Leinenkugel Big Eddy Royal Nektar
Twisted Pine Westbound Braggot
Initial details reveal this year’s 16 will be a braggot style ale. Braggots are considered some of the oldest styles of beer. They were mentioned in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the 1300’s. Braggots are variants of mead, typically brewed with honey & hops. Later braggots (also called brackett) included honey, hops & malt.
Arrival: June, 2011
Buzz Bomb Ale is a draft only offering from Brooklyn’s Brewmaster’s Reserve series. Buzz bomb is a braggot, a very old drink dating back to the 1300’s. You will even find mention of it in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales.” From Brooklyn Brewing’s description of Buzz Bomb –
“In medieval Europe, ale graced the tables of everyone from paupers to kings, but honey wine, called mead, was largely reserved for the rich. In the days before table sugar came from the tropical parts of the world, honey was the only intensely sweet thing that many people had access to. Honey was expensive — after all, a man can only keep so many bees. Meads were also expensive, but people often brought ale and mead together in a popular drink called “braggott”. Sometimes these braggotts were simply blends, but the best of them had the grain and honey extracts fermented together, bringing both sets of flavors into a unified whole. To tell the truth, our brewmaster hadn’t spent much time thinking about braggott until last summer, when he ran into Nathaniel and Thatcher Martin at the New Amsterdam Market in New York City. The Martin brothers were pouring small samples of their mead, called Brooklyn Buzz. It was pretty delicious, and they all got talking about honey. It turned out that the Martins source their raw wildflower honey from the same place that Brooklyn Brewery does — Tremblay Farms in upstate New York.
And now, as summer smiles upon us once more, we bring you the result of last summer’s stroll through the market — Brooklyn Buzz Bomb Ale. We’ve used Alan Tremblay’s wildflower honey in a few of our beers, most notably Brooklyn Local 2. In Brooklyn Buzz Bomb, the honey takes center stage, making up a full 25% of the fermentable sugar. We added the honey to the kettle along with a gentle hopping and a lilt of orange peel. Is the beer sweet? Actually, not at all — honey is quite fermentable and our Belgian ale yeast is very hungry. Brooklyn Buzz Bomb has a bright gold color and a spicy floral aroma showing distinctive honey notes. The palate is light, crisp, and very dry, showing a zing of acidity and a quick burst of fruit. Complex floral, honey and spice flavors linger in the bone-dry finish. Brooklyn Buzz Bomb is a perfect match for summer foods — salads, barbecue, shrimp dishes, hummus, grilled salmon, brunch dishes and fresh goat cheese. It’s also very pleasant all by itself, as you smell the flowers, feel the sun dapple through the trees, listen to the birds sing and wonder what it was you really liked about snow anyway.”
Tapping now at Octane Coffee
1009-b Marietta Street NW
Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland, OR) recently began releasing a “Reserve” series of special brews. These “Reserve” beers are brewed in small batches, brewed only once. Cherry Oak Doppelbock kicked off the series last September. Release #2 has arrived – Prickly Pear Braggot.
Prickly Pear Braggot is a strong ale brewed with prickly pear juice and honey. Notice the term Braggot? Well, those of you that might remember Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales”, that drink appears in the text. It can be dated back as early as the 1300’s. Traditionally, a Braggot is a mead brewed with honey and malt, with spices added in. There are a lot of descriptions surrounding a Braggot, but for this instance this info should get you started. There are very few beers brewed in this style, so make sure this beer hits your radar.
One other notable factoid. Widmer boasts the use of Alchemy hops in Prickly Pear. Honestly, this was a new one for me. Researching a little further into this, Alchemy hops seems to be a special blend for the Widmer Brewery. By who? Not sure, but a call to Widmer helped a bit. According to Widmer – it’s a blend of Horizon, and Warrior Hops. Hope that sheds some light on it.
Bottom line. Again there are very few beers in this style brewed. It’s worth checking out. Especially with the extra beer geek cred you can pick up from this. Also, the hop blend is unique. Worth a taste for that alone.
Availability – Individually boxed 22oz bombers. Limited, one time brew. 1/6 barrels are also floating around in the wild. Retail around $10
25 IBU (Low bitter)