“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Saturday, May 29, 2010

How Naughty!

Nun better!
Yesterday I told you all about my beer purchases. Well, tonight I had my bottle of Naughty Nun Witbier, and it's every bit as naughty as the label promises. It is a brew inspired by the Belgian Witbiers and heavily spiced with orange, and in fact it has the look of a glass of grapefruit juice when poured into a glass and you can really smell the citrus. It's fruit juice with a kick, though - 5% alc/vol is not shabby at all. At first blush it doesn't appear to have any carbonation but when you try a sip, it clearly has a light, almost mimosa-like quality to the fizziness. Just lovely.

Witbier (Dutch - "white beer") is based on the Belgian tradition of using flavourings such as coriander and orange peel. It is a barley/wheat, top-fermented beer brewed mainly in Belgium, although there are also examples in the Netherlands and elsewhere. It gets its name due to suspended yeast and wheat proteins which cause the beer to look hazy, or white, when cold. It is a descendant from those medieval beers which were not brewed with hops, but instead flavoured and preserved with a blend of spices and other plants referred to as "gruit". It therefore still uses gruit, although nowadays the gruit consists mainly of coriander, orange, bitter orange, and hops. The taste is therefore only slightly hoppish, and is very refreshing in summer. The beers have a somewhat sour taste due to the presence of lactic acid. The suspended yeast in the beer causes some continuing fermentation in the bottle.
Witbier differs from other varieties of wheat beer in the use of gruit. French regulation (the territory was French in the 14th century) excluded the use of hops in gruit. Witbier can be made with raw wheat, in addition to wheat malt.

Blah blah blah. Yeah, but what does it taste like? Like a light beer or lager would taste if you added some orange or grapefruit juice, really. Imagine a Hefeweizen with a wedge of orange and you're on the right track. Of course, it's a lot more complex than that, but when you're labeling your product with erotic art by a renowned artist (Lynn Paula Russell) then who cares about technicalities?

Well I never!
The brewer, Fallen Angel Brewery, based in East Hoathly, East Sussex, also makes a dark mead, which comes (!) in interestingly-shaped bottles. I had never really thought of East Hoathly as a hotbed of erotica, but it just goes to show that one must never judge a village by its name alone.
I do declare!

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