From the Beer Writer: Since founding the Beer to the Rescue campaign to raise awareness about lupus and funds for the Lupus Foundation of Southern California, we’ve been blessed to hold more than 100 events over the past four years. I’m often asked what inspires so many brewing companies to go to such lengths for this particular charity. Every brewery’s reason is different, but in many cases, it’s because someone within the organization knows someone who has been impacted by this autoimmune disease. The latest case in point is Will Fox, the head brewer at Santee’s Pacific Islander Beer Co., whose wife’s best friend, Jen, has been living with lupus for a decade. His participation in Beer to the Rescue was inspired by and dedicated to her, as evidenced by the name of the blueberry wheat ale he brewed especially for a fundraiser held during Lupus Awareness Month: Jen’s Blue Beer. We have her to thank for the presence of blueberries, which give the beer a mild, fresh-baked muffin aroma and the slightest tinge of berry-tartness on the palate. More than anything, though, this wheat ale tastes like beer; and an exceptionally balanced, sun-friendly one at that. It served well as a featured performer during Pacific Islander’s Beer to the Rescue fundraiser, but it’s just as good sans humanitarianism and will be on tap most of June (which you can’t spell without the letters in “Jen”…just sayin’).
From the Brewer: “This beer is named after Jen Haley, my wife’s best friend of over 20 years. She was diagnosed with lupus about ten years ago. She has gone through all different kinds of treatment to manage the disease. When the opportunity came about to do this fundraiser, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get Jen involved. Fast forward to February of this year. We were all up in Mammoth for a long weekend. After a day of snowboarding, we were all hanging out in the Jacuzzi, throwing back some beer. I told her I was going to do this fundraiser and asked what kind of beer she wanted. Without hesitation she said, “blueberry beer.” Since I had never made a blueberry beer, I decided to take parts from a couple different wheat ale recipes I had made in the past. From the ingredients I chose, I wrote a new recipe. Using a base of wheat malt and a little two-row, I added Vienna malt to give it a nice, smooth mouthful, and I find it adds a nice sweetness to the beer. I also added flaked wheat with some orange-blossom honey at the end of the boil to give it a little sweetness to counteract any tart flavors the blueberry might add. After fermentation, I added the blueberry purée. Jen’s Blue Beer came out extremely crushable at 4.5% ABV (alcohol-by-volume) while still having complexity and depth. You get a nice blueberry smell upfront with the taste of blueberries on the back-end.”—Will Fox, Owner & Head Brewer, Pacific Islander Beer Co.