Ancient Ales to Modern Hybrids

Ever wonder why you love beer so much? Well, we humans have been drinking beer for at least five thousand years. Some evidence suggests it may be more like twenty thousand years, according to Dr. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who specializes in ancient fermentation.

We now live in an unprecedented time of beer discovery. There is so much craft beer out there… it’s a smorgasbord of lip-smacking awesomeness. But there is a new style of beer out there that is starting to capture peoples’ attention. It has the potential to be an extremely versatile style with a broad spectrum of colors, flavors, ABV’s and fermentation techniques. I expect it will explode into a worldwide phenomenon.

What I’m talking about is: the Beer/Wine Hybrid. Quite simply, it is a beer brewed the traditional way but with a specific regional grape juice like a Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel or Shiraz added before fermentation. It is preferably fermented with wine yeast, but it doesn’t have to be. It just has to be less than 50% juice or it will be considered wine.

Beer/Wine Hybrid is a long name so I’m just going to call it a Bine. I have many ideas for Bine recipes and I can’t wait to experiment with this new style. We have brewed our first Bine, the Sauvignon Blonde Ale. It is a very light SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) ale, brewed with pilsner malt and bittered, finished and dry-hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops with Sauvignon Blanc grape juice added. I was very happy with the first batch. The second batch was a problem child. We collected yeast from the first batch and pitched it into the second batch but due to some unknown factor the yeast were over-vigorous and bubbled themselves right out of the fermenter. We had to re-pitch with California Ale yeast which changed the flavor a bit. It was still awesome and both batches are long gone. Each batch was gone within 3 days of being on tap.

Our next endeavor is going to be a Kettle Sour/Cabernet. I think I’m going to call it Sour Sunrise because it will be as pink as the morning clouds. Look for this offering in the month of February.