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Glacier mint beer despite the Purity Law – how about it?

Beer is well-nigh infinite in its flavour permutations – that much is certain.
But then it’s still rather unusual to take a cool, thirst-quenching sip of the amber nectar and be able to taste grapefruit, lemongrass, blackcurrants, elderflowers, aniseed, geraniums, peach-flavoured ice tea or pineapple as well.
And now, perhaps, you’re thinking, oh well, no problem, a dash of syrup, and you’ve got the flavour you want. No way, far from it. You’re forgetting the good old Purity Law, which still governs how German beer is to be brewed. It celebrated it 500th anniversary in April last year. But what exactly does it say?

In its original form, the Purity Law specifies that only hops, barley and water may be used for brewing beer. Over the course of time, it was slightly modified, and so meanwhile hops, malt, water and yeast are the permitted constituents. And now we come to the crux of the matter: this means that syrup or other flavour carriers are simply not allowed in our amber nectar.

But then how do the unusual, and in some case exotic flavouring nuances get into our beer?
Well, some hop-growers in the heart of the Hallertau had come up with a cunning plan: new hop varieties with unusual flavours. Because after all, under our Purity Law hops are permitted as an ingredient for beer.

Anton Lutz and his team from the Hop Research Centre in Hüll began in 2006 with the first hybrids for the new, exotic varieties. The aim was to marry the fruity, citrus-like nuances of the North American hops to classical hop varieties so as to create “special-flavour varieties”. In a record time of just four to six years, the first of these new hop products were on the market, with mellifluous names like Mandarina Bavaria, Hüll Melon, Hallertauer Blanc or Polaris. All them impart an out-of-the-ordinary flavour to the bubbling brew.

The Hallertauer Blanc has a captivatingly fruity-flower note, supplemented by nuances of grapefruit, grapes, lemongrass, blackcurrants and elderflowers. And if you’re addicted to “glacier mints”, then the Polaris variety is just the thing for you, since it captures their flavour precisely.
So yes, it’s quite possible: despite the Purity Law beer can even taste like glacier mints.

Later on, these were complemented by additional unusual varieties such as Callista and Ariana. Besides the basic hoppy note, passion-fruit, apricot and wild berries, or redcurrant and citrus notes, can also be identified here.

But it’s not only on the flavouring level that advances have been made. In terms of disease-resistance, too, the new varieties score very highly indeed. This also ensures eco-aware hop production. The various flavouring varieties are currently being grown on almost 700 hectares all over Germany.

In future, too, in collaboration with Hohenheim University and the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen, basic research is being progressed for creating new hop varieties. So there’s plenty to look forward to!
In conclusion, sincere thanks go once again to Dr. Elisabeth Seigner from the Hop Research Centre, whose expert knowledge answered all of our questions.

So why not try a beer featuring these new flavouring varieties and give your taste buds a treat!

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