The tang of lemongrass elevates this hefeweizen to another plane.
  • Grain bill:  Mecca Grade Shaniko, Mecca Grade Lamonta
  • Hops:  East Kent Goldings, Sorachi Ace
  • Yeast:  Wyeast Weihenstephan Weizen 3068
  • Secret ingredients:  Lemongrass, Coriander, Ginger


Origin Story:

One of Lauren’s and my favorite restaurants in Shanghai was Lost Heaven, which served delicious Yunnanese food.  They also had an incredible cocktail that incorporated spicy peppers and lemongrass. 

I wanted to create a lemongrass beer in honor of my memory of this cocktail.  Since Hefeweizen is often served with a slice of lemon or orange, this seemed to be an intriguing vehicle.  The Sorachi Ace hop is known for having a strong citrus character tending into lemongrass, so it felt like a good top note over a solid East Kent Goldings base.

Elephant painting a tree

Chiang-Mai’s Bob Ross

The final product is refreshing and syncretic—the more traditional Hefeweizen characteristics twine around the lemongrass flavor in an intriguing way.  One home-run pairing is bibimbap—I recommend Jeon Ju for takeout.

This was the first beer in HLH’s ongoing 20th Century Composers series, which so far includes Unanswered Question, Ionization, and Intonarumori.  Olivier Messaien’s Turangalîla-Symphonie, finished in 1948, is a ecstatic, maximalist orchestral piece incorporating muscular unison themes, elements of birdsong, a crazy amount of percussion, and the Ondes Martenot (an early theremin-like electronic instrument).  Messaien said that the piece, whose title he coined from two Sanskrit words, was a hymn to joy, time, movement, rhythm, life and death.

I love the juxtaposition of two unpronounceable words—just you try walking into a pub and asking the bartender for a Turangalîla-Hefeweizen.

Sand mandala

Wiped clean later that day

The label picks up this theme and circles back to our time in Asia.  On a trip to Chiangmai we visited an elephant sanctuary where we watched an elephant paint.  On a trip to Tibet we saw Buddhist monks create intricate sand mandalas – works of art created to be destroyed in an acknowledgement of the impermanence of all things.  Aidan Yetman-Michaelson fused these two memories into the serene elephant monk using his trunk to brush away the mandala he’s created.  There’s at least a bit of de Brunhoff in the art style, which is not unintentional.

Music Pairing:

Naming George as my favorite Beatle is a bit of a flex, but I think it’s true.  John’s a bit too angry, Paul’s too eager to please, and Ringo’s too goofy.  George isn’t entirely satisfied, he’s searching for something more transcendent, he’s trying to quiet the chattering of his mind.  “The Art of Dying” deals with these concerns while seeming to anticipate disco by a good five years.

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