In medieval Europe, ale graced the tables of everyone from paupers to kings, but honey wine, called mead, was largely reserved for the rich. In the days before table sugar came from the tropical parts of the world, honey was the only intensely sweet thing that many people had access to. Honey was expensive – after all, a man can only keep so many bees. Meads were also expensive, but people often brought ale and mead together in a popular drink called “braggott”. Sometimes these braggotts were simply blends, but the best of them had the grain and honey extracts fermented together, bringing both sets of flavors into a unified whole. To tell the truth, our brewmaster hadn’t spent much time thinking about braggott until last summer, when he ran into Nathaniel and Thatcher Martin at the New Amsterdam Market in New York City. The Martin brothers were pouring small samples of their mead, called Brooklyn Buzz. It was pretty delicious, and they all got talking about honey. It turned out that the Martins source their raw wildflower honey from the same place that Brooklyn Brewery does – Tremblay Farms in upstate New York. And now, as summer smiles upon us once more, we bring you the result of last summer’s stroll through the market – Brooklyn Buzz Bomb Ale.
We’ve used Alan Tremblay’s wildflower honey in a few of our beers, most notably Brooklyn Local 2. In Brooklyn Buzz Bomb, the honey takes center stage, making up a full 25% of the fermentable sugar. We added the honey to the kettle along with a gentle hopping and a
lilt of orange peel. Is the beer sweet? Actually, not at all – honey is quite fermentable and our Belgian ale yeast is very hungry. Brooklyn Buzz Bomb has a bright gold color and a spicy floral aroma showing distinctive honey notes. The palate is light, crisp, and very dry, showing a zing of acidity and a quick burst of fruit. Complex floral, honey and spice flavors linger in the bone-dry finish.
Brooklyn Buzz Bomb is a perfect match for summer foods - salads, barbecue, shrimp dishes, hummus, grilled salmon, brunch dishes and fresh goat cheese. It’s also very pleasant all by itself, as you smell the flowers, feel the sun dapple through the trees, listen to the birds sing and wonder what it was you really liked about snow anyway.