Volcanic rocks, hashish, beard hair, oysters—we’re no longer surprised to find that there’s more to our beers than your regular malt, hops and yeast. But what if you could detox while actually drinking your beer? The next big wave in the healthy beer renaissance comes from the Dutch town of Delft: a beer that detoxifies you while you drink. Things just don’t get any better than that. And it was this line of thought that led these brewers to experiment with beer made with algae.
It’s a given that the best ideas come to you when properly inebriated. Rolf Katte, founder of brewery de Koperen Kat, and his friend Arnout van Diem, who runs two algae farms in Hallum and Lelystad, were drinking at the bar one night when they got the idea to make algae beer using Chlorella. Cultivated algae have an incredible range of uses and their popularity is ever-rising: they can be turned into fuel and used to clean contaminated water. Since they contain loads of minerals and chlorophyll, they are attributed with many health benefits.
In order to use algae as an ingredient, Arnout had to grow an edible algae that would be suitable for brewing. He chose Chlorella, an algae that was seen as a possible solution to world hunger in the 1950s due to its high protein content. Large-scale production of algae proved to be much more challenging than it was initially thought to be, which is why Chlorella is primarily sold as a superfood today—for an arm and a leg, of course.
Rolf Katte opened his brewery in 2012 without any beer experience beyond ‘drinking it’. He had found out that Delft had been one of the largest beer brewing cities of the Netherlands in the 15th and 16th century, but that not a single brewery had survived to date. ‘Not decorative side plates, but beer made the city of Delft prosper,’ he says. Since then, brewing has become more than just a hobby, but for his algae beer experiment, he sought the expertise of Roel Wagemans of Brouwerij ’t IJ, the best brewer in the Netherlands according to Katte.
Together, they produced their first 20 liters of algae beer by replacing 5 percent of the malt with Chlorella, something that Rolf says has never been done before. ‘There are beers that have added algae, sort of like adding sugar or herbs. Our beer is different: the algae are actually a part of the brewing process,’ he tells me. ‘At first, nothing special happened, except the insides of the kettle turned a bright green. It looked as if we were making soup, but Roel sorted out the color in the end.’ The first pints tasted ‘better than we’d expected’ and in a few weeks they will brew a thousand liters of the stuff. Their superfood beer should be ready to go in April.
A number of health benefits are attributed to Chlorella—it’s said to help lower cholesterol and to help detoxify your body—but that was not why Rolf and Roel chose to use it. Their concern was the taste and the thrill of the experiment. ‘But our beer is pretty good for you, if you ignore the alcohol.’
But what about the taste?
“You can’t single out the Chlorella, but it causes a slight tingling of the tongue. This must be due to the algae because all our testers reported this effect, Katte says.” Will boozing on Chlorella beer negate the necessity of wheatgrass juice and detox tea the next morning? Rolf has no way of knowing for sure. “I’ve only had one glass myself—I’ll have to test it again in April.”
No matter how healthy your beer turns out to be, please don’t go putting pseudo-profound, Yogi Tea-like life mottos on the label.
That’s a definite way to make us all hurl.
View original article at: What If You Could Detox from Drinking Beer?