Who says social media can’t be positive?
It’s down to social media that we now have Australia’s first batch of carrot beer.
Shortly after the Kalfresh Vegetables Carrot Field Day last year, I received a message via social media from Wade Curtis, a craft brewer in Ipswich. Wade had visited Kalfresh and wanted to try making a carrot beer.
“Do you think your husband would be interested in helping,” Wade asked me?
‘Are you kidding!? You’re merging his two great loves, of course he’d love to help!’.
And so the carrot beer journey began.
Wade, ably assisted by beer and carrot connoisseur, Richard, has been experimenting with his brew for many months now.
Finally it was put on tap at the Pumpyard Brewery in Ipswich a few weeks ago and what a response there’s been.
Wade, Richard and the beer have featured on ABC TV, ABC Radio and on Mashable and the Huffington Post.
Read the story on Huffington Post
Wade told me that for him the seed was planted when he saw how many wonky carrots were rejected – Wade wondered what kind of beer they would make.
“I didn’t even know if it would work,” he admitted this week.
“At the Pumpyard Brewery we try to use a lot of local product and I saw carrots as a bit of a challenge for myself.”
Wade contacted farmer Richard Gorman, who jumped at the chance to merge two of his favourite food groups.
With Wade in charge of the brewing, and Richard acting as chief carrot adviser, the pair created a Belgium-style farmhouse ale, that’s 16 per cent carrots and 6.5 per cent alcohol.
Wade’s Wabbit Saison was launched to the public at the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) in Melbourne last month and is now on tap at the Pumpyard Brewery in Ipswich. The carrot beer will also be showcased at the Winter Harvest Festival on July 4 as part of Scenic Rim Eat Local Week.
“It’s quite an earthy, funky beer,” explains Wade, who started brewing beer as a hobby 15 years ago.
“I have seasoned it with pepper. I did a test batch with straight carrot juice and it was almost like a carrot cider. We refined the beer and used pasteurized carrot juice and now the flavours have really started to develop.”
The carrot beer took six weeks to develop and is bright orange in colour.
Wade says while he has no hard evidence, he suspects carrot beer has some health benefits.
“Everyone knows the benefits of carrots in terms of eye sight and beta carotene,” he says.
“The question is whether the beta carotene survives the fermentation process.
“It’s got to be better than drinking other types of beer. A lot of customers have already asked whether this counts as their daily intake of vegetables.”
Richard says he’s always looking for ways to value-add his carrots and to use more of his crop.
“it’s a perfect partnership,” he says.
“We are partial to the odd glass of beer but we also love carrots and we produce a lot of them – about 20,000 tonnes this year. We hate seeing any of our crop go to waste so projects like this mean we can direct the mis-shapen carrots to the beer.”