For their latest Little Raven* release, 3 Ravens decided to pay tribute to the Mexican Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday. Each year, it's held in honour of the dead – a time for friends and family to celebrate, commemorate and farewell the souls of the recently deceased. Altars are decorated with “ofrendas” – offerings to the spirits to aid their transition to the next life – and adorned with marigold flowers (an Aztec flower of the dead) to attract the souls to the offerings. And it's with that in mind that Jamon y Piña (ham and pineapple) was conceived.
Starting loosely with their White Ale (which just nabbed a gold at the Craft Beer Awards), the brewers added a touch of peated malt to the witbier base then spiced it up with marigold, chipotles and Mexican salt. They then fermented it with the juice of half a tonne of pineapples; incidentally, they tell us that sourcing half a tonne of pineapples outside season is "$%^&ing hard" just in case you were considering it. The result is a quirky, cloudy, off white affair, fuller in body than their white, with the smokiness of the peat (and perhaps the chillies) noticeable and the pineapple adding fruitiness to the nose and tartness to the finish.
*These days not-so-Little Raven after the original 300 litre kit the series started on was replaced in the brewery expansion, but with the beers remaining one-offs and retaining the spirit of adventure.
- Spiced Smoky Witbier