Archipelago Brewery has a new beer - We designed and brewed especially for World Gourmet Summit and it is their official beer this year.
When we designed the beer I knew we wanted to make something special, something unusual, with unique ingredients that we had not tried before, something that would wow the foodies that come to the WGS from around Asia and the world. We have already used a lot of unusual Southeast Asian fruits, herbs and spices in our beers - things like Assam, Mangosteen, young Ginger, Goji berry, Gula Malaka, Língzhī (never sold*) , Ba Jiao, Pandan, Lemon Grass, Coriander, Chinese Orange peel, Lychee, Kalamansi Lime, Tongkat Ali (also never sold*), and even Durian - so what to use this time - I was stumped.
Then one day a friend offered me a Dragon fruit (Pitaya or Huo Lóng Guo). I had tasted it before and was not really that impressed with the flavors, but when they cut it open instead of the normal pearl white color this one was a vibrant dark pink - I knew instantly that I had found my new ingredient. The Flavor of the Pitaya is mild and slightly sweet, the aroma is delicate and floral, but that dark pink color - that was it. It was exactly the thing I was looking for. The flavors and aromas matched perfectly with the ideas I had for the new beer; light and subtle yet unique, and the color - that was the wow factor I was hoping to find.
We had some unusual (and amazing) New Zealand Hop that I wanted to try (the Nelson Sauvin). It is the unique aromatic character of crushed Goosberries and Sauviougn Blanc wine grapes. To this I wanted to blend in a touch of Lavender for added aroma. We planned to use a light golden ale as the base beer and I added in a small amount of Galangal to spice up the flavor.
Finding the needed amount of red Pitaya turned out to be more difficult that I had thought. My initial search turned up only a few fruit, but I did learn that locally the red Pitaya were referred to as Malaysian Dragon fruit. Armed with this scrap of knowledge I headed to my favorite market - the huge Pasir Panjang wholesale market. It did not let me down. After wandering around for about an hour and searching over a dozen stalls I had procure about 30 kg of Malaysian Red Pitaya. The Lavender and Galangal were much easier to find.
The Pitaya Rosé will be at several events during the three weeks of the World Gourmet Summit including the Opening Event (April 19th) and the Chill & Grill with Archipelago event (May 2nd - hurry, and get your tickets now). Starting April 22nd will also be available on draft at the Queen & Mangosteen (in Vivo city) and Archipelago Beer Hub (Circular road).
The Pitaya Rosé is a limited addition beer, maybe never to be made again so look for it during the months of April and May - after that it could all be gone.
* these two very not nice tasting in beer (both are very bitter and taste of wood)