from the as-long-as-it's-not-IPA dept.
Kelp was dubbed "the new kale" a few years back by chefs, nutritionists and foodies who embraced its oceanic flavors and purported health benefits. Now seaweed is the star ingredient in "Selkie," a beer at the Portsmouth Brewery on New Hampshire's seacoast. Its named after a mesmerizing, mythological water creature that — as the story goes — can shed its skin to take human form on land.
[...] Enter Michael Chambers, a marine aquaculture specialist at the University of New Hampshire. "Next thing we knew Matt and Joanne were out at the farm collecting sugar kelp," Chambers says.
UNH's program maintains a floating aquaculture operation in Portsmouth that's used for research and training on how to grow sustainable seafood. "Right now we're growing sugar kelp, steelhead trout and blue mussels — all in the same floating structure," Chambers says. "The fish are in net pens inside the frame, and along the perimeter outside of the frame we have the sugar kelp and mussels growing — so it's almost like a biological curtain."
The fish eat and then excrete nutrients that are absorbed by the kelp and mussels, he continues, "so it has a cleaning effect on the environment we're growing them in. Plus, we're growing three different types of seafood."
Collecting sugar kelp was "one of the more interesting days of work," Gallagher says. "Most of the time, as a brewer, you're stuck down in the cellar doing your brewer things." He and Francis brought 60 pounds of sugar kelp back to the brewery. They rinsed away epiphytes, including tiny crustaceans that grow on the surface of sea plants. Then into the boil it went.
Is the craft beer industry running out of things to put in beer?