You’ve probably never heard of it, and likely haven’t tried it, but B.C. breweries want you to fall in love with the haskap berry. Also known as the edible blue honeysuckle or honeyberry, and originating in Japan, haskap berries cultivated by the University of Saskatchewan for North America are now being grown across the province. As part of a month-long campaign to raise awareness about haskap, craft breweries around the province are partnering with local haskap growers to brew their own take on a haskap beer—from lagers to ales to sours.
“From the first time we tasted haskap berries, we knew they’d make great beer,” says Brian MacIsaac of Crannóg Ales. “They are so intense, and the colour really comes through. We’ve made several tests, and both beer and berries shine.”
The berry itself looks like an elongated blueberry, with a sweet, tart flavour of raspberry and citrus.
Haskap Beer Month was the brainchild of MacIsaac and berry grower Carma Clarke of Wolf Springs Farm, both located in Sorrento, B.C. Breweries all over the province are participating, partnering with growers in their area to make a special seasonal brew.
B.C. breweries participating in the campaign include Barley Station Brewpub (Salmon Arm), Crannóg Ales (Sorrento), Mt. Begbie Brewing (Revelstoke), Parallel 49 Brewing (Vancouver), Sherwood Mountain Brewhouse (Terrace), Storm Brewing (Vancouver) and Temporal Artisan Ales (Vancouver).
Here’s some of the haskap beers currently available around the province:
Crannóg Ales, Mac Tír (Son Of The Earth) Haskap Ale (6.5% ABV, 18 IBU)
Added to a lightly-hopped pale malt base after fermentation, the haskaps bring their full layers of complexity to the beer. Tart, sweet and a touch of spicy, this beer is the freshest ferment possible.
Parallel 49, Cruciform Belgian Blonde Haskap (6.1% ABV)
Combining fruity aromatic ester and light spiciness from Belgian yeast with tart tangy haskap character to make a fruit forward, aromatic yet easy-drinking Belgian beer.
Mt. Begbie Brewing, Canadian Belgian Haskap
A light summer seasonal blended with local haskap for a taste of mountain adventure.
Temporal Artisan Ales, Barrel-aged Haskap Blackcurrant Ale
Blend of barrel aged beers with haskap berries and spent blackcurrants.