By Trelle Kolojay, Communications Consultant, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
Rebellion Brewing has its finger on the pulse of Saskatchewan with the creation of a new beer featuring a surprising ingredient – lentils.
“It is simply a no-brainer,” Vice President and Brewmaster of Rebellion Brewing Mark Heise said. “A brewery is reliant on agricultural products and the best stuff in the world is grown right here in our own backyard.”
Saskatchewan is the world’s largest lentil producer. In 2015, the province was responsible for 65 per cent of lentil exports around the globe.
Heise said his brewery is always looking to be innovative with flavours and the use of local ingredients, but lentils weren’t on their radar. However, Heise’s cousin, who works for AGT Foods, suggested lentils as a possible ingredient. The brewery partnered with the company and the rest is thirst-quenching history.
“I threw together a recipe and we brewed an initial test batch. It tasted great and got everyone excited. We tried a couple more, but weren’t as happy with them. The final recipe is the exact same as the first batch,” Heise said.
Lentil Cream Ale uses 20 per cent King Red lentils which are grown in Saskatchewan. The beer is a pale, golden colour with a rich flavour and a creamy body. It has a subtle earthiness and a lemon citrus note from clean ale yeast.
President and CEO of AGT Foods, Murad Al-Katib, said the taste is unexpected.
“It was interesting to watch those trying it for the first time. You should have seen the looks on faces when we revealed that this beer contained lentils. They loved it.”
AGT Foods is one of the largest suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods and food ingredients in the world and Al-Katib said it’s important to have new products like this to engage consumers in Saskatchewan pulse crops.
“With the United Nations declaring 2016 the International Year of Pulses, new and interesting uses for pulses, particularly lentils in this case, we believe will raise the profile and awareness of pulses to consumers,” Al-Katib said.
Lentil Cream Ale is not only a unique product for Saskatchewan, Heise said he could only find two other breweries in the world, one in Italy and the other in the United States, that use lentils as an ingredient in beer.
Right now, the beer is available at Rebellion Brewing’s location in Regina and at Louis’ Pub in Saskatoon. The brewery hopes to expand to more restaurants and pubs soon. For more information, visit www.lentilbeer.com.