What’s better than fresh blueberries? Beer, of course, but why not have both at once?
That is the idea behind a planned blueberry brew coming this summer from Sebastopol’s Crooked Goat Brewing, using blueberries from Serres Ranch in Sonoma Valley.
Crooked Goat Brewmaster Will Erickson said he is looking to make about 10 barrels of the blue brew, which he said would have a “fun, easy-drinking, full-fruit” flavor.
He said the base style of beer will be a kolsch, a kind of aged golden ale. He would add the blueberries at the end of fermentation.
But the berries won’t be the only boss in this beer.
“We’re also going to add some Madagascar vanilla beans,” Erickson said, to give the beer “more of a blueberry ice cream flavor.”
While Crooked Goat has other fruity brews available in its taproom year-round, including blackberry and raspberry flavors, Serres reached out with the idea and the berries.
“We had some fruit that was a little overripe that we wanted to not throw away,” said Serres Ranch’s Taylor Serres. They sold about 200 pounds of blueberries to Crooked Goat that did not quite meet their strict flavor and size profiles.
Serres said she is always looking for ways to partner with local businesses, including breweries, restaurants and bakeries.
“We like to partner with people around the (city) of Sonoma and the county to get our fruit out there,” Serres said, noting City Garden Donuts & Coffee in Santa Rosa will soon be debuting a blueberry doughnut featuring Serres’ berries.
Selling the fruit as an ingredient is “another outlet for us for fruit that doesn’t make it to the fresh market that is perfect for processing.” It is also a marketing opportunity for both buyer and seller. “They create a product and we get the benefit from that through the marketing side,” Serres said.
Erickson at Crooked Goat said he hoped to make this batch the first of a recurring seasonal beer.
“My goal is to — perhaps, starting with this blueberry beer — to source seasonally available local fruit and make beers based on that,” Erickson said. “This will be hopefully the first of many.”