Raspberry Roselle: Behind the Beer

It’s December! Which means Raspberry Roselle is here to brighten your long winter nights with a lovely combination of tart and jammy berry flavors.

 

 

Head Brewer Niko Tonks goes behind the beer with Raspberry Roselle…

“RASPBERRY ROSELLE WAS A NATURAL FOR US – Hibiscus, the overriding flavor in Roselle, and Raspberry (which we clearly add to this beer) are mutually reinforcing, and play very well together.

We’ve been making Raspberry Roselle for at least six months longer than we’ve been selling it. The idea to make a fruited version of Roselle is as old as the beer itself, and the first batch of the Rasberry Roselle is a pretty funny piece of Fair State history. Back in the day, we didn’t have a whole lot of equipment or flexibility, especially with regards to packaging beer in bottles, so the first time we made Rasberry Roselle, we just ran some finished beer into a blending tank, added raspberries, waited a while, tried it, loved it, and went to package it. What we didn’t anticipate, however, was the sheer amount of fruit puree that would make it into the bottles. Needless to say, we didn’t sell any of it, and we all enjoyed super thick fruity pours of Rasberry Roselle at home for many months thereafter. The stuff tasted too good to not do it again, and the second time we nailed our process a little better. We’ve produced it in December every year since, as a bright and fruity antidote to seasonal affective disorder.

Raspberry Roselle’s process mirrors that of “regular” Roselle very closely, in that it is a kettle or hot side sour, fermented clean with a relatively neutral ale yeast. We add a very large amount of raspberries to the tail end of fermentation, which ensures proper fermentation but limits the amount of delicate fruit aroma and flavor we lose to carbon dioxide scrubbing during active fermentation.

 

Raspberry Roselle is a fun yearly counterpart to U-Pick, the mixed fermentation whole local fruit beer we make once a year. With Rasberry Roselle, you get a very “jammy” raspberry flavor that seems sweeter than it is, even. With U-Pick, you get a slightly more nuanced whole fruit presentation that skews towards being, for lack of a better word, “seedy,” and indicative of wholly unprocessed fruit. I wouldn’t say one is necessarily better than the other; they are different and interesting presentations of fruit character both. Fruit flavors and aromas are very delicate and will degrade with excessive age. As with all fruited sour beer, Raspberry Roselle is best consumed fresh.”

 

FIND RASBERRY ROSELLE IN THE WILD 

Rasberry Roselle is available at our Northeast Mpls taproom on December 6th and at a craft beer retailer near you starting December 10th. Use the locator below to find the Raspberry Roselle retailer nearest you.