Beer Leverages Partnership Between Research and Education

Monday, October 29, 2018
Brewing science

Area residents soon will enjoy a tasty sour fall beer made of kiwiberries that was brewed at the University of New Hampshire thanks to a new partnership between researchers with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station and the university’s new brewing science program.

The new sour kiwiberry beer Arguta Sour will be available soon locally, on tap. The beer uses kiwiberry varieties grown as part of a ground-breaking kiwiberry breeding research project funded by the experiment station at the UNH Woodman Horticultural Farm. The beer was brewed at the UNH Brewing Science Laboratory by students participating in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture’s new brewing science program.

Kiwiberries are a good selection because they offer a flavor that is delicate and
blends well with the sour style brew UNH is making, a Berliner-Weisse.

Cheryl Parker, manager of the UNH Brewing Science Lab, said she has never heard of kiwiberries being used to make beer, but She said this is a German kettle sour beer made from barley and wheat. In addition to the kiwiberries, patrons also can add a shot of sweet strawberry syrup made from strawberries also grown at the experiment station’s Woodman Farm.

“A Berliner-Weisse also often is served with a shot of sweet syrup, usually raspberry or woodruff in Germany. Instead, we will make a sweet syrup from strawberries from the TunnelBerries project so people can sweeten up their sour beer to their taste,” Parker said. 

In 2013, experiment station researcher Iago Hale established UNH’s kiwiberry research and breeding program. The first research project of its kind in the nation, he aims to develop improved, economically viable kiwiberry varieties for small farms in the Northeast.

With their general adaptation to the region, their attractive appearance, intense and complex flavor profiles, high levels of bioactive compounds, and easy consumability, kiwiberries have long been recognized for their potential as a high-value crop in New England. A tender, smooth-skinned relative of the fuzzy supermarket kiwi, grape-sized kiwiberries are tropical-tasting fruits that have grown in the backyards and private gardens of the region for 140 years. Despite this long history in the region, however, virtually no commercial production exists.

“Kiwiberry producers, like any commercial fruit producer, must find outlets for any fruits that do not meet grade A standards. These outlets may come in the form of secondary processing into jams, baby food, juice, extracts, and may other products, including use in beers. I'm excited to see how much of the intense flavor that kiwiberries are known for can be brought forward. Given the trend towards sourcing local fruits for use in sour beers, it could be a real hit!” said Will Hastings, manager of the UNH kiwiberry vineyard.

Strawberry syrup
Patrons can add a shot of sweet  strawberry syrup made from strawberries
also grown at the experiment station’s Woodman Farm.  

Parker sees the brew lab’s new partnership with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station enhancing the academic program. Not only will students in the program have access to different local products that are still in development, they also will be able to collaborate and learn about important research at UNH.

In addition to the kiwiberry beer, the UNH Brewing Science Laboratory is working with the experiment station on potentially a winter beer that uses pumpkins from the UNH Kingman Research Farm. For more than 50 years, the experiment station has funded the longest, continuous cucurbit research breeding program in North America. The lab recently brewed a kelp beer (Stormy Seas Stout) in partnership with NH Sea Grant, which was available locally on tap at Hop + Grind.

Keep up to date with the latest UNH brews and releases by following the UNH Brewing Science Laboratory on Facebook:

This material is based upon work supported by the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, through joint funding of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 233561, and the state of New Hampshire.

Founded in 1887, the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture is UNH’s original research center and an elemental component of New Hampshire's land-grant university heritage and mission. We steward federal and state funding, including support from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to provide unbiased and objective research concerning diverse aspects of sustainable agriculture and foods, aquaculture, forest management, and related wildlife, natural resources and rural community topics. We maintain the Woodman and Kingman agronomy and horticultural research farms, the Macfarlane Research Greenhouses, the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, and the Organic Dairy Research Farm. Additional properties also provide forage, forests and woodlands in direct support to research, teaching, and outreach.