Early St. Patrick’s Day: Spirulina Beer

27 Oct

Malaysia has its fair share of bars, but not much in the way of a drinking culture, as one might expect from an Asian Islamic country. (If 60% of your population is supposed to abstain from alcohol entirely, and another 25% have low tolerance, you’re probably not going to have drinking establishments as the socials hubs, as they are in Europe and North America.) Still, there’s a nascent beer culture, as people’s palates grow more sophisticated and they seek out craft brews. (Interestingly, the most popular non-lager beer is…Guinness. I guess it’s the lightest of the stouts, but it’s still awfully stout-y for a tropical climate.)

Craft Brews is one of the few places in Malaysia serving microbrews, including the only Malaysian/Singaporean microbrew, Red Dot. (They’re also the only vendor of Rogue.) Red Dot offers the usual craft beer suspects (a stout, an English ale), plus some with a more local bent, like the Lime Wheat, brewed with Thai limes.

Also, green beer:

All-natural coloring

The color is a natural result of being brewed with spirulina, a blue-green algae purported to have various health benefits. It’s very, very green. I don’t think it has much of a flavor on its own. In the US, it’s usually used in health-foodish drinks like Naked’s Green Machine and Odwalla’s SuperFood,where the predominant flavor is apple juice.

The Green Monster (as RedDot’s verdant beverage is named) was citrusy and light — a little light for me; I couldn’t taste much of the hops the menu promised — and a whole lot better than green beers I’ve had in the past (i.e. Miller or Bud Light with green food coloring). Plus, the inclusion of a “superfood” like spirulina means that I get to pretend it’s a health drink, just like the fruit and supplements in your Jamba Juice means you get to pretend it’s not just a milkshake. Maybe they could start handing these out as post-marathon/triathlon beers?

Whether or not you buy the health claims, one thing is for sure: this is going to be my green beer pick for St. Patrick’s Day this year. I don’t think it’s exported to the US, but it would be easy enough to DIY with some spirulina powder and a homebrew kit. Any takers?

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2 Responses to “Early St. Patrick’s Day: Spirulina Beer”

  1. Megara October 29, 2010 at 6:41 am #

    Awww…it’s like St. Patrick’s Day in a glass. Makes you miss the Chicago River, perhaps?

  2. Sara October 31, 2010 at 8:32 am #

    Hi Rachell,

    Nice blog. Pete told me about it.

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