Behind the Brew
The Story Behind our Green Tea Beer
Two years ago, Claudia Wantling – the initiator of the Gaia Green Tea Beer Company, decided to produce the first beer in South Africa with focus on the health and low alcohol aspect of traditional craft brewing. Having long-term experience in the health industry as Director of Gaia Organics, and having access to the best quality ingredients, it was an idea that had to be pursued.
Having provided the highest grade quality green tea to loyal and health-conscious customers around the world for over 20 years, the awareness of the need for a health beer meant that the idea grew louder and louder. Some tests and tastings were done with private hobbyists and eventually a well-balanced, unnamed tester was born, with green tea as one of the core ingredients.
The ultimate need for a healthy alternative, low alcohol craft ale came to fruition on an aeroplane above the clouds, where the idea was presented to a friendly stranger, sitting in the following airline seat. The man revealed that he was very aware of the craft beer community himself, and commended the idea.
The suggestion arose to get in touch with Wharthogs, a collective of microbrewery hobbyists and professionals. The idea was put forward for Wharthogs to test and further improve the idea of infusing hops and barley with green tea from Gaia Organics. A great tasting beer was presented, loaded with anti-oxidants.
Brewing to the Brim
The final step was to approach a licensed microbrewery. Contact was made with the Fisanthoek Brewing Company, a microbrewery in the Garden Route, and Derek Saul agreed to produce the beer. A variety of ingredients were tested, including: lemongrass; lemon verbina; rose geranium and ginger, all included at different ratios and proportions.
In the end, rather than having an overwhelming sensation of one ingredient tying to overpower another, less was more, and it was decided to have subtle ingredients that complemented the type of beer – a malty, Irish Red Ale infused with ginger and a Light Blonde infused with rose geranium, bottled at 3.2% alcohol volume.