Making beer is fun! There we go, I said it.
Ok, it's hard work; hot, can be hazardous, sometimes frustrating, expensive and full of red-tape. But, it brings joy to the lives of drinkers; the creativity at the heart of the process knows no bounds and the community surrounding it is without doubt one of the most generous, (mostly) positive and passionate i've ever been involved with.
The craft and imagination involved in brewing is limitless. And at Carnival, we go to extreme lengths to source our ingredients. Our suppliers are often small, artisan in nature and specific to our requirements - but they do take some seeking out. When making Pracatan, our lime margarita Gose [we have made for local psych band, The Bonnacons of Doom], we made sure we sourced the finest ingredients to make a truly unique beer.
A key part of the Gose-making process is the creation of a sugary wort which we sour using a special yeast product - this then sours the wort creating acidity, then ferments to turn into beer. A vital characteristic of a Gose (beer style from Germany) is saltiness, to complement the sourness. To achieve this flavour, we opted for a solution that was close to Ade Carnival’s heart – using Irish seaweed – Dulse. Ade grew up in Belfast and used to snack of dulse, harvested on the lush and verdant coastline of Ireland. We spoke to Gillian Thomson, who hails from our seaweed supplier, the Irish Seaweed Company and tells about their business…
“We are a small cottage industry and have been hand harvesting seaweed since 2006 on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland. Initially we only harvested dulse which has been a tradition for centuries here in Northern Ireland.”
Gillian continued, “From the well renowned Antrim Coastline on the east coast of Northern Ireland, we sustainably hand-harvest a variety of edible seaweed for consumption and home spa bathing. We have been hand harvesting raw, wild Irish seaweed since 2006.
“Due to the popularity of seaweed in recent years we now harvest a variety of edible seaweed consumption and home spa bathing. We do not use any machinery to dry our seaweed it is dried in the traditional way outside in the sun and natural air. Which does hinder the production somewhat due to the weather, however this way retains all its nutrients.”
Once the salted and soured wort ferments into beer and we are happy with the acidity, final gravity and appearance, we then transfer the beer carefully into a conditioning tank along with lime pulp and lime zest. We do this to ensure the fresh and zingy lime flavours and aromas express themselves as freshly as possible in the finished beer, giving drinkers that heady citrus hit you’d expect from a lime beer or margarita cocktail.
Our citrus products are supplied by a fab company called F A Young Farm Produce Ltd T/a Zumo Zest, situated closely to the Mendip Hills in North East Somerset. Zumo Zest process and sell citrus zests, pulps & juices to the food industry, including brewers like us.
Zumo Zest is also certified by the Soil Association, so they can process organic citrus products, zesting a high quality outer peel from conventional or organic citrus fruit retaining all the fruits natural oils and full of nutritional goodness. Gaina Hunt, production manager at Zumo Zest commented: “We are excited to see our citrus products being used by artisans such as brewers to enhance their products , and wish them every success.”
PRACATAN is available on our webstore and in some good, independent beer retailers. Seek it out and you shall be pleasantly surprised by the results.