NEW BEER: Basil in the Rye at Great South Bay

“You literally can’t pack anymore flavor into this” says homebrewer Chris Kelley’s about Basil in the Rye, his new beer brewed in collaboration with Great South Bay Brewery.

Chris Kelley tasting his Basil in the Rye_Alicia Valeo

“You literally can’t pack anymore flavor into this” says homebrewer Chris Kelley’s about Basil in the Rye, his new beer brewed in collaboration with Great South Bay Brewery. As the winner of homebrew club Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts monthly competition, he was able to craft his recipe on a micro-sized, professional scale. Why micro-sized? Because every batch of LIBME collaboration beer is brewed on Great South Bay Brewery’s one-barrel pilot system. With such small quantities, all beers in the series are limited releases and only available in the GSB tasting room in Bayshore. Rarer yet is having the chance to try the original homebrew up against the finished commercial product; something Kelley and Great South Bay’s head brewer Greg Maisch did with Basil in the Rye. “I’m digging it, digging it” says Maisch. “It tastes like summer and hanging out in the backyard.”

Basil in the Rye_Alicia Valeo

Kelley, who had been having trouble capturing aromas in his beers, found this batch to have “big citrus and you get the aroma of basil as well.” The winning recipe was exciting for both brewers to work on, each eager to see what “little twist basil brings” to the finished beer. When tasting the batch brewed at GSB, Kelley found it balanced with more basil and spice than in his DIY version. In short, Kelley says they nailed it, and we’d have to agree. If you want to try this home/professional brewer collaboration that is earthy, spicy, highlighted by citrus and well balanced, make sure to stop by the tasting room soon. You will not be disappointed to see the level of creativity homebrewers can bring to our local breweries.

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Husband and wife team Alicia Valeo and Kevin Breslawski write the blog Beer Loves Company.