“The little dog laughed to see such sport, and the dish ran away with the spoon.”
- Mother Goose
When Buddy the Brewer, our newly-minted service dog, stepped onto the brew floor, he was as shocked as anyone to see hay bales up on the brewing stand. “What, pray tell, is this world coming to?” Buddy asked, unable to mask his surprise.
Turns out, the Legion Brew Staff pulled one out of left field this time, electing to brew with hay as a primary ingredient in the mash. Having acquired Orchard Grass and Rye varietals from nearby Albemarle, our experimental brewers added the better part of a couple of hay bales to a base of grains from Riverbend Malt House.
The result: Hay Diddle Diddle (Grisette, 4.3% ABV, 14 IBUs). In terms of style, this low-gravity offering was originally brewed for Belgian miners as a light-bodied beverage that wouldn’t slow them down. Saison yeast, a large portion of wheat, and that unique addition of hay team up to create a complex, yet approachable and refreshing beer.
Even with this knowledge, it still took Buddy a period of time to get his head around seeing hay being fed into the mash tun. Our brewers explained that, long ago in traditional farmhouse brewing, hay was actually used as a filtering mash bed. The Brew Staff’s use of this barnyard staple actually took inspiration from those bygone days. As one of the primary ingredients in the mash, our brewers further explained that the hay actually contributes subtle notes to the aroma and flavor of this brew, giving Hay Diddle Diddle some woody, barnyard attributes.
“I was really excited that we got a chance to use hay that was harvested near my parents’ farm,” exclaimed Scott Griffin, Associate Brewer. “With such a large percentage of North Carolina ingredients, Hay Diddle Diddle definitely has a sense of time and place. I think it’s a really unique beer that highlights some of the cool things that we are trying to do at Legion Brewing.”
Looking back, Buddy the Brewer still has a hard time wrapping his head around the image of hay bales resting on his brewing equipment. If the dishware starts making off with the cutlery, Buddy will have truly seen it all…