How Nuts Are Being Incorporated into Craft Beer

March 14, 2016

We’re waving goodbye to winter, which means warmer temperatures and more daylight. As we transition into the spring and summer months, many craft breweries – especially those with outdoor patios – are going to experience a surge in traffic as the temperature creeps up and the days get longer.

The craft brewing industry is absolutely on fire across the nation, with more than 2,000 breweries opening across the country since 2008. Due to the sheer number of choices for the normal beer enthusiast, brewers have had to think outside the box with flavors in order to attract consumers. In recent years, some of the most popular flavors come from unlikely sources – nuts. Nuts have been used in different libations throughout the ages, but are experiencing somewhat of a golden age as craft breweries try to think up new, unique flavors. Each nut and nut butter combination used in the brewing process creates a new, distinct flavor for each beer, which gives breweries an almost unlimited amount of customization opportunities. Below are how some different nuts are used in brewing beer.


With peanuts being America’s favorite nut, it’s no wonder that the use of peanuts in beer is on the rise. One of the most common way of incorporating peanuts in beer is by mimicking one of America’s favorite confection combinations – peanut butter and chocolate. From peanut butter cup porters to chocolate peanut butter stouts, there are a number of different breweries trying their hand at emulating the classic flavor combination in their brews.


A Southern staple, pecans have been making their way into different brews over time. However, pecan brewing is a tough nut to crack – the oily nature of pecans can destroy beer’s foamy head. For this reason, brewers have to roast the pecans to a perfect point – enough that it cuts the oil, but not so much that it destroys the natural nutty aroma. Despite their trickiness, pecans have found their way into a number of different brews across the country – from brown ales to porters.


Walnuts are great additions to beers due to two reasons – their smoky, rich flavor profile as well as their ability to provide a dark brown color to whatever they are incorporated in. Because of this, walnuts are fantastic ingredient for brewing darker beers, where they can help contribute to the beer’s rich color. Keep an eye out for black walnut stout, porters and dunkel weizens.


Unlike other nuts, hazelnuts give beer a soft and warm taste, not unlike warm baked goods. Hazelnut beer is rare, but not completely uncommon – especially in the Pacific Northwest, where 99% of the country’s hazelnuts are harvested. Many breweries in Oregon and Washington, like Rogue, have at least one beer that features hazelnuts. Craft beer and brewery hopping is now a big reason everyone gets excited for warmer weather.

With the experimentation with flavors and incorporation of nuts into some of the best craft brews in the country, we believe this “nutty” beer trend is here to stay.


Tags: hazelnuts, nuts, peanuts, pecans, walnuts

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