July is Haskap Beer Month in B.C., an initiative brewed in the Shuswap.
Throughout the month, breweries across the province (as well as one in Japan) are releasing special, seasonal beers containing the dark purple, antioxidant rich “superfruit,” the Haskap berry.
The idea for marking July as Haskap Beer Month was born from a pairing of Sorrento farm neighbours Rebecca Kneen and Brian MacIsaac of Crannog Ales, and Carma Clarke and Kevin Kelly at Wolf Springs Farm. Specifically, it came from an evening of drinking beer and eating haskaps.
“Haskap Beer Month kind of started because we were hanging out one night and eating Carma’s beautiful berries and we thought, ‘this would make such a great beer!’” said Kneen. “So we made a beer with it, and we thought more people should make beer with this berry. It’s really, really good, and it’s a relatively new berry to B.C. We thought, they come out in June, so why don’t we just declare July to be Haskap Beer Month. Give people a chance to get the berries, get them in their beer and make something, and then we’ll see if we can get other brewers onboard.”
Kneen describes Crannog’s haskap offering, Mac Tir (meaning Son of the Earth) Haskap Ale, as a bright, tart beer with a lovely berry aroma and flavour, “and a pink head just for the fun of it.”
Participating brewers include Salmon Arm’s Barley Station Brew Pub with their haskap infused ale (to possibly pair with their haskap beef burger) and Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie Brewing Co. with their Canadian Belgian Haskap. Japan-based brewer North Island Beer is also taking part with their Haskap Gose of Hokkaido.