We have a new addition to the collection of Scratch sour beers: 2020's Strawberry Sumac.
Many of you are familiar with our Strawberry Rhubarb, a beer we've made for the past couple of years with strawberries and rhubarb that pop up in unison in the spring. The torrential rains and unusual climate during last year's spring meant that there was virtually no rhubarb across the entire state, from local farmers here in Southern Illinois to established farms with decades-old plants in central Illinois. We were unable to source rhubarb from our farm or from over a dozen phone calls to other farmers. Even strawberries were difficult to find in abundance. We got as many as we could and froze them until just the right complement came around for our beer. Enter sumac.
Half a year later as the growing season was winding down, we harvested a number of sumac cones to keep on hand for beer. We've had incredible success with sumac in sours, as it lends a delightful tart cherry-like finish. (Some may be lucky enough to have procured a bottle of our Sumac in the past.) This year we decided to combine sumac and strawberry into one powerhouse sour beer--what an incredible combination they made! We made a slightly smaller batch this year so that we could add more strawberries per barrel of beer and finished the boil with a healthy dose of sumac. The result is a bright, tart beer, brewed as always without hops; with the aroma of spring berries and a cherry pie-like finish.
The beer is available today in our tasting room for $17 per 500 ml bottle.