Christmas beer o’clock at the new brewery and we’ve decided to bring back a beer we brewed last year called Merrie. Originally this fantastic deep brown ale was flavoured with Liberty, Chinook and Santiam hops and a generous dosing of some Derbyshire Hidcote Lavender grown by one of our Thornbridge gardeners, Liz Bailes. The lavender itself is drenched with its own intensely fragrant essential oils and screams of the lavender body wash you all use in the shower, even though it’s not yours but you like the smell anyway 🙂
This year we’ve upped the ante. That and we like experimenting, so we’ve fused this beer with another beer we brewed last year called SuJu. SuJu was a collaboration brew with Birrificio Italiano where we brewed a delicious 6% rustic brown ale and used a massive amount of freshly crushed Juniper berries. The beer ended up showcasing the wonderful, sweet pine, mango sap-like aromas of the Juniper berries as well combining a hint of hop bitterness and the wonderfully rich speciality malt characters that I love in a beer. It was Super Junipero… yeah, hence the name.
We always learn every time we brew a new beer, so Stef wove his magic on the new plant and came up with a great recipe. A blend of Pale Ale, Smoked, Munich, Vienna, Chocolate and Amber malts similar to that used as the base for the original Merrie and SuJu complemented by the wonderfully lemony Santiam and the distinctly citrus Perle with a good whack of Chinook to complement the resin and pine from the organic Juniper berries. I painstakingly ground up a massive amount of the berries and just to enhance the citrus characters we decided on some freshly ground coriander seeds as well. On grinding, these filled our brewers office with wonderful ginger and lemon aromas. Cheers Julian Graves!
With our new hopback doing some great things to the aroma of our beer, this is where we’ve decided to use the lavender this year. Previously this was used earlier in the brewing process as well as at boil end, so we are really keen to check out the results. In a pub. In a pint. And hopefully at Christmas!