For our latest Winter Seasonal we brewed a stout using an ancient grain that was very important to Ireland’s first Neolithic farmers. Emmer wheat, for which the beer is named, was collected from the wild and eaten by hunter gatherers for thousands of years before its domestication between 9,400 and 10,000 years ago. The Emmer wheat that we used is grown at Cornstown House in Ashbourne by Dominic Gryson whose interest and expertise lies in growing and harvesting heritage barleys, oats and other grains that are no longer in use in the food and drink industry.
It all came about when we first met Dominic at a Fingal Food event a few years ago and he told us about his crops and his idea to use them an ingredient in beer. He made contact with us earlier this year and Richie was only too delighted to get out into the sunshine and spend a day on the farm.
We were taken with the idea of its connection to ancient Irish civilization and also loved the fact Dominic harvests these cereals using a restored 1970s Dania combine harvester, which allows him to harvest each variety of seed separately into bags.
After spending a day there we felt it would be really interesting to incorporate Emmer into our Winter Seasonal Stout as it suited that style of beer and gave it an unique connected to Ireland’s past.
We were delighted with the result as the beer itself is a well-balanced stout with lovely notes of bitter coffee and dark chocolate as well as a subtle nuttiness thanks to the Emmer wheat which also contributes to the dryness and bitterness of the stout.