Pineapple Weed Grisette
On a typically wet night back in May, I was first introduced to the humble Pineapple Weed plant during an episode of Masterchef. The plant is part of the Chamomile family, and originated in the Asia and was introduced to the UK in the 1800s. As the name suggests the plant smells and tastes like pineapple, this peaked my interest enough that I had to find some and try it in a beer.
My first thought was to add it to a Saison, I figured that the rustic characteristics of the Belgian farmhouse ale would complement the pineapple weed well. But after trying a fantastic Grisette from Duration Brewing I decided that I have a go at that instead. A Grisette has very similar characteristics to a Saison but was brewed for miners instead of farmers. It tended to be drunk fresh rather than aged like a Saison often was and was typically a lower ABV. The name, which means "little grey one" in Dutch, is thought to of come from the name of the local grey-coloured stone or from the grey frocks worn by the women who served the beer in local pubs.
The recipe itself is very simple, Pale ale and wheat malt backed up with a hit of First Gold Hops for bittering. I decided to follow a Belgian stepped mashing schedule to stay within tradition and fermented it on the cooler side to try and tame some of the more forceful flavour characteristics of the yeast.
Once the beer was nearly fully fermented a small, dedicated team of pickers scoured the countryside looking for the all-important Pineapple weed to round out the beer. After a few hours of intensive picking and staring at grass verges we had a healthy pile of the flowers. These were steeped in water and then “dry hopped” in the beer along with the tea.