Blueberry pancakes. Blueberry muffins. Blueberry pie. Blueberry cobbler.
Blueberries rock. Sweet and tangy, they welcome summer with open arms, heralding longer days and warmer nights — and wedding season.
With Cape May being a huge wedding destination for its charming Victorian architecture and sprawling ocean views, we’re kicking weddings into high gear with this fruity Saison.
“I love fruit beers,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “Some people think they’re ‘girly’ but nothing could be further from the truth!”
Blueberry beers are nothing new, but with Hammonton — the self-proclaimed Blueberry Capital of the World — only a few minutes north, we figured we should probably get a blueberry-infused beer on our roster.
Brewing with blueberries isn’t exactly easy — they’re difficult to get a lot of flavor from.
“They’re actually quite mild,” Jimmy says, “but blueberry extract has a distinctly artificial taste. So, we wanted to try something different that allowed us to get a great, natural blueberry flavor. We used a concentrated blueberry puree that gives the beer a very nice, gentle fruity flavor without any candy-like, sugary character.”
And a Blueberry Saison seemed like a no-brainer. Saisons are naturally fruity thanks to the esters in the yeast, so pairing a naturally fruity brew with a predominantly subtle fruit like blueberries seemed like an obvious choice.
“I love Saisons, and anytime we can sneak them onto the schedule I’m always happy about that,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink. “Saisons are not the most popular beer out there — I think in large part because people are afraid to order a beer they might not be able to pronounce (say it with me, “say-ss-on”), but they’re hands-down the most versatile style of beer out there.”
Nonetheless, we were considering doing a Blueberry Blonde Ale, as well. So, we ran some trials using Devil’s Reach and Demisemi — the esters in Devil’s Reach would closely mimic a Saison while Demisemi is a good, light base to mimic a Blonde.
“The trial based off Devil’s Reach was far and away the winner, it wasn’t even close,” Brian says. “Jimmy and I knew we wanted to do a Saison as the base of the beer, but we wanted to run the trial to confirm our gut instinct. I’m really glad we did just to see how big of a difference choosing a Saison as the base meant.”
The result is a light, crisp brew with a tinge of acidity. Perfect for a summer wedding or relaxing on the beach, Something Blue is as pleasing to the wine drinker as it is to the beer connoisseur.
But it’s purple. Or, at the very least, purple-y-blue. That’s because blueberries aren’t exactly blue. They’re purple. But purpleberries sound like something out of a Roald Dahl novel, and Something Purple sounds like something we’d brew in honor of Prince.
(A moment of silence, please.)
Our love for The Artist Formerly Known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince notwithstanding, late spring and early summer is the perfect time for fruit beers.
“As we start to get out of the cold winter months and into warmer days, having something light and refreshing with a touch of fruit is perfect,” Jimmy says. “But we all know spring can be full of rain as well, and here in Cape May that rain can often be torrential. One of my favorite things to do is to sit undercover on my balcony with a beer and watch the spring squalls roll through. Something Blue is perfect for that, it reminds me that warmer days are ahead, possibly even tomorrow!”
Brian agrees. “Something Blue is refreshing and lighter in profile so it doesn’t become a chore to drink, great for a sweltering day but fit just as well on a cool rainy spring evening. It’s really the perfect beer for this time of year.”
And it’s the perfect beer for a wedding. We sourced the malts for this brew from New York Craft Malts, not far from Cape May in Upstate New York. Sammy, the daughter of owners Ted and Patty, married her fiance, Harry, in Cape May, and we hooked them up with a sneak peek of Something Blue at the wedding. How great is that?!? We love it when we can brew the perfect beer at the perfect time and make a perfect couple perfectly happy.
Regardless of the wedding, we’re just terribly excited about this brew. With Something Blue dropping on Thursday and Brothel Madam coming out on Saturday, Brian is really excited to challenge people’s palate once again.
“I think Something Blue came out really awesome,” he says, “and I’m super excited to see people’s reaction.”
Well, if you needed any more reasons to stop down to the brewery this weekend, here’s one more. Let us know what you think!