a saison with Myrica Gale
Back in June when we were visiting Belgium for Brasserie de la Sambre Festival and Carnival Brettanomyces, we had the pleasure of visiting the great folks of @antidootwildefermentenat their gorgeous home and brewing facility in the Belgian countryside. Among the wonderful beers they shared with us was one brewed with Myrica Gale, otherwise commonly known as Bog Myrtle or Sweet Gale, and we were stunned by the aroma imparted by this often overlooked plant: fruity, herbal, and spicy all at once.
After some brief research and realizing Myrica Gale is native to Washington State, we were eager to create a beer with this ingredient once we returned home. Since the fruit of the plant ripens in autumn, the timing seemed almost serendipitous; we foraged the fruit from the edges of Skagit Valley’s sloughs and outside of Bellevue.
Myrtle starts with a low gravity, low bitterness grisette brewed with Pilsner and Wheat from @skagitvalleymalting. The Myrica Gale was then added as a steep, much like we brew Alexandra, to coax out its multilayered flavor profile. On the nose there are hints of wildflower honey and straw, and on the palate we’re getting notes of coriander, juniper berry, Meyer lemon, and white pepper. It finishes dry, with a lively tartness from our house culture uplifting the singular character of the Myrica Gale.
We are inspired and driven by the diversity of ingredients endemic to our home here in Washington State. The fruits, herbs, vegetables, and spices native to the Northwest allow us to create special beers that reflect a specific time and place, and the seasonality and availability of Myrica Gale is a testament to the fact that unconventional ingredients can often yield exciting results. Many thanks to Tom and Wim of Antidoot for opening our eyes to a plant that was right under our noses here in Seattle all along.