A beer brewed from Sugarcane Juice.
One of the things we have always loved about sugarcane is its versatility in being used to create so many different products. We innovated with producing the world's first cold pressed sugarcane water (sugarcane juice) with a refrigerated shelf life of up to 60 days but have always looked at that as just the starting point for us to do more things with sugarcane. It's also the reason why we released another sugarcane based product, 100% pure cane syrup right after we started producing beverages. In fact, we have a long list of sugarcane based products that we intend to work on in the near future and we are delighted to now be able to experiment with another one of those items on the list. A beer brewed from sugarcane juice.
Luckily for us, we knew the right folks to help make this happen. Our friends own and operate an amazing local brewery/juicery in Brooklyn called Island to Island Brewery. It's a local business that is run by a husband and wife team producing all types of beverages from beer to kombucha to fresh pressed juices and everything in between. What I really love about them is the great attention to detail they have and how they carefully select the raw materials that go into everything they produce. We approached them with the idea of experimenting with the production of beer from sugarcane water (sugarcane juice) and they agreed excitedly. Awesome!
Below are some questions we asked Island to Island Brewery to help discuss what we are working on with them. The name for the sugarcane juice beer is Island2 (Island Squared). It's a derivative of both our company names - Sugarcane Island x Island to Island Brewery. Check out some more information below and stay tuned for the release date!
Sugarcane Island: What is Island to Island Brewery?
Island to Island: Island to Island Brewery is a beverage family consisting of multiple brands of beverages in the range of seed to spirits. Island to Island headquarters is a traditional brewery with the unusual twist of also including a juicery and fermentory.
Sugarcane Island: What kind of beer are you brewing with Sugarcane juice? What are the ingredients of this brew?
Island to Island: The beer we have crafted with Sugarcane Island’s juice is a juice beer or what we call Wine or a Shandy in the islands. It is gluten free and grain free. We used sugarcane juice (aka sugarcane water) - the densely nutritious liquid pressed from raw sugarcane; naturally packed with minerals, vitamins and natural sugars yeast love to eat along with hops and time. As for the traditional style of beer, one could liken it to a Pale Ale or Wild Saison.
Sugarcane Island: Why did you pick these ingredients?
Island to Island: Well the ingredients chose us really. Time is one ingredient we can not do without nor leave out in naturally fermented beverages. Time was 2-3 weeks and time was good to us.
We were excited to work with sugarcane as our main ingredient for many reasons. Next to sorrel and coconut, you can not get more island than raw sugarcane. We love our sugarcane back home in the Caribbean as a sweet treat to using it as medicine. Sugarcane is an island culture staple and has been coveted all over the world. Nothing fits our international seed to spirit island focus more than working with sugarcane. Sugar and water are the most basic needs for making anything fermented.
Since sugarcane naturally ferments with time usually 3 - 5 days after being pressed and the liquid exposed to air, we decided to play up it’s wild fermentation by enhancing it with a wild yeast and saison yeast for a mixed fermentation style that is close to what our grandmothers would have made. This yeast type was chosen to play up on sugarcane’s fast wild side yet keep the brew safe and full of it’s natural earthy, grassy and sweet flavor.
The hops are familiar to many islanders’ current beer options to help create a sense of familiarity for something so different.
Sugarcane Island: Please explain the process from start to finish of the brew?
Island to Island: Work, and more work
Step 1: drink beer, make beer from sweet wort - the juice liquid we start off with
Step 2: monitoring - checking gravity, temperature, yeast activity
Step 3: fermentation end - conditioning
Step 4: racking also known as bottling or kegging
Step 5: tasting and sharing
Sugarcane Island: What step are you now with this brew?
Island to Island: Currently at step 3 fermentation end, which involves collecting a sample to test for the alcohol level then crashing the beer to remove the yeast that was hard at work breaking down the sugars and making alcohol. At this phase we have our big reveal, how successful the yeast was in producing alcohol and preserving the juice it was made with. This phase is the 2nd most anticipated phase. This phase helps determine what the final style of beer it will be based on the progress so far. This sugarcane juice beer has not been done in the States as far as we know so we are left to make it up as we go along. This phase determines the final ABV, the flavor sweet or dry and the clarity of the beer.
Sugarcane Island: What style beer are you aiming for with the final product?
Island to Island: We are aiming for a Wild Saison with enhanced grassy, earthy and tropical notes. I think we hit our mark spot on!
We'll be having an event at Island to island Brewery to celebrate the release and you are all invited. We'll post all the information as soon as we have finalized all the details.