Every now and then you come across a beer which makes you think: “Someone had to have been catastrophically drunk to think of that“. Which is exactly what was going through my mind when I chanced upon the Dieu de Ciel Rosee d’Hibiscus sometime ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I – more than a lot of people – am aware of just how many things you can actually use to make beer. The French-Canadians in particular seem to specialise in making beers that elicit both a curious-yet-slightly-disbelieving sensation. Just the other day I had an apricot wheat ale. Which not-so-surprisingly was from a brewery based in Montreal.
The thing is, I’m down with different grains, different malts, different hops, and different fruits being used to make. It’s when you start using flowers to make brews that you start to question people’s sanity slightly.
The Rosee d’Hibiscus makes use of – as is quite evident from the name – hibiscus flowers to flavour their beer. One can only imagine that this brewing ‘discovery’ had to have taken place the morning after a dangerous amount of beer was partaken, and some faint remnants of a conversation regarding experimental beers came floating back into consciousness. Or the head brewer woke up in a garden-bed and was inspired by the flower’s fragrance!
I am aware that you can purchase hibiscus flowers in syrup in bottle shops across Australia (and undoubtedly the world), but seriously. If you buy them and serve them with sparkling wine then you’re being just a lot pretentious aren’t you?
Nonetheless, according to the brewer’s website, the Rosee d’Hibiscus involves the addition of tropical flowers during the brewing process to add aroma and flavour to give the beer “a slight acidity and a very agreeable fragrance”. And yes, describing your beer’s aroma as ‘agreeable’ doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence that you’re about to taste liquid gold, but bear with it.
It’s a beer that begins life as a fairly refreshing wheat beer – similar in style to Hoegaarden – and adds just a hint of difference to the drinking experience. Never having smelt or eaten a hibiscus flower, I can only assume itisactually the flowers adding the flavour. The beer is a pinkish-orange which is a little bit freaky for the average drinker, but if you can get past that it’s a beer that has some merit.
The usual white beer suspects of coriander and orange peel make a definite appearance, and there’s also some slight berry/fruity flavours that come through as the beer warms. Before I go any further, it is true that this isn’t the beer to have after a hard day’s work. It’s just a bit fancy to fill that role. But, it is one worth sipping on one summer’s afternoon.
Preferably in a pub overlooking some form of garden. Just so you can properly get in the spirit of it all.