Growing trend for craft beer and wine blends

16th January, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

A trend is developing in the United States for craft beers made both with grapes and spent lees.

As reported by US news network NPR, Washington D.C brewery DC Brau has partnered with Italian-American restaurant The Red Hen in Bloomingdale and local wineries to produce a chocolate porter barrel aged with leftover lees.

“To me it’s kind of the magic in the middle,” sommelier and owner of The Red Hen, Sebastian Zutant told NPR.

“It has distinct red wine characteristics as well as beer, with rustic notes of prune and dried cranberry. It’s fun stuff, it’s weird stuff, and I think it works,” he added.

Blue Moon Golden Knot is made with Chardonnay grapes and wheat

Blue Moon Golden Knot is made with the juice of Chardonnay grapes and 100% wheat

Zutant sourced the spent lees from two Virginia vineyards, Linden Vineyards and RdV Vineyards, which are poured into a funnel into the top of an old wine barrel where they are left to interact with the porter, giving it a tannic component.

Both Zutant and DC Brau’s owner Jeff Hancock were after the novelty factor.

“We rolled the dice, and it seemed to work out nicely,” Zutant told NPR.

This is not the first time beer has been made with wine lees. The envelope-pushing Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware makes two beers-wine hybrids; Sixty-One, an IPA featuring Syrah must, and Kvasir that blends beer, fruit wine and mead.

Blue Moon’s Golden Knot meanwhile is made from the juice of Chardonnay grapes and 100% wheat, while its Impulse ale blends Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and wheat.

The US currently boasts over 2,400 craft brewers who are taking increasingly extreme measures to stand out from the ever-growing crowd.

Last year db reported that the craft beer industry was beginning to take cues from the wine world, with the traditional 12-ounce bottle being replaced with 75cl wine bottles and even three-litre Jeroboams.

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