What does beer have to do with truffles? Plenty, if you know our friends at Carton Brewing in Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Every year we get a call from the brewery asking about the ripeness of our white truffles. Then they come to pick up a fragrant box at our warehouse and whisk it off to the brewery to make the seasonal Belgian tripel known as Gilded Lily, redolent of white truffles. Read on to learn more about this unique beer.
Carton has taken craft brewing to the next level with Gilded Lily, their seasonal white truffle tripel, or “trufpel,” as they call it. And unlike some breweries, they don’t use artificial flavors.
“Truffles are truffles, there are seasons, like 2017, when even truffles aren’t what they should be. Fake truffle is never what truffles should be,” says Augie Carton, co-founder, and owner of Carton Brewing.
Instead, they use the same quality white truffles that our chef clients shave delicately over dishes for their patrons. Our truffle department sets aside smaller, not-so-pretty truffles for Carton’s order, as the truffles get puréed in the production process anyway.
How Do You Make Truffle Beer?
Food is always in the back of Augie’s mind when making beer. He describes his inspiration for Gilded Lily as “Shea Gallante’s white truffle ice cream with a glass of Sauternes walks right into Belgian tripel with some honey and white truffles.”
But how do you make beer with truffles? “Basically, we made a truffle purée and mix it into a keg of the base beer. That keg went into a water bath with an Anova stick at 140°F. The sous vide helps us incorporate the flavor and aroma while pasteurizing the truffle addition to prevent contamination and off-flavors from unwanted microorganisms,” explains Augie.
This year 3 lbs of truffles were needed to make the limited, seasonal release of 30 barrels of beer.
“Beer isn’t like tajarin,” said Augie. “To nail the timing on the truffle additions you commit to the beer 4 or 5 weeks out and brew knowing you can get the amount of truffles you need at the quality you need … on one of the most seasonal varied products in the world. D’Artagnan’s biggest added value to Carton is being able to plan and track the harvest so we have a good feel for whether it will all come together in December or in early November.”
We wondered if there was a possibility of a black truffle beer down the line. “Black truffles are more fun on earthier flavors, where whites jibe better with sweet. Currently, the market likes sweet so this “risky” beer always finds its crowd. Someday I’d love to make darker saison with Perigord truffles, but I need to see the conversation of craft to agree with me,” responded Augie. We’re here for you when that day comes, Augie.
Read Augie’s vivid description of Gilded Lily and watch their video of the production.
Looking for Carton beer near you? Check their beer locator, or head to the brewery in Atlantic Highlands, NJ … before they run out of Gilded Lily on tap. We also have a list of locations in NJ that stock Gilded Lily. It could be your last chance to taste this year’s white truffles.