The use of barley has gone through a similar transformation. When craft-brewing started, all-barley beers were the mark of quality. To brew with any "cereal grains" was to be tainted with impurity, moral more than zymurgical. Wheat was granted an exception, but still regarded with mistrust. Well, at this year's fest we have nineteen beers employing wheat, five using oats, and two each using rye, spelt, corn, and rice. Yes, corn and rice--the hated, tainted, immoral cereal grains! Of course, these ingredients are no longer tainted, and haven't been for a few years. As craft brewing matures, brewers will use anything to improve a beer, including the use of ingredients that were formerly used to ruin beer.
Finally, we have adjuncts, which were once used only in gimmick beers or witbiers. Now--and I think you have to give some credit to Craig Nicholls for this--they're used the way cooks and Belgians do, to add a hint of flavor. A partial list of the additives in this year's OBF beers:
- dried tulips
- grapefruit peel
- orange blossoms
So, in general, viva la exotica. You just can't have enough pomegranate and hyssop spelt beers.
*Back in the olden days, wine and fruit juice were combined to make a beverage called "wine coolers" that were irresistible to 16-year-olds. (And possibly 90-year-old women.) After finding one too many peach-breathed youths lying naked on a park bench, the feds finally taxed them out of existence in 1991.