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Originally appeared in the 2013 May/June issue of Tea Magazine.
Craft beer aficionados and tea enthusiasts share a great deal of common ground with their interest in finely crafted, specialty beverages with nuanced flavor profiles. It is therefore not surprising that tea-loving brewmasters are starting to experiment with adding the leaf into their beers.
Joel Manning, brewmaster at Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery has long recognized the connections. “Since I started brewing I’ve noticed that if you taste pale beers before fermentation they have the flavor of the tannins, herbals, and florals of sweet iced tea,” he says.
In 2009 Mill Street’s two brew pubs were busy operating as test kitchens where 30-35 types of beer were born. Manning read about a Belgian beer by Lindemans that was made with tea and he was inspired to try making his own. He planned to make a 400 gallon batch to sell for the summer. His creation was a wheat beer with lemon puree and cane sugar that was cold-infused with orange pekoe black tea and an Earl Grey from Metropolitan Tea Company. Instead of lasting eight weeks, Lemon Tea Beer sold out in 10 days. It has now become a mainstay of their beers, appearing in their brew pubs and in cans in Canadian shops.
Beer & Tea: Where to get it
- Capital Teas Tea Lager - Available in 10 flavors from Creamy Earl Grey to Invigorating Mint Mate, try steeping in beer at home!
- Dogfish Head Sah'Tea
- Borderlands Brewing Company Hibiscus Saison
- Bluecreek Brewing Zen Green Tea IPA
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