This Summer at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market, we were lucky enough to have our Throwback booth right next to McKenzie’s farm. One day at the market, they brought in the most gorgeous blackberries we had ever seen! We (of course) bought one of the little half-pints, which lasted us all of about 3 minutes. ūüôā¬†As we were licking the purple stains off our fingers, Annette and I said at about the same time ‘Unafraid of the Dark!!‘. ¬†Yes, we knew we had to make a our favorite kind of beer (dark beer) with these luscious berries.

The first step was to collect them. ¬†So, on a fine Sunday morning, we drove up to the farm in Milton hoping there were still enough berries to pick. ¬†Annette, who grew up in Oregon where berries are plentiful, was getting me mentally prepared for the challenge. ¬†“Blackberries have evil thorns”, she said. “If they aren’t ripe enough, they will taste too sour and won’t be very good”, she warned ominously. ¬†I was a bit intimidated.¬† ūüėČ

Well, we made our way to the blackberry patch, and it seemed almost like magic. ¬†First of all – no thorns! ¬†Seriously. ¬†Second, the berries were so ripe and juicy, they practically fell off the plant. And, they were oh so sweet as well. ¬†It seemed as if McKenzie’s Farm had grown several rows of magic berries.

Fast forward several months to about a week ago… I took the berries out of the freezer (which we froze whole), and heated them up to about 180 degrees. ¬†This broke the berries down into an amazing blackish / purplish liquid with partial berry bits. ¬†(Note- normally, I would share a photo at this point, but the picture came out looking a bit too gory, which would probably make you think ‘eeewww’ and not ‘yummmm!’).

Meanwhile, back at the brewery, Annette and team brewed up an oatmeal stout base.  We decided to go with an oatmeal stout as the base for BlackBEERy because we thought that 1- the lighter body of this stout would let the magic of the blackberries shine through the best and 2- the fruity esters that are created with an English ale yeast would be a nice complement to the berries.

Well, I think we were right! ūüôā If you pour a glass of this beer, you will find:
— The color is a super cool deep purple, and the purple hues carry through to the head.
— Take a sniff, and you will certainly smile from the very present fruitiness. To me, the fruit notes come mainly from the ester-y notes from the yeast (which I find really enjoyable), but the berry of the blackberry shines through near the end.
— Take a sip, and it is almost like drinking a liquid blackberry pie. Very jammy. Really smooth. I almost get some notes of plum, too. The berry finish lingers on the palette. ¬†As such, I think this beer would be great to drink with something like a creme br√Ľl√©e. ¬†I’d pair anything with chocolate, and this is no exception. ¬†A real dark chocolate bar and a glass of this. So good. ¬†I can also see it going well with some rich meats like duck and venison.
BlackBEERy Stout clocks in at 6.3% A.B.V.  This beer makes us berry happy, and we hope it makes you happy, too!

NOTE – this is the first beer in the Unafraid of the Dark III series. ¬†We’ll be pouring this beer for all customers starting this coming Thursday, Jan 9th. ¬†We will do that until we get nervous that we won’t have enough for all of the Unafraid of the Dark members. ¬†Once all members pick up their fill, we will start pouring it again for everyone. ¬†Cheers!

Berry happy

Berry happy