What’s Brewing: Forbidden Root Botanical Beers

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Bark, stems, flowers, herbs, spices, leaves, roots, and other foraged flavors have long been part of beer, but botanic brews in America were displaced by carbonated sodas in the early 20th century.  At Forbidden Root, this early brewing tradition has been a springboard for great creativity and exploration. “We didn’t invent botanic beer, we simply embraced it,” says Director of Sales Lincoln Anderson.

Forbidden Root: Sublime Ginger (A 3.8% ABV wheat beer with a splash of key lime juice, ginger, honeybush, and lemon myrtle)
Flavor- Key lime and ginger stand out. A whisper of tartness, solid wheat presence that rounds it out.
Aroma- Light lime, rich wheat aroma, and a very slight ginger laying underneath.
Mouthfeel- Soft and velvety.
Body- Light body.
Head/Lacing- Creamy head with scattered lacing.
Hop profile- Low IBU, almost unnoticeable.
Malt profile- Sweetness of the malt is balanced well with the tartness of the lime.
Color- Hazy golden.
Carbonation- Tight crisp carbonation.
Rating- 4/5
Forbidden Root: Money on my Rind (A 5% ABV witbier spiked with juniper berries and pure grapefruit, with grains of paradise)
Flavor- Juniper stands out, with a  pleasant grapefruit rind and juice on the back palate. Good balance of wheat and other flavors to round this brew ale out. Spices are light and come in at the finish.
Aroma- Wheat forward aroma, with a subtle juniper presence. Hops carry a floral note that is pleasant and leads you into the taste.
Mouthfeel- Well carbed and a slight metallic mouthfeel. Interesting.
Body- Light to medium body.
Head/Lacing- Low head with no lacing.
Hop profile- Very low hop profile, and subtle enough to not overpower the other lighter characters.
Malt profile- Nothing in the malt stands out on its own, but balances well.
Color- Hazy straw.
Carbonation- Average to high carbonation, but not too strongly carbonated.
Rating- 3.7/5
Forbidden Root: WPA (A 5.6% pale ale with the subtle addition of elderflower, marigold, and sweet Osmanthus flowers)
Flavor- Lasting bitterness with several different floral qualities that creep in and out of the palate. The flower additions carry well and leave you with a slight grassy and fresh bitterness.
Aroma- Floral blast right out of the bottle.
Mouthfeel- Very dry and crisp.
Body- Light to medium.
Head/Lacing- Thin head with scattered lacing.
Hop profile- Cascade and Citra hops come through well giving a citrus rind quality that enhances the overall character.
Malt profile– Light malt gives the hops and subtle flowers a chance to really shine.
Color- Light amber.
Carbonation- Well carbonated, and the slightly higher carbonation does a lot for this beer to help you find the subtler notes.
Rating- 4/5
Reviewed by Kieran Jerome Matthew
Forbidden Root, located in the West Town neighborhood, is Chicago’s first botanic brewery making craft beer inspired by nature. Forbidden Root loves barley, water, hops, and yeast, and uses those as a base to explore a rich world of wild ingredients.  Founded by Robert Finkel, Forbidden Root is a benefit corporation, meaning benefits, other than shareholder value, are built into their operating charter. They donate 100% of all non-consumable merchandise profits to charity. Craft Beer guru Randy Mosher is an equity partner and serves on the Forbidden team as Alchemist. Head Brewer is BJ Pichman, an accomplished brewer in the Chicago beer scene.

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