Barley, water, hops, yeast: the simplest ingredients list for the greatest recipes known to mankind, providing infinite possibilities for the brewer to work his magic. But in this golden age of beer there’s a frenzied thirst to look beyond these precious items and introduce new flavours into the melting pot – ingredients that are collectively known as ‘adjuncts’.
We proudly suffer from a severe infliction of adjunctivitis, casually casting all manner of edibles into our brewing vessels in the hope of conjuring exciting new beery flavours. Mostly it works.*
New Dutch brewery Lowlander also have a similar affliction, as their range of botanical boozes attests. Their trio of adjunctive-laden goods includes a white ale brewed with with curacao orange, elderflower and chamomile and a porter brewed with vanilla & liquorice root.** But the beer I found most interesting was their IPA, containing coriander and white tea.
All three of the Lowlander beers have magnificently illustrated labels on the bottles but, as with the contents, it’s the IPA artwork that stands out. It’s of a monkey. A monkey wearing a jacket and sailors hat, chugging on a pipe mid-booze session. According to the marketing notes, this chap represents the monkeys who returned home with Dutch seafarers “which they would sell to tavern-keepers to pay off drinking debts” and the beer is a “tribute to those sailors’ spirit of adventure, and quick thinking.” We like simian-fronted bottle labels but let it be pointed out that in no way do we condone using monkeys as items of trade. Nor do we approve of plying them with booze and nicotine. Dressing them up to ride dogs, however, is perfectly acceptable.
Anyway, back to the beer…
Using adjuncts doesn’t necessarily mean the beer will be heavily infused with those additional flavours. In many instances they enhance or alter the properties of the existing ingredients to create interesting twists on the overall flavour profile. And that is pretty much what’s happening with this IPA.
It has a lovely aroma, like a quick spritz of fresh citrus. The zestiness continues into the flavour before a bitterness unfurls, finally drying out with a dash of spice. All well restrained and deliciously drinkable. If we think specifically about those adjuncts then maybe we can claim an extra spiciness to the zest, courtesy of the coriander, and a hint of tea dryness at the finish, but this could all be me overthinking how those ingredients might behave.
But precisely how those adjuncts have worked doesn’t really matter: the brewer has successfully used them to produce his own unique take on an IPA and it’s one that is thoroughly enjoyable. I would ask if he has any more he can shift me, but don’t want to risk him demanding a monkey in exchange.
Brewery: Lowlander, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Beer name: IPA
*Except with bananas
**Good choices. We use both these adjuncts for recipes in our book ‘Brew it Yourself‘
Thanks to Emma at Love Drinks for sending us the booze to review