The Manzanita tree is a medium sized evergreen known for their small, twisty branches and orange-red color. If you’ve ever seen the twisty branches at a wedding, those are manzanita branches. They also have grape-sized berries that are commonly made into ciders, used as sweetners, or eaten straight.
They’re indigenous to the west coast of the U.S. and as far east as Texas. There’s also a small grove of them along the shores of Lost Creek Lake near Medford, Oregon. The lake was created in 1977 along with the opening of what is now the William Jess Dam. A wide variety of activities make the lake popular with the outdoor crowd.
It’s apparently also pretty important to the people at Hourglass Brewing, since they used it as the inspiration for Lost Creek Saison (Saison, 6.5% ABV, 31 IBU).
Hourglass is no stranger to saisons. Lost Creek is a good example of this, using their blend of
11 herbs and spices wild and traditional yeast strains with a light, slightly biscuity malty base.
They added those sweet, fruity manzanita berries to the beer right before oak foeder fermentation. Once that finished, the resulting saison was further aged on manzanita wood and flowers before getting bottle contitioned.
Yeah, that’s a lot of work for one beer. It was worth it, but that is a lot of work. For a saison, coming from one of the saison masters of Florida, it has a nicely smooth mouthfeel and a a noticeable amount of spicy yeast funk, but it’s not aggressive at all.
Part of that is due to the copious amounts of manzanita chucked into the brew. What’s interesting is how mellow everything tends to be. The berries are sweet and you can definitely get a nice little floral aroma from the flowers, but it’s not insanely overdone in any particular way.
It’s very soft with just enough character to make the beer fun to drink. It also appears to be a regualr release from Hourglass, with bottles still available from what I’ve seen.
And you don’t have to fly to Oregon for them, either.
Drink Florida Craft,