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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Everything But the Squeal

Among thrifty carnivore types, there's an axiom: "everything but the squeal." This applies to a pig and how much of the body to utilize. Apparently that axiom is one Ron Gansberg applies to beer, too, because he has re-harvested his apricots and included the meat from the pits in his latest beer.

When I was out there in December, he showed me the high-tech process they use once they have the discarded pits from their Apricot Ale. As I recall, it involves a hinged lever device and a lot of grunting. And then an explosion of pit shrapnel. In the end, what you have is an almond-tasting nut so small it takes 600-700 to make a pound. These have been used to flavor amaretto liquor and other almondy-tasting things, as well as tonics to ward off cancer. (Studies say it doesn't work.) In any case, the fruit of this laborious process is finally at hand. Over the weekend, Cascade will unveil a blended "white port/raspberry/apricot seed beer" for Zwickelmania.

Which reminds me-- Zwickelmania is this Saturday. It is an annual event wherein members of the Oregon Brewers guild throw open their brewery doors and give tours to the public. It was a smash hit last year--a little unexpectedly, according to the brewers I spoke to--and this year breweries are making an even bigger deal of it. Like, you know, releasing white port/raspberry/apricot seed beers.

For full details, including itineraries, maps, and addresses, go to the Oregon Brewers Guild website.



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Nice. This rare blend will be at Saraveza for Brewpublic's My Beery Valentine party on Sat and Sun to benefit relief for Haiti. Other killer beers from Block-15, Upright, Fort George, Oakshire, Double Mountain, Vertigo, New Old Lompoc, and more! Hope to see you there.

  3. Man, fruit pits like that have cyanide in them. Sounds dodgy to me.

  4. Man, fruit pits like that have cyanide in them. Sounds dodgy to me.

    Yeah, but only a little, and those kinds of compounds never go into an alcohol solution, right?

  5. Uhm, yeah, apricot pits contain amygdalin which can be converted to cyanide in your small intestine...I'd be wary of any foods made with high dosages.

  6. @iggir
    Next your going to tell me apple seeds are harmful.

  7. The beer solution should be mostly water so things soluble in water tend to be soluble in ethanol/water solutions. Amygdalin is soluble in water hot alcohol and slightly soluble in alcohol.

  8. @ jbx

    Apple seeds contain amygdalin as well.Luckily the body detoxifies cyanide in small doses. Appricots however contain higher doses of amygdalin then other seeds.

    I think you'll be safe with this beer if they didn't hit it to heavily with the pits. The only problem comes with someone who has a condition that doesn't allow there body to process cyanide well. Speaking of almonds though what famouse spy pill smells like almonds? :) Maybe they should have handed out apricot pits in spy novels.

  9. I believe when talking to Ron he mentioned treating the pits somehow for that very concern.