I have to thank Mike from Reily’s Candies for talking me into making a blueberry beer. Reily’s makes chocolate-covered blueberries every year and people go crazy for them. We were talking about them one day and he said “you should brew a blueberry beer”. I agreed that I should, but I just kept pushing it off. Mike was sure to remind me about it every summer and even put me in touch with the farmer that grows the berries for his confections. So this year I finally got it done.
I also have to thank Chef Scott for helping me create this beer. It’s the first time I’ve ever made beer with fruit right from the field. Usually when I make fruit beers I use a sterile puree from Oregon Fruits. Working with fruit is tricky business. It’s covered in wild yeast, it’s got skins and seeds that can clog up my equipment, all around brewing with fruit is a mess! I know beer but I don’t know food, so I got one of our chefs to jump in. (That’s one of the nice things about working in a restaurant!) Scott spent the day pureeing blueberries for the boil, then spent another morning making home-made sterile juice. It took a mixer, four blenders and a soup kettle to do it, but we got it done!
I think it was worth it. There’s something rewarding about knowing that the fruit in the beer was attached to a bush less than a day before it hit your beer. And knowing that said bush is less than 20 miles away. All of the fruit in this beer was hand-picked at Moore’s Meadows Farm in Tabernacle NJ and driven directly to the brewery. We used a lot of ‘em too, one pound per barrel. Don’t worry, it’s not a fruit bomb. Blueberries are largely water so the aroma and flavor is subtle. You’ll still know you’re drinking a beer.
Whitesbog Blueberry Ale goes on tap tomorrow night at 5 pm. I’ll probably still be working then, but as soon as I’m done I’ll be at the bar helping myself to one… or two.