewers got back to basics, and only slowly--and subtly--began working them back in. It looks a little like 1993 again, except now breweries know what they're doing.
In Montreal, the very well-regarded Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel experiments broadly, and recently I picked up Rosee d'Hibiscus. It's a fairly straightforward wheat and the only wild card is the infusion of hibiscus flowers. They add color, aroma, and some flavor. The scent of this beer is quite a bit like a wit, though more floral, sort of a tart, citrus note. Wheat also evident. The flowers turn the beer pink, like herbal tea. The palate is also akin to a wit, but a little more tart. It's a sweet beer, but it does have a quality of tea. It's a bit like the gruit beers that have become more common; the first few tastes are slightly disorienting. But by the end, you're downing it without qualms.
If I were to use hibiscus, I might use a more interesting yeast. It's a fine beer, but not necessarily the kind of beer you'd find yourself craving. Admirable without being wholly lovable. An interesting experiment, and worth noting in the annals of adjuncts.
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