Inventory for June 22nd, 2014
We’ve managed to squeeze in our office spring clean just in time, yesterday marked the official beginning of summer! This week the legendary Beefeater distillery opened its doors to the public. Two design students launched a collection of bitters made with roasted crickets and the States discovered the taste of Black Forest junipers.
A week that saw the longest day of the year, though don’t despair yet—we have plenty of 15+ sunshine hour days ahead of us, only the clouds have to play along. Armed with an umbrella in one hand and sunscreen in the other, we’re prepared for the week ahead and look forward to tasting the recent additions to Berlin’s craft beer scene.
Critter Bitters to End World Hunger?
In an attempt to tackle the problem of feeding our ever-growing population, the UN released a report last year titled ‘Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security’. Our favorite part highlighted that “Western society needed to overcome the disgust factor” in order to willingly consume insects. New York-based design students Lucy Knops and Julia Plevin took this notion to heart and, inspired by the precedent set by mixing alcohol with insects—from scorpion vodka to mezcal with worms—the two decided to walk Americans through the normalization of entomology via alcohol.
Their logic is plausible, most people tend to be at their most adventurous when drinking after all. So far the bitter comes in four flavors: Vanilla Cricket, Cacao Cricket, Toasted Almond Cricket and Pure Cricket and can be used mixed into cocktails or served with soda water. Their design product background would not leave well enough alone, and the accompanying coasters add a slightly gimmicky touch to the idea, while also making it more aesthetically pleasing. Doubtful if this will actually save the world from a famish in 2075 but hey, at least it’s a new approach.
New Beefeater Gin Palace
On the 21st of May this year, 90 selected guests made their way to the opening of Beefeater’s new Gin distillery visitor’s centre, which opened its doors to the general public last week. The multi-million pound project is a space for gin lovers to join together and learn more about the history of the liquor and about the historic milestones of Beefeater. The opening follows a general increase and 19% growth in the worldwide interest and sales of gin. 200 years after it was first launched Beefeater is still produced in the heart of London. The interactive exhibition leads the viewer from gin’s early days up until modern times, starting with the infamous, satirical print ‘Gin Lane’ which was published by artist William Hogarth in 1751.
To celebrate the opening bartender Kyle Wilkinson, of The Blind Pig, developed a recipe inspired by the history of gin. Wanting to create a drink that showcases the influence American cocktails and bartenders had on Great Britain during prohibition, Kyle used Kamm and Sons as well as rhubarb syrup – lending the drink its characteristic British twist. The orange liquor represents the Netherland’s influence on the growth of gin in the 17th century, as juniper spirits were first consumed in Holland for medicinal purposes.
The Journey of Gin
30 ml Beefeater London Dry Gin
20 ml Kamm and Sons
20 ml Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
20 ml Lime Juice
7.5 ml homemade Rhubarb Syrup
15 ml Egg White
Shake all ingredients, add ice, shake again and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with Angostura Bitters and orange zest.
The Next German Craft Beer Wave
While the German craft beer scene is nowhere near as huge as the one currently expanding in the States, slowly but surely we’re starting to get there. Over at our sister publication, Brew Berlin blog, Nina Anika Klotz took an in depth look at the German and American craft beer scene. This year will see at least the 3000th brewery open in the States, approximately one new craft brewery opens its forts there every single day.
Craft Beer is at the verge of its golden age, new varieties are entering the market on a daily basis and all this competitions can only encourage the brewers to strive for their best possible product. Over here in Germany, we’re still a far cry away from a large, local scene—which equals plenty of room to grow! Last month the Berlin Craft Beer Festival saw the premiere of two new capital-based breweries: The Spent Brewers collective and Flying Turtle beer. Both, for now, are still brewing at Thorsten Schoppe’s though the grand plans is to open their own respective breweries.
Another exciting project in the making will officially launch at the beginning of August this year. At that point Wendelin Quadt, currently brewing together with Berlin master brewer Hans Wägner in a private Bamberg space, will have given up his IT managerial job and jumped head first into his new life as craft beer brewer. Called Kuehn Kunz Rosen, the launch will introduce two balanced, well-rounded beers. This decision was made purposefully: instead of going to one extreme or another Quadt hopes to attract a larger audience outside the hardcore craft beer aficionados, which is also the reasoning behind the extremely well-thought out design and marketing around the product.
The US Discovers the Junipery Taste of the Black Forest
Earlier this week Geoff Kleinman wondered why on earth the godfather of spirits, Sidney Frank would bring on the “obscure, oddball ” German Monkey 74. Asking what could possibly compel Frank to this decision. Wanting to understand the choice, he sets out to try the gin himself. Already not too pleased from the first nosing, things, literally, go sour when Kleinman tastes the spirit.
While the “symphony of flavors” seems to please him, the twelve different shades that offer various tastes of pine, moss, lemon balm, black pepper, sour lingonberry, etc. are too much. Though the finish of Monkey’s 47 is more solid than he expected, Kleinman again is none too pleased, though it does offer a “much needed respite from the mid palate”. Mixed as a gin and tonic, the result apparently was so bitter and unpalatable that it became undrinkable.
Reading his first couple of words, it’s apparent that Geoff Kleinman is taken aback by Sindey Frank’s decision. His take on the situation is a clear demonstration of America’s insularity. May the flavour appear unpalatable or unmixable, Monkey 47 gin has made a name for itself on the European market within three short years, and has become available in practically every premium bar. At the same time it’s achieved the status of brand call on the consumer’s side in Germany and the label’s managed to establish itself throughout the German-speaking countries quicker than Hendricks Gin did in the noughties. So why again did Sidney Frank start importing that brand? Having loads of previous experience importing and marketing German spirits like Jägermeister and Bärenjäger?