My guest today is E. Chris Garrison, a dear friend and one of my favorite writers. Also: brews beer and stuff. So total wins.
Now let’s hear about this magical brew!
…Greg [Heath] is a scholar of historical brews, many of which were
supposed to have healing or inspirational properties.
Now, if a fairy King gave him tips, that’d be something
worth trying. “So have you got anything around using his
Greg brightened. “As a matter of fact, I’ve got some
special Heather Gruit ale for you to sample. It’s not on the menu.
I only made five gallons.”
The above passage from Chapter 8 of Blue Spirit introduces Greg Heath, brewmaster of his own pub on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis, and also the magical brew he gives to Skye MacLeod, our heroine who can only interact with the fairy world if she’s a little tipsy.
Skye describes the brew like this:
We each picked up a little glass of deep brown beer. I
sniffed it, and found that it smelled earthy and spicy. I sipped,
and the sweetness reminded me of gingerbread. It was bread-like
and complex and had a hint of flowers about it.
“Wow what’s in this?” said Annabelle, swirling the
remaining half of her brew around her tasting glass and sniffing
at it again.
Mona Lisa would be jealous of the mysterious smile
Greg gave her. “Trade secret, ma’am, but I’ll say that the name
gives away the heather honey and heather flowers I used, among
I found that my tasting glass was empty. Not only that,
but I felt…different somehow. Everyone around me had taken on
a glow. Annabelle had a soft yellow-orange aura surrounding
her, while Greg’s was a rich amber glow. Our server walked by,
and he shined a bright lavender color. An elderly couple a few
booths over seemed to share a dim aura of sea green.
The fairy recipe Heath uses, courtesy of The Transit King, enhances Skye’s powers. She not only sees into the fairy realm, but she gains a bit of insight on those around her, by seeing fairies. And it doesn’t take quite as much of this brew, so her judgment’s not quite as impaired as it would otherwise be. She uses this to great effect later in the story, at the Danse Macabre.
After reading Blue Spirit, my friend Red Tash (author of Troll or Derby, Troll or Park, and This Brilliant Darkness), suggested that since I am a homebrewer myself, I should try to duplicate Heath’s magical beer.
So I did. In February 2012, I formulated this 5 gallon recipe:
3 lbs Briess Golden Light dry malt extract
2 lbs local Indiana honey
1/2 lb Belgian Special B malt
1/2 lb Briess Caramel Malt (40L)
1.7 oz homegrown Cascade hops
1 oz Heather flower tips
Cooper’s dry brewing yeast
First, I steeped the specialty grains (Special B, Caramel) in 160F water for 20 minutes.
Next, I strained out the grains and added more water, about 4 gallons total, in my stainless steel stock pot. I brought this up to near boiling and cut the heat to stir in the honey and dry malt extract.
Once everything dissolved, I turned the heat back up and waited for it to boil. At boiling, I lowered it to a simmer (gotta be careful about boil-overs!) and added the hop flowers and stirred.
I boiled this wort (pre-beer) for about 45 minutes, and then added the heather tips for the last 15 minutes.
At this point, the floral scent mingled with the sweet and roasty scent of the wort, along with the citrusy hops, and I knew this was going to be a wonderful beer.
At an hour, I took it off the heat, used a wort chiller to get it below 80F, transferred to my brewing bucket, topped off with water to 5 gallons, added the yeast, and sealed it up to ferment. In a month or so, I bottled the beer and waited another couple of weeks to try it.
The result didn’t have the gingerbread notes that Skye mentioned, but it did have a similar faint astringency, with a definite sweet floral aroma from the heather tips and honey. It was also more coppery in color than brown.
I have to say, it was one of the best beers I’ve ever made, and I made a point of having some at times while writing Blue Spirit’s sequel, Restless Spirit, which will also be coming out through Seventh Star Press, hopefully before the end of the year.
E. Chris Garrison’s Blue Spirit Virtual Tour
About the Author: E. Chris Garrison (who also writes as Eric Garrison) is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. She lives in the Circle City with her wife, step-daughter and a cabal of cats. She also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.
Chris’ novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com during a promotion in July 2013.
Seventh Star Press is the home of Chris’ supernatural fantasy series, Road Ghosts, including Four ‘til Late, Sinking Down, and Me and the Devil.
Book Synopsis for Blue Spirit: Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she’s tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships.
With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen’s plot?
Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!
Tour Schedule and Activities
8/24 Obsessive Book Nerd Review
8/24 Darkling Delights Guest Post
8/24 Reading Away the Days Author Interview
8/24 Shells Interviews Guest Post
8/25 Marian Allen, Author Lady Guest Post
8/25 Deal Sharing Aunt Author Interview
8/27 The Southern Belle from Hell Author Interview
8/28 Jorie Loves a Story Review
8/29 Coffintree Hill Guest Post
8/29 Bee’s Knees Reviews Review
8/30 A Work in Progress Guest Post
8/30 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post
Links for Blue Spirit
Barnes and Noble Link:
MA here: It’s Tuesday, so I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about vegan sugar. What? Why?
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What kind of beer does your main character like? If your character doesn’t drink, what kind would they like if somebody slipped them some and told them it was a refreshing fruit drink or something? Dark? Light? Fruity? Smokey? Bitter? Mild?