Hop Chef: The Devil’s Milkshake

There’s no way we could hold a secret ingredient competition without having the awesome ThirstyBear Organic Brewery onboard! ThirstyBear has been serving up their critically acclaimed Spanish tapas alongside their tasty organic brews to the good people of San Francisco since 1996. We got to spend some time hanging out with Brewmaster Brenden and assistant brewer Michael to talk about their Hop Chef game plan!

When Brendan drew the Hop Chef ingredient, strawberries, he wasn’t exactly thrilled, “In my mind I thought ‘Oh no.’ Ron Silberstein, the founding brewmaster for ThirstyBear, had mentioned that he had attempted using strawberries before and it didn’t work out… It takes a shocking amount of strawberries to make a strawberry beer.” Strawberries are tough to brew with, the fruit can be volatile and the flavor is pretty tame.

Despite their initial reservations, Brenden and Michael decided to have some fun with this beer. They determined pretty quickly that they wanted to brew a riff on a strawberry milkshake. Inspired by their nitrogen-conditioned ESB recipe, with its color and mouthfeel, they also borrowed a note from the Milk Stout style and incorporated lactose for a dairy-like sweetness.  In the kettle, a combination of 40 pounds of whole and dried strawberries were added to the boil. A new hop varietal named  “Jaryylo” was added for its banana and apricot aromas and flavors to complement the strawberries. Roughly 500 pounds of strawberry puree was split between the primary and secondary fermentations for a 15-barrel batch! A touch of organic vanilla beans were “dry-hopped” for a more authentic milkshake experience.

What are they thinking of calling this delicious treat? “The Devil’s Milkshake.” To get a taste of The Devil’s Milkshake grab tickets for Hop Chef this Saturday.