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The Badass Tap: Widmer Prickly Pear Braggot

Widmer Braggot

Just in time for Robin Hood we've got an ancient beer style that Robin and his band of outlaws would probably have been familiar with - braggot.  In fact, it's mentioned in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales which was published in the late 1300s:        But of her song, it was as loud and yern,        As any swallow chittering on a bern.        Thereto she coulde skip, and make a game        As any kid or calf following his dame.        Her mouth was sweet as braket, or as methe        Or hoard of apples, laid in hay or heath.

Braggot (bracket/bragget/bragawd) is similar to mead (methe), but whereas mead is, at its simplest, fermented honey and water, braggot can be either a mix of mead and beer, often with added spices, or it can be brewed as a kind of honey beer. Either way, the difference between mead and braggot is that braggot must involve malt.

Although it's something of a speciality beer there are quite a few of them around, including this one from Widmer Bros. of Portland, Oregon which is the latest release in their Brothers Reserve series. They've brewed it with pale malts and knapweed honey, with an addition of Alchemy hops to cut the sweetness, but during fermentation they've also added prickly pear juice. Although still sweeter than most beers it's not sugary sweet.

I tried a bottle of this a few weeks ago and found it to be a very interesting beer. Not was I was expecting for something brewed with honey and cactus juice! There are some earthy notes to it and a sweet, herbal aroma from the honey and the knapweed nectar that the bees feasted on. There's a nice maltiness in the middle, and the hops give it a slightly bitter finish. You might also catch a hint of the 10% ABV. All in all a very smooth brew.

Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar “If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson

News Categories: General News, Austin


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