|10# butternut squash|
The only similar beer I've actually enjoyed has been Hair of the Dog's Greg. On a trip to Portland, OR a few years ago, Greg stood out among a ton of excellent beers that I tried. It's unique in that it doesn't have any hops in it, and has a very simple grain bill. The beer is different than any other I've tried. It has a wheat-like cloudiness and a big pilsner flavor and aroma, but the squash adds a mild sweetness that's really complimentary. It seems like unorthodox ingredients often get marginalized in an attempt to minimize their quirks, but retain the novelty of their use in a beer. The simplicity of the Greg recipe allows the three (four if you count water) ingredients to stand out and enhance each other. Alan, the owner, was kind enough to share some information about the recipe with me, and I went ahead and brewed it as best I could.
Greg (courtesy of Alan Sprints from Hair of the Dog)
15# German Pilsner
10# Butternut Squash
WLP028 Edinburgh Scottish Ale Yeast
|Greg making a mess in my fermentation chamber|
It was strange brewing without hops. I set the pot boiling and didn't have to add anything else until flame out. Their contribution to beer is one of my favorite aspects of recipe formulation, so I felt like I was ignoring an important process. I also learned while looking into this beer that Butternut squash provides a better pumpkin flavor than actual pumpkin and that it is often used as a substitute for the real thing in pumpkin beers. The starter I pitched got the beer going quickly, and I expect it to be done in time for Halloween.