Even before we launched Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chip Stout earlier this year, we knew that we had found something very special in this relationship between two flavor-based companies. Working with a company with that much tradition and integrity was an absolute joy and a true collaboration…and we were ecstatic with how the release went, and how many of you loved the beer.
Not one to rest on our laurels though, we began planning for the next big project to collaborate on.
We started working on the recipe for a beer inspired by Elena’s Blueberry Pie ice cream in May of 2017, and it took every bit of 3 months and 5 test batches for us to finally determine that we got it right.
It was obvious that the blueberry flavor would need to be front and center in this beer, and we have some experience with making fruit flavors pop (Summertrip, Buzz, and Short Fuse are good examples), so we went with a similar approach with this beer. We added a generous amount of blueberry juice directly to the fermenter at the start of fermentation, rather than boiling it with the wort, in an effort to preserve some of the more delicate aromatics of the fruit.
People make blueberry beers all the time though; our point of differentiation was to be the marriage of that fruit flavor with pie crust and residual sweetness, making it taste more like a dessert. To do this, we did several things:
- Judicious use of malts that mirror some of the same flavors. Wheat malt, rolled oats, Briess Cara Brown, and Briess Victory all come together to lend a bready, biscuity, toasty character to the beer.
- Graham cracker crumbs in the lauter tun. Though blueberry pies are not made with graham cracker crust, this addition contributes another level of bready character, due to the whole wheat flour used to make them.
- Vanilla in the finished beer elevates the flavor of the blueberry from fresh fruit to dessert-like.
- Brown sugar and lactose leave us with some faint notes of molasses, some residual sweetness, and a creamier mouthfeel.
As are all projects of this magnitude, this one has been difficult at times. But the final result is truly rewarding and truly delicious! Not only from a flavor perspective but from a meaning perspective. The best part of this beer is that we’re helping The Cure Starts Now raise money to find the homerun cure for cancer. Lift one to life with us this weekend!