Port Stephens’ first-ever seaweed beer is set to add flavour to the new ‘Love Sea Food’ festival running across Port Stephens throughout August in celebration of the region’s rich abundance of fresh seafood.
Local, award-winning brewer, Murray’s Craft Brewing Co, has risen to the challenge of creating a seafood-inspired beer for the festivities.
“This is the first time we’ve made a seaweed beer so we wanted to be a little cautious in how we used it. Initially we weren’t sure whether to treat it like malt or a hop – both key ingredients in making beer. In the end, we decided using the seaweed in the mash was the best way to go. After all, people want to get hints of seaweed, not feel like they just had a mouthful of sea water,” said Murray’s Brewer and mastermind behind the beer, Sean Costigan.
To make the beer, Murray’s team added dried wakame and nori seaweed to the mash. They kept aside a very small amount of the seaweed, soaked it in hot water together with some sea salt, and added this to the brew post fermentation for some extra bite.
Aptly named Murray’s Sea Monster, Sean says the seaweed beer drinks like a brown ale and pours dark amber. “Its slightly sweet malt backbone gives way to a subtle seaweed finish, slightly earthy, and with just enough bitterness to balance.”
So is seaweed beer the next big thing? Sean’s research uncovered a few breweries around making seaweed beer commercially. The Japanese have long used seaweed in cooking. And seaweed snacks are becoming mainstream in many western countries.
“All I can say is that it tastes just swell! And that’s our objective with seaweed beer for now,” he added.
This is the second ocean-inspired beer by Murray’s Brewing Co, the first being the highly acclaimed, and highly unusual Auld Bulgin’ Boysterous Bicep Beer – a Smoked Belgio Imperial Mussel and Oyster Stout created initially for a competition at Beervana New Zealand in 2012. It won with a perfect score of 45/45 then returned as a commercial release for the winter of 2013.
Murray’s very limited release Sea Monster seaweed beer will be launched at Murray’s Brewery on Saturday, August 13 – and pour until sold out. The seaweed brew will also be showcased in the line-up of beers being presented by brewer, Alex Tucker, at the Love Sea Food ‘Fish to Dish’ event at d’Albora Marina in Nelson Bay on Sunday August 14.
Love Sea Food is a month-long celebration of seafood in Port Stephens throughout August and is an initiative supported by the Port Stephens tourism and seafood industries.