Summer is here (regardless of what the Starks say). And even though we’re still trying to sell the whole Bangalore-has-better-weather-than-your-city spiel to the rest of the country, we the truth. It’s flipping hot!
And since everyone’s focus is on hydrating and feeling refreshed and all such nice sounding things, we thought we’d help digging into the history of the fruits in beer. Because what can be more refreshing than fruit and beer combined, right?
It goes waaaay back.
There is anthropological evidence that fruits in beer go right back to around the time beer itself originated.
(Also, there is evidence that using the word anthropological makes everything 100 times more boring instantly, so we promise that’s the first and last time that word will be used.)
The usage goes back to the 10th Millennium B.C., where chemical tests have found beer with grapes and whole bunch of other fruit.
It goes back to the 10th Millennium B.C.
It probably wasn’t as popular then as it is now, though.
Fruits were perishables. And so is beer, if you think about it, when compared to wine. Also, wine could be made and stored with a single harvest.
But beer needed to be brewed a bunch of times in a year, and fruits might or might have not been available all those times. A lot of it also depended on which part of the world you were in.
…depended on which part of the world you were in.
Everything from dates to raspberries.
Depending on where you were, the fruits you chose to add always gave a refreshingly unique taste to the brew. And they also kind of gave an idea of where you were from, a boozy-fruity GPS of sorts.
In the Middle East, dates were added to the brew (because, of course they were!), while berry-rich areas had everything from elderberries to raspberries added.
(Elderberries sounds like something you’d add to beer in the Lord of the Rings.)
Location also played (and continues to play) a huge part in the flavour of the fruit, and ultimately, the flavour of the beer,
If you’re slightly familiar with how wines work, everything from the soil to the temperature the grapes are grown in make a difference to the final flavour. The same goes for fruit added into different beers.
In the Middle East, dates were added to the brew
Freezing works well too.
Which is why fresh produce from farmers’ markets are your best bet. But don’t write off frozen fruit, pureé and syrups just yet.
Most frozen fruits are frozen right where they are harvested from, so a lot of the flavour is retained. Also, freezing aids the brewing process—it lowers the microbial load as well as causes the rupturing of the cell walls, which helps the juices flow freely into the beer.
Brewers sometimes use winemakers concentrates as well, which aren’t only of grape. These are useful because they don’t have fruit skins that can sometimes block a fermenter and also lead to collection of bacteria.
…freezing fruits aids the brewing process
It isn’t easy.
When fruits are used, especially whole fruits, a lot of care goes into the process. Something as simple as the size of the fruit chunks require attention, so that they don’t end up blocking the fermenter.
This can cause the fermenter to choke and explode, which is not just a lot of time wasted in cleaning a major mess, but can also be kind pretty dangerous. (A beer bath isn’t as fun as it sounds when you’re not expecting it. Otherwise, it’s great.)
This can cause the fermenter to choke and explode
Back to the future.
Fruits are used widely and generously in beers across the world today, with some kinds being extremely sought after. Ahem.
And if you thought this little history lesson was some not-so-subtle attempt on our part to announce that the Aam Aadmi Ale was back—you’d be absolutely right.
The beloved Mango based beer, one of our many fruit based beers, will be back on tap to rescue you from the sweltering summer next week. So sit tight.
Come, partake in some healthy historical merrymaking with us. We’ll teach you ancient drinking games too.