I am an avid summer vegetable gardener here in NC and also a fairly experienced all grain brewer. Although I have made many beers in my decade as a homebrewer, I have not been very adventurous to date in terms of creating my own brews. I did make a blueberry wheat with fresh blueberries I grew one year, but that’s been my sole effort to create something unique on my own.
I’ve had this idea percolating in my head for a couple years - to come up with a recipe that would celebrate my summer home vegetable garden. I had a jalapeno beer at a brewpub in Charlotte last summer (it was good, and hot, but not sure it would be something I’d want to drink more than one glass of) - and that reignited the idea in my mind. I’ve also watched a show (sorry, name eludes me presently) on TV where the cast visits a city, then comes up with a beer recipe that reflects that location.
So, my idea is to take some of the central flavors/smells of my garden and create a summer garden homebrew. I need ideas - but what I’m thinking right now would be to make the base a pretty standard english session ale. I’m considering picking some of the most flavorful home grown tomatoes over the next couple weeks, drying them to concentrate the flavors and aroma, and adding them in secondary. I also grow a lot of basil, and am thinking I would freeze some bunches and add that to secondary as well. I grow a ton of hot peppers. I find there’s a certain harsh aspect to jalapenos that made the jalapeno beer I tried a little rough around the edges. But I think some homegrown habanero (in doses that aren’t too hot, but add that nice habanero citrusy heat to the beer) might do the trick? I also grown my own hops so would use those as well.
I have never had or even heard of anyone trying to do a beer based on a summer home garden - it might turn out ghastly, or it might turn out amazing. I just have no idea? What I am shooting for is probably less a tomato beer and more a standard ale but one that has the acid bite of a really good homegrown tomato, and all of the great smells and fragances of tomato, basil, and hot peppers.
Am I crazy to attempt this? Any ideas, suggestions, or out of the box ideas are welcomed!