Monday, 3 December 2007

Fruit and vegs that should not be used in beer

Every so often you need a mental spring cleaning. Unchanging opinions aren't strength of character. They're constipation.

Looking as firmly backwards as I mostly do, it's easy to become conservative. When I first saw this title proposal, I was pretty sure how I would approach it. Cherries, raspberries, lemons - they're OK, because there's a tradition of their use in beer. Anything else - no way.

Punk changed my ideas about music overnight. The bulk of my record collection went in the bin. It shocked me that not everyone embraced it so readily. That's being 19. You want change. At some point in your life - 25, 31, 37, 19.5 - change becomes frightening and you want it to stop. "This isn't music. It's just noise."

In the mid-1990's many of my friends were a decade or so younger. They liked dance music. Not Cuban or ballroom, but the thumpy-thumpy rave sort. "This isn't music. It's just noise." That's what I said. Repeatedly. For several years.

Then I thought: hang on, isn't what the old hippies said about punk? Rather than dismissing it, I made a conscious effort to listen to dance music with an open mind. To approach as I had done punk. My instincts were right - it was just noise. Sorry. Can't resist the bad jokes. My friends weren't just brainwashed fashion junkies. Some of this dance stuff was dead good. You couldn't get me off the dance floor.

My prejudice against electronic music was just that - stupid prejudice. What does it matter how music is made? With guitars, violins, drums, synthesisers, computers, saws, frying pans. The end result. That's what's important.

What fruit and veg should be used in beer? Any - as long as it tastes good. Nothing else matters.


Lars Marius Garshol said...

"What fruit and veg should be used in beer? Any - as long as it tastes good."

I couldn't agree more.

This, incidentally, is why mustard does not belong in beer.

Edmund said...

Pumpkin is historically supported at least as far back as the 18th century in the eatsern US (other squashes should work just as well).

In pre-hops British brewing (which was ended by law in England and Wales in the 16th century) you've got flavoring with gorse, heather, burdock, seaweed and just about any plant with a medicinal application. I ran across a reference to someone using peas as a mash adjunct also...I somehow doubt that went well, though.


Ron Pattinson said...

lars, I've not tried mustard beer. I'm not sure I would bother, as mustard is one of the few flavours I really dislike.

Endmund, I seem, to remember reading that peas were used in one of the Baltic countries. Do't know if they still are.

erictrimmer said...

I'm imagining a hefeweizen base with a bit of rhubarb tartness.

Or else a wit brewed with celery. Coriander always tastes a little bit like celery to me, anyway.

And while we're at it, how about adding a slice of cucumber to a glass of lemon-flavored summer beer?

Tandleman said...

Cucumber with gin and tomic is good. With beer? I doubt it.

Tandleman said...

or tonic even!

Edmund said...

OK, post is almost a year old, but: Brouwerij Regenboog is doing a mustard beer.


ramtynas said...

Peas in beer were used in Lithuania. They were supposed to improve the head and "mouthfeel". Yes, I hear they're still being used in some more traditional beers.