As far as marketing schemes go, this is a good one.
Rather than tout the health benefits of lentils, or even their pleasant, earthy taste, ASX-listed producer AGT Foods Australia has snuck them into a beer. It follows a similar stunt in Canada, where AGT’s parent company contracted Rebellion Brewing to produce a Lentil Cream Ale.
This time the brewery is Lobethal Bierhaus, a small operation 45 minutes’ drive from Adelaide. “It wasn’t something I’d thought about working with until they came to us,” owner and brewer Alistair Turnbull says.
His first step was to get Rebellion on the phone for some hints. “The brewing wasn’t too difficult,” he says. “Lentils aren’t a source of fermentable sugars.”
In other words, the bulk of the beer was made the normal way, using malted barley. Then a smaller quantity of lentils was added as an “adjunct” – a secondary ingredient used to enhance flavour or mouthfeel. Common adjuncts include rice, corn, wheat and lactose.
Turnbull says the lentils add a creamy mouthfeel and help the beer retain its head. Otherwise Lobethal’s five per cent Lentil Pale Ale tastes much like any other light, summery pale ale. Turnbull wanted to keep it approachable, so he went gentle on the hops, using Pacific Gem and Perle. “They kind of have an earthiness and gentle bitterness to them to start with,” he says. “I didn’t want to make a really bitter, hoppy beer and not showcase the lentils.”
For now the beer is only available over the bar at Lobethal Bierhaus, and at selected South Australian retailers. Move fast if you want to get your hands on some. Almost half of the total 150 cases have already been sold.
3A Main Street, Lobethal, South Australia
(08) 8389 5570
Fri & Sat 12pm–10pm
Find Lobethal Bierhaus’s Lentil Pale Ale at the following bottle shops: