The first of a series of homebrew recipes using fresh ingredients from The Wedge Community Co-op.
By Kyle Sisco and Shannon Pierce
Photos courtesy of The Wedge Community Co-op
It is no surprise that the world of food and beer are closely related. Even cooking and brewing are quite similar. Both involve a planned recipe (most of the time), steeping and stirring, hot prep and cold prep, fresh ingredients, and of course the habitual clean up. Like cooks, homebrewers are a curious bunch. Most strive to know what causes certain flavor and aroma profiles, while others dare to be adventurous. Green olive beer? Sweet stout with cardamom? Doughnut maple bacon ale? They’ve all been done. In fact, most ingredients you can think of have been put in beer.
Considering the crossover between cooking and brewing, when we homebrewers are looking for something unique, local, fresh, or rare, why not try a co-op? Food co-ops were the pioneers in providing customers with bulk food items that allows consumers to cost effectively purchase ingredients without layered packaging and get just the amount they need for a recipe.
The Wedge Community Co-op carries ingredients both typical and adventurous that can be used in homebrewed beer. Some ingredients can even be used as the primary source of fermentable sugars, replacing the typical source of malted barley. The Wedge also provides ingredients for bitterness, sweetness, and sourness, as well as bulk herbs and spices, many of which are too rare or too fresh to be found at your local homebrew supply shop.
The Wedge partnered with local homebrewers Shannon Pierce and Kyle Sisco to combine the worlds of homebrewing and food. Each article will showcase different homebrew recipes that will feature fresh, local, quality ingredients from The Wedge. Shannon is a Beer Judge, a member of the Primary Fermenters Homebrew Club, enjoys supporting local breweries and frequents The Wedge. Kyle is a fan of local food and is one of the most acclaimed homebrewers in Minnesota. His Classic American Pilsner homebrew recipe was brewed with The Town Hall Brewery and won bronze medal in the 2012 GABF pro-am competition.
Our first recipe is the American Brown Ale brewed with wild rice and dandelion root from The Wedge. American Brown Ales are perfect for bridging your beer palate from summer to fall. The slight caramel and chocolate grains are balanced with American hop varieties to provide a medium-bodied, refreshing autumn ale. The homebrewed American Brown Ale is in good company with other brown ales, including the English Mild Brown, Southern English Brown, Northern English Brown, and Brown Porter—the American version having a nicely rounded darker malt backbone while having a pleasant and noticeable hop aroma, flavor and bitterness.
After roaming the aisles at The Wedge for ingredients that would work well in the brown ale, we settled on wild rice and roasted dandelion root. Wild rice with its slight earthy flavor will increase the body of the beer, and roasted dandelion root, which imparts a roasted, nutty flavor and slight bitterness, will add a creamy texture. The final beer is medium bodied, has a slightly sweet caramel, nutty, and chocolate malt background with medium bitterness and noticeable herbal hop flavor and aroma.
This versatile American Brown Ale pairs well with a variety of foods. For a fall appetizer, try bacon-wrapped dates. The salty, locally sourced bacon and sweet dates are both complemented by the caramel and chocolate malts in the ale. From the cheese aisle, Minnesota Gouda plays nicely with the darker malts and creamy dandelion root. For heftier pairings, try the Turkey Bacon Guacamole Wrap from the deli, or enjoy with grilled Chicken Spinach Feta sausage from the meat department. The earthiness of the sausage is accentuated by the wild rice and late-addition Nugget hops in the beer. For dessert, pair with the freshly-made Vegan Tollhouse Cookie found in the dessert case or try gluten-free Ginger Bootstrap Granola from the bulk foods section sprinkled on vanilla ice cream that is made in Minneapolis.
The Wild Root American Brown Ale is a fun beer to brew using uncommon ingredients found at The Wedge. The pleasant caramel and chocolate malt backbone, American hops, earthy wild rice and nutty dandelion root all work together to create a lovely beer to transition from the summer to fall season. At 4.9% ABV, enjoying another on a breezy afternoon, paired with local, organic food from The Wedge is the perfect way to welcome the fall.
For the recipe, click Next Page