Beechworth’s Bridge Road Brewers has gone old-fashioned with its latest release, a unique beer style called a braggot. Not often featured in books about beer, let alone brewed, a braggot is a style dating back to the 1300s made by blending beer and mead (an alcoholic beverage made from honey).
This beer, christened Megachile Pluto Braggot, is the first beer developed by Bridge Road’s assistant brewer Nadia McGrath. Nadia says that while she’s excited about her first brew, a braggot wasn’t her first choice.
“I originally wanted to do a blueberry beer, but by the time the opportunity (tank space) arose for me brew, blueberries were out of season and we were headed into winter,” she said.
“I had wanted Ben to do a collaboration beer with Beechworth honey for a while and I thought a braggot would be a good style to showcase the honey. I had never had a braggot and was interested to see how it would turn out.”
Nadia says the recipe for her braggot wasn’t easy to come by.
“I Googled braggot to begin with, coming up with different home brew recipes, but nothing I was really looking to do. I then looked into winter warmers to research what spices to use. The Megachile Pluto’s spice profile is actually inspired by a pumpkin ale. For the Malt and hop profile, I just tried to imagine what the resulting flavours would be based on other beers I’ve had, trying to give the Braggot a big malty backbone. Ben suggested the Trappist yeast strain and after a few small trials I was convinced,” Nadia said.
One-time brews can be a little tough to pull off and Nardia says brewing the braggot wasn’t without its problems.
“It came together first go, but just barely. It was all going along smoothly until it came to transferring it from the kettle to the fermentation tank. The honey wasn’t boiled for long enough and was too thick to pass through the pump. We ended up keeping the boiling going through almost all of the transfer,” she said.
The brewers say this is a big beer, and have named it after world’s largest bee species, the Megachile Pluto. Weighing in at 10% ABV Nadia says it is one that should be savoured slowly on winter nights.
“We have found it really shows its complexity and character when served at 16C or warmer,” she advises.
The brewery says the Braggot has a beautiful red colour, and a nose of honey, coming from the 85kg of Red Stringy Bark Honey from Beechworth Honey uses in the brew. On the palate the hybrid beer displays an array of spices, including nutmeg and cinnamon, honey and full caramel malts. The hops in the Braggot kick in right at finish reminding you that this is a beer and not a mead.
Stocks are very limited, only 30 cases and 8 kegs have been produced. The beer retails at $35 per six-pack. Brewery owner Ben Kraus advises members of the brewery’s Posse will receive a complimentary bottle in their next shipment
Read more about the beer’s development on Nadia’s blog www.femmefataleales.com