Get Your Rhubarb and Beer On by Ginger Johnson
Nothing makes me feel my teeth with my tongue more than the oh-so-wonderful and fleeting spring beauty Rhubarb. I love how its tartness makes my taste buds happy and my mouth pucker up!
So would you expect to find a rhubarb beer, given all that astringency might be added to already potentially bittering hops in beer? Well, even though I didn’t attend this festival celebrating Rhubarb, I am pie eyed at the possibilities. Long before we had modern day beer or even reliable access to what are now standard beer ingredients, about any agricultural product and crop was deemed brewable.
Before there were hops, there was gruit. Before clean water, everyone drank beer, kids and pregnant women included. The whole point was making water safe to drink. Boiling is part of the brewing process. Some context will also help us keep in mind beers “back then” were usually much lower in alcohol making it an appropriate choice for all.
Beer ingredients are where you find them and brewing with rhubarb and even lemon if you wish are fair game. The key is to use in season ingredients when using produce. There are a variety of other options when fresh isn’t available, yet celebrating your home and making all edibles with fresh goods will always yield the maximum flavor opportunity.
There are very few beers that actually include real citrus in them. That said, many varieties of hops gift us with citrusy aromas to suitably match with foods. A favorite pairing for me is a well-made wheat beer with fresh lemon basil leaves on top of a beautifully simple water cracker and spreadable plain Chevre. YUM!!
As I made a spring rhubarb pie a few weeks ago, I was reminded of how much I miss the robust rhubarb patch in my backyard growing up. It would appear without us having considered it until we saw the big elephant like leaves bravely pushing forth from the still cool soil.
Cheers to rhubarb and all it promises to our palates: tartness, astringency, pure pucker, and a willing partner to crisp spring beers.
Till the next pint –
Spring Beer Fest: The Oregon Gardens hosts their annual BrewFest this weekend in the stunning setting of the Gardens. If you get there, come by the Women Enjoying Beer booth – Ginger will be around, in the booth and on stage with Beer EduTainment throughout the weekend.
Bonus: A Family Day was added! Sunday will allow those under 21 entrance to the fun.
Supporting online article – Rhubarb fest held in Tacoma!