Here at Strangers Brewing Co., I’m really excited to launch our latest seasonal beer – New Shoots.
For me, one of the best things about springtime is seeing all the new leaves and blossoms appearing after the dormancy of winter. Whilst most conifers are ‘evergreen’, they still grow new shoots each spring, and these are edible (with one big exception – see warning below!!). The young shoots have quite a surprising citrusy flavour (as well as the light piney, resinous flavours that you’d expect) – if you make a simple ‘tea’ with fresh spruce or pine tips you’ll see what I mean.
So New Shoots is a hop-forward American-style Pale Ale, but I’ve also added freshly foraged larch, spruce and pine tips into the beer to add a bit of springtime freshness. The needles were foraged from close to the farm in Linlithgow, as well as one of the nearby country parks in West Lothian.
I’ve used UK-grown versions of two classic American West Coast hops, Chinook and Cascade, to complement the conifer tips. I added these hops in a couple of stages; to give a good level of bitterness but also to showcase their own citrus and pine flavours – Chinook particularly gives loads of delicious grapefruit aroma to the beer.
The beer is now canned and ready for sale and it is tasting great – but as always I’m keen to hear your thoughts and feedback. Give it a go and let me know what you think!
WARNING! If you are foraging, please be very careful and only pick plants when you are 100% sure what they are. Whilst most needled conifers are edible, Yew trees (Taxus baccata) are extremely toxic – eating the leaves can make people severely ill even in small doses.