Highlighting the innovation taking place in the craft beer segment, this week Gama turns the spotlight on Er Boqueron, promoted as the world’s first beer to be made from sea water.
Recently launched in Spain, Er Boqueron defies convention with its use of a novel ingredient – a sea water product called Mediterranea which made its debut in 2012. Mediterranea is extracted from pure Mediterranean seawater and is designed to imbue foods with “the taste of the sea”, as well as to boost the nutritional profile of dishes with naturally-occurring minerals. According to the beer’s manufacturer, the use of Mediterranea sea water gives Er Boqueron a degree of salinity that accentuates the notes of iodine but does not impart a specifically salty flavour. Nevertheless, this salt enhancement appears to be a new gastronomic twist for beer.
Despite its perceptions as a “bad-for-you” ingredient, salt has seen something of a revival as a flavour enhancer in recent times, and not only in savoury products. Although salt caramel is the most prominent example of the trend for salty flavours, the influence of salt has been felt far and wide, appearing in categories as diverse as confectionery and soft drinks. Salt may have benefited from its position as a “natural” ingredient, in contrast to artificial flavour enhancers such as monosodium glutamate which have been much maligned from both a health and culinary standpoint.
Aside from tying in to the increased popularity of salt-enhanced flavours, Er Boqueron provides further evidence for the rocketing popularity of craft beers, even in crisis-hit Spain. According to a recent article from Smart Planet, Spain’s microbrewery scene is booming with the number of craft brewers increasing from only 5 eight years ago to more than 200 in 2013.
The growth in craft beer has much to do with the localism trend, with discerning consumers increasingly interested in products that offer an authentic experience, grounded in a national or regional provenance. Products such as Er Boqueron that can tap into both this desire for localism and an enthusiasm for gourmet taste experiences could thrive as the booming demand for craft beers sees competition in the segment intensify.
Additional sources: Smart Planet