Life In Berlin: How To Make Beer Like A Parasite

Apr 28, 2017

Hana Eckermann: Bierlieb in Berlin - Friedrichshain announced a Parasite Produktions beer tasting and we are eager to find out what is the story behind this unusual project.

Richie Hodges: We're also in a scene in Berlin right now that although is growing and budding and doing wonderful craft beer, has maybe become a little bit stagnant in the last six months to a year. We thought, "and let's just shake it up a little bit and try something new." It's Berlin, be creative, push the edge a little bit.

Hugh Eckermann: That's Richie Hodges, a trained brew master, who teamed up with Cristal Jane Peck, a trained microbiologist and a home brewer, for a scientific experiment.

Cristal Jane Peck and Richie Hodges of Parasite Produktions.
Credit Hugh & Hana Eckermann

Cristal Jame Peck: For example on the first beer, the Orval, we really utilized Richie's brewing prowess and my microbiological prowess. Because the aim with that was to take one of our most favourite beers, the Orval, and age it on a bed of white fresh peaches. We really like the idea of playing with bacteria and certain yeasts strains.

Richie: Basically, we've been kicking around this idea for some time now about taking the art of what they do actually in Belgium called blending which is often purchasing a base beer and then blending it in to adding fruits to it.

Hugh: Well this beer is absolutely delicious and that's a crazy idea.

Cristal: It's a deeply respectful thing, because we love these breweries and it's basically an homage to the skill of these breweries.

Hana: So it's basically hijack and celebrate.

Cristal: Well, parasites, that's what they do. A parasite takes something that's established and functioning wonderfully - human cells for example - and it basically hijacks that and uses it for its own benefit. And that's exactly what we are doing with these wonderful beers.

Hugh: Parasites, do they kill their host?

Cristal: There's different kinds of parasitism, often they do kill their host.

Hugh: Well, you are not killing your host here, I must say, these are really good. Which is your favorite beer?

Cristal: I'm totally in love with the Oude Kriek, with the combination of Belyzium chocolate, cherries and New Mexico red chillies. So it's chocolate, cherries, dry, puckering.

Hana: And I found the the Duchess of Genovese really amazing. This wonderful, sweet smell of basil and strawberry and then wonderfully balanced with balsamic flavor

The Cru de la Cru beer from Parastie Produktions with wild blueberries and Duchese de Genovese beer with sweet basil and strawberries.
Credit Hugh & Hana Eckermann

Richie: And I actually lived in an area in Italy known for its pesto and basil and the typical thing is you have this pesto and desert-wise you could use basil with strawberries. But you could also use it with balsamic. And you have a beer that has a roast balsamic flavors, why not combine it with basil? Just seems logical. So some of it is pairing a food background, science and brewing. It's just a lot of things coming together and I am really happy and excited about the direction it's going.

Hana: We too, thank you. So do you have some future plans to do some more?

Cristal: Absolutely, we never stop planning. We have many many dreams and this is just the very first in seeing these dreams to fruition, so watch this space!

Hana: And we will! This was the first project of Parasite Produktions of Richie Hodges and Cristal Jane Peck.