Four & Twenty 7.2% Blackberry & Hemp Sour Ale is Fork’s newest release just in time for April 20 (think about it….). It’s also a great drop for our vegan friends!
Brewer, Kelly Ryan’s mind got a-buzzin’ (legally, of course), when a load of blackberry juice came available to him. He thought it would make a fantastic addition to a sour beer, wanting to emulate a tart pie in beer form.
He worked up a moreish recipe, taking inspiration from a combo of the childhood jingle (you know the one: “Sing-a-song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye, four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie”) and hemp culture.
Kel was keen to use rye malt as a nod to the nursery rhyme. Pies usually use flour as an ingredient, so that got him thinking about the other “four & twenty” reference.
As some of you *may be* aware, April 20 is International Weed Day. It originally referenced the time of day when a group of friends (back in the early 1970s in Marin, California) would knock off work at 4:20pm for a sneaky meet-up of a few puffs of their favourite illicit drug. Fast forward to the 1990s, and a bunch of Grateful Dead fans decided to make a day of it on April 20, which has become annually entrenched in cannabis culture.
Now we’ve had that little historical interlude, back to the beer.
Kelly was curious to see how hemp flour would come across in the beer, and sourced some high-protein, NZ-grown hemp flour and hemp seed hulls, which have added a slightly grassy, dank complexity in the back palate.
He also took inspiration from a boysenberry wine, Sentry Hill’s Garrison Red, from his hometurf of Taranaki, wanting to replicate those berry characters by combining the blackberry juice with cherry juice.
Pie recipes often call for cinnamon, nutmeg or other culinary baking spices, but Kel liked the idea of blackberry and black pepper, so this was added to the mash to bring a more unusual background spice to the brew.
Four and twenty blackberries baked in a pint, which will leave you jonesing for more.
To make your order: https://forkandbrewer.co.nz/shop/beer-delivery/______
Four & Twenty Blackberry & Hemp Sour Ale Tasting Notes
– Appearance: A deep purple red with a pale pink head and slight haze
– Aroma: A bit of a mindfork with the initial aromatics of blackberry bringing one straight to Cabernet Sauvignon, but with a hint of more perceived tartness. A slight unexplained “greenness” also shows itself when you get past the intense berry notes.
– Flavour: A big whack of berry fruit and freshly stewed blackberries on the initial palate. Sweetness up front leaning into a soft acidity to balance. A hint of spiciness and slight dank, hemp character at the finish. Almost a sparkling Shiraz/Syrah quality with some warming alcohol on the back palate.
– Hops: Aged Falconer’s Flight (2012)
– Malt: Pilsner, Wheat, Rye, Oats and Sour Grapes
– Bacteria: Fermentis SafSour (Lactobacillus plantarum)
– Yeast: Fermentis US-05
– Other: High protein (23%) hemp flour and hemp seed hulls
– AbV: 7.2%
– Bitterness: Very low