Brewers have been using herbs in beer since the very early days, more than 1,000 years ago, and they remain a valuable tool to highlight the category’s diversity. But whether it’s to mimic familiar flavors, pay homage to a dish or encourage drinkers to get outside, brewers are now accenting beers like never before.
Strawberry Basil Hefeweizen
This wheat beer incorporates midsummer garden flavors to create an overall refreshing experience. Sweet strawberry and vibrant basil mix with esters of banana and clove from the Bavarian yeast strain. Not overly sugary, it’s like an herbal fruit salad you can enjoy year-round.
Carton Brewing Co.
The New Jersey brewery garners acclaim for its ability to deconstruct familiar or celebrated dishes. This 12% abv winter warmer is an homage to the five-spice roast duck from Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park in New York City. All of its flavors are identifiable, and it comforts like a good meal should.
Perennial Artisan Ales
Chocolate has long played a role in stouts, and it certainly does in this seasonal release from the Missouri brewery. But the real delight in this barrel-aged brew is the use of mint. It provides a cool, refreshing sendoff with each sip, which livens up both the chocolate and the wood notes. It’s like dessert in a glass.
Blackberry and Lavender
Scratch Brewing Co.
Fermented and then bottle-conditioned with the rural brewery’s wild house-yeast strain, this is a sour ale that represents its signature ingredients well and is designed to cellar for a few years. Ruby red in color, it’s refreshing, tart and offers aromas of honey and lavender.
Plan Bee Farm Brewery
One of the most celebrated producers in New York’s vibrant Hudson Valley brewing scene, this brewery, actually on a farm, has created a wild ale with so many herbs that Colonel Sanders would blush. The citrusy mix comes from lemon basil, bee balm, pineapple mint, lemon verbena and lemongrass, all grown within sight of the brew kettle.