Latest Specialty Beer: Wildcraft Ale
If there has ever been a craft beer that warrants attention from all the senses, that beer is Wildcraft Ale. This intriguingly complex brew is the latest in our specialty beer line-up, and boasts ingredients that no other Standing Stone beer has: wild foraged herbs from Southern Oregon’s own Grizzly Peak. These herbs blend with hops, malt and yeast to create a dark, black colored beer with strong anise aroma, earthy flavor and spicy mouthfeel.
Last month, our brewmaster, Larry Chase, stepped up to a challenge presented by Beers Made By Walking, a Pacific Northwest group that encourages breweries to craft a specialty beer with locally foraged ingredients. This summer, they asked five craft breweries in Oregon to join in and brew up their own unique beers that show off edible (and drinkable) herbs in their regional landscapes. All five breweries came together in Portland last Sunday, October 21st, to present their specialty concoctions at the unveiling event, a fundraiser for the Northwest Trail Alliance. You can visit the Beers Made By Walking website to see all the participating breweries and their creative new brews.
Larry rose to the beer-making challenge with enthusiasm last June and enlisted local herbalist, Jon Carlson, to join him on a hike to Grizzly Peak to identify edible plants near Ashland, OR.
After a day of trekking through local trails and identifying handfuls of edible and medicinal plant varieties, Larry chose the featured ingredients for Wildcraft Ale – Sweet Root and Wild Ginger.
About Sweet Root
Sweet Root can be found in nearly all the mountains of the Pacific West and is best harvested late-summer through fall. Its flavor can be compared to licorice or fennel, and a tea made with the plant can aid in digestion and respiratory function.
About Wild Ginger
This plant is indigenous to America and can be found in moist woods and shady areas that are at mid- to low-elevation. The root is strongly aromatic with a mild bitter taste, and slight sweetness.
Of course, we recommend having an expert with you when doing any wild foraging for edible plants. Contact Jon Carlson with the Vitalist School of Herbology in Ashland if you’re interested in learning more about wild, edible herbs specific to Southern Oregon.
About the Beer
Deep black color, strong anise aroma, and medium body. The spicy, tingling mouthfeel is accompanied by flavors of earthy and woody licorice. 5.5% abv. 20 IBU
Briess Extra Special
Briess Midnight Wheat
Bittering = Willamette
The licorice and earthy qualities of this beer make it an excellent pairing with similar-flavored food. Try it with roasted fennel at home, or pair with black and red licorice to compare the flavors. Mushrooms make a great match, especially wild-foraged varieties from your local farmers market or food co-op. Dark chocolate is an excellent pairing, too, with its slightly sweet and bitter qualities. Here are our pairing suggestions from the menu:
Italian Sausage Pizza
Three Meat Pizza
Italian Sausage Linguini
Sautéed Crimini Mushrooms
Stir Crazy Dark Chocolate Cake
Be sure to ask your server or bartender for a sample of Wildcraft Ale on your next visit. We’re certain it’ll grab your attention! Take a few moments to assess its color, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel for an enjoyable and complex tasting experience.