Everybody knows about the Reinheitsgebot the Germany Beer Purity Law of 1516. But there is a growing collection of brewers looking outside the traditional toolbox of water, grain, yeast and hops for exciting new flavors. A recent write-up in Crain's
about beer trends got us thinking about some of our own favorite herbal beers from hot new arrivals to old standards. Our top five:
Forbidden Root Shady Character
Chicago's own Forbidden Root is at the forefront of botanic brewing. While their whole portfolio is interesting and inspiring this delicious mix of dark roast malts, nuttiness and sweet spice puts Shady Character at the top of our list. The inclusion of black walnuts, roasted chestnuts, licorice root, star anise and tellicherry pepper make for a complex and satisfying brew perfect for your next backyard BBQ.
Marz Jungle Boogie
Mosaic hops earned their name they bring a bit of everything to a beer. Citrus notes, herbal qualities, pine, and above all, juicy tropical fruit. You'll find all these plus subtle nuttiness thanks to the addition of rooibos tea in this light and refreshing wheat pale ale.
The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel
An interesting riff on the classic Belgian Tripel. The addition of rice to the mash bill keeps this hefty 8.6% ABV brew light and refreshing. Thai basil provides spicy hints of licorice and peppercorn that play nice with traditionally spicy Belgian yeast. This is the perfect pairing with your favorite curry dish, and a pinch hitter at any BYO.
Boulevard Hibiscus Gose
Once threatened with extinction, the Gose is making a comeback. Originally German wheat beer brewed with coriander and sea salt, Gose is catching the eye of critics and craft brewers alike. Boulevard adds complexity with the addition of hibiscus, producing a brew that pours a beautiful pink with a subtle floral character. This delicious mix of sweet, sour, salty and spicy clocks in at a lightweight 4.2% ABV, making a perfectly complex and intriguing session beer for a hot summer day.
Brewery Ommegang is a powerhouse when it comes to complex Belgian styles. This bright, effervescent brew showcases an intricate mix of noble hops, coriander, orange peel, ginger and grains of paradise. Hennepin is a perfectly balanced and refreshing farmhouse saison and a favorite for years that rivals even the best Belgium has on tap.
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