The month of May welcomes spring and with the changing of the season, the flowers return.
Innovative craft brewers are taking advantage of the aromatic and flavorful properties of flowers to incorporate a little something special into their beers. Hibiscus is a very popular choice, as are roses, elderflower, and lavender. The herbal notes imparted from using flowers are often complemented by a sweet undertone that can elevate lighter bodied beers from pale ales to saisons. Lest we forget, the venerable hop cone itself is technically a flower, so there’s nothing more traditional than tossing a few flowers in the brew kettle.
The next time you’re out shopping for a springtime sipper, give one of these flower-inspired beers a try.
Tumbacalzones by Treintaycinco
Currently available throughout Costa Rica, you may have to buy a plane ticket to try this beer. The bright pink label and short, medicine-style bottle make it immediately recognizable on shelves. This beer is known for its heavy use of flor de jamaica (the regional term for Hibiscus flowers) and pours a strong rose color into a glass. The mild base malts allow the sweetness and delicate spicing to shine through. You’ll have to ask a local about translating the name. They’ll appreciate the laugh.
Spontanelderflower by Mikkeller
Elderflower is making serious headway into ciders from big names like Angry Orchard and Strongbow. But it has also found a home with traditional brewers using long established techniques. Mikkeller uses elderflower to create a sweet and funky lambic sour ale dubbed Spontanelderflower. It has a dry finish that is preceded with a complex flavor blend reminiscent of tart apples, cheese, and biscuit with a salty bite.
Picture of Nectar by Southbound Brewing Co.
Showing how elderflower can be taken in a completely different direction, Southbound uses it to great effect in this bright double IPA. The peach additions meld with grassy notes from the flower for a unique sipper that comes in at a big 9.3 percent alcohol by volume.
That’s what we call a bouquet.