The competition has now closed and we’ve contacted the winners
It’s a new kind of brew.
A beer that tastes more like a sparkling wine.
Don’t quite believe it?
Neither did we but we found it at Ripley Farmers Market and everyone we’ve shared it with since then has sipped, supped and said, “Oooh that’s different!”
And it is.
Binary Botanical is the first offering from Surrey-based Good Living Brew Company. Head brewer, or alchemist as she prefers to be known, is Danielle Bekker who makes no apology for her slightly geeky approach.
‘My undergraduate degree was Chemical Engineering. I then did a Master in Brewing Science where I learnt that brewing is as much art as it is a science. I have worked in the brewing industry in supply chain and innovation since I left university. I do love trying new things, developing new processes and seeing how much we can change beer.’
The first of Danielle’s innovations is that Binary Botanical uses wine yeast instead of the more traditional brewing yeast. Danielle says that makes a huge difference to the flavour.
‘The notes are far more what you would expect in a white wine, for example the tropical fruit flavours, gooseberry etc.’
But using it sets Danielle and her brewing team a challenge.
‘The yeast behaves quite differently in the brewing process and we have had to modify how we brew accordingly. Each yeast does have quite a distinctive flavour profile. ‘
‘A lot of home brewers use wine yeast but not many in the commercial sector. The carbohydrate spectrum, optimum pH and temperature are very different for a beer yeast and a wine yeast. In addition when you use a wine yeast in beer you have to make sure that it is POF negative (phenolic off flavour negative). POF+ yeasts interact with ferulic acids from malted grains to produce 4-vinyl guaiacol, which imparts a clovelike character to beer which is generally an off flavour.’
Okay that’s where Danielle shows her geek credentials and the taming of the yeast is clearly an important thing. But the innovation doesn’t stop there. Most brewers use dried hops but Binary Botanical goes one step further.
‘We keep the hop leaves in too – they’re organic and add an extra astringency which helps provide the mouthfeel that is more reminiscent of a white wine. It also helps boost the more herbal notes.’
So what does Binary Botanical taste like?
Hops are what give all beers their bitterness but the leaves add a tangy flavour that lightens the dark. There are hints of tropical fruit on the tongue and the fruitiness of a dry white wine while delivering a soft bubble that really does make it feel like a prosecco.
And Danielle believes keeping the leaves in is also a way of making the brew sustainable. ‘The UK hop industry is in decline but if more organic producers could sell on the whole plant, instead of the leaves going to waste, it would help them a lot.’
So it’s the hop leaves that are mainly responsible for the ‘Ooh that’s different!’ reaction. It’s not to everyone’s taste and Danielle wishes she could figure out who a typical Binary Botanical lover might be, because they come in all shapes and sizes.
‘So far we’ve found it’s a combination of the more curious who have a broad repertoire of drinks and see the evolution that Binary brings. Sometimes people are looking for a less alcoholic wine, and this fits the bill. We also do a non-alcoholic version with the more health-conscious consumer and of course vegans, as our beer uses no animal products at all in the process.’
So it’s clean, crisp, low in alcohol and vegan.
It’s also flexible. Many of our non-beer lovin’ guests have tried it and enjoyed it. And how about a beer-based cocktail, mocktail or Buck’s Fizz? Sounds strange but it really works – about two thirds beer to one third orange juice gives a zingy drink with a far lower alcohol hit than one made with sparkling wine.
If, like us, you start Christmas Day with a Bucks Fizz but don’t want to peak too soon, this could be the answer.
Want to try Binary Botanical for yourself?
This competition has now closed and the winners selected
Danielle is offering two lucky people a case of 20 x 250ml bottles of Binary Botanical each – either the alcoholic or non-alcoholic versions.
Enter using the Gleam widget below and we’ll pick two winners after the giveaway closes at:
midnight on Saturday 14 December 2019.
You must be 18 or over to enter and live in mainland UK for delivery.
Full terms and conditions here.
Binary Botanical 4% ABV comes in either 660ml or 250ml bottles
The 0.5% ABV is available in 250ml bottles and you can buy in cases of 12 or 20. See their website shop for details.