Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co. has said from the start that it'd be committed to brewing beer that veered toward experimental.
The company's newest offering, a hibiscus witbier intended as a summer staple, adheres to this goal and might well have the craft beer bros in Houston swigging a pink drink.
The idea for a hibiscus-based beer came after founder Rassul Zarinfar detected the flower's flavor in a wheat beer some time back. It wasn't listed as an ingredient, but Zarinfar confirmed the distinctive tang was there, if just barely, and decided to create a brew that would give the hibiscus center stage.
"Who in their right mind brews with flowers? We do. Pink beer? Hell yes. The old monks may be turning in their graves."
This brew is notable not only for its unusual color, but also because it's the first (and likely last) Buff Brew recipe that Zarinfar developed himself.
The recipe is somewhat sentimental for Zarinfar. The first time he concocted the innovative brew was to honor a high school mentor on the occasion of his wedding. They'd often shared long conversations over hibiscus tea, and the beer was meant as a celebratory wedding gift. (Unfortunately, the bottles broke in transit and the old friend has still not tasted the brew he inspired.)
Built from a Belgian witbier yeast with hibiscus flower, ginger, coriander and orange peel, the beer has a floral nose, a touch of citrus and a dry finish. But its most notable facet is its rosy, ultra-photogenic color. You simply can't look bad drinking it.
The tagline for the beer and — the crew's summer motto, it seems — is "Real Dudes Drink Pink." Announced the signage at Buff Brew's unofficial launch party: "Who in their right mind brews with flowers? We do. Pink beer? Hell yes. The old monks may be turning in their graves."
This summer seasonal hits better beer bars Friday. There are release parties planned at Flying Saucer for the lunch crowd, at Hay Merchant at 6 p.m., at Ziggy's for beer blogger Ronnie Crocker's book signing, and at Hans Bier Haus for the late-night crowd.
For a full list, check Buff Brew's Facebook page.
Also in Buff Brew's pipeline are limited runs of flagship brew 1836 aged in different woods (the cedar being this writer's unequivocal favorite.) Says Zarinfar: "It's like putting a new frame on a picture you've had forever; you see it totally differently."