What’s in your beer? Go on guess?

27 Mar

In the deepest depths of South London the other day. I found myself ordering a pint of ale going by the name of Otley Thai-Bo. Being thirsty, I necked it pretty quickly. It hit the spot as people often say. I automatically ordered a second, to which I paid a little bit more attention to the taste and less to its thirst-quenching abilities.

I’d seen the word Thai when I’d ordered it so I automatically assumed it had lemongrass in it. I asked myself if there was any coriander in it, like that older lemongrass beer Hop Back Taiphoon. That wasn’t really what I tasted although I had to fight through my preconceptions to come to that conclusion. The lime was clear enough to spot but there was also something that we all tasted in it that we couldn’t put our fingers on. “Ginger” said one. It wasn’t quite ginger but in the end we settled on ginger-ish.  That was it, they’d put ‘ginger-ish’ in the brew, that well-known adjunct.


A couple of days and a few googles later and the missing ingredient turned out to be galangal. An ingredient I regular put in my Chiang Mai Sausages. So much for my palate! You’ll forgive me when I say unusual ingredients are commonplace in the history of brewing, from meat to seaweed to jellyfish, and recently my attention was brought to the Napa of Beer blog in the States where there were sightings of mushrooms being used in beer. Good idea say I. Over here, I found out that this had also been done by the geezer from Sharp’s brewery, it’s a shame I’ve not seen it commercially. That last statement is purely personal opinion I would add.

It all got me a thinking about what I would like to see people experiment with in beer, so on the train I jotted down a list along the margins of a discarded free newspaper and here it is for your benefit:

  1. salsify
  2. butternut squash (I realize pumpkin has been done)
  3. rocket flowers
  4. sea buckthorn
  5. marsh samphire
  6. durians
  7. jamon serrano
  8. piccalilli
  9. Werthers Originals
  10. lemon verbena
  11. steak and kidney pie
  12. millionaire shortbread (just to make it an even number)

Just a thought!!


2 Responses to “What’s in your beer? Go on guess?”

  1. laurenniccole March 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    I tried a stout made with oysters, it was good. A bit salty and spicy.

    • Profesor March 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

      It’s an interesting one because when I tried an oyster stout made with real oysters, I was discussing with my mate whether I could ‘taste the sea’ in it or not. I thought you could and he thought it was very sweet and I was being overly-influenced by my surroundings. We were on an island in an estuary famous for its oysters. Clearly, that doesn’t apply in your case, so I’ll use that as evidence to back my claim.

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