Louie Berceli stood along the Cape Cod coastline at Scatteree Beach, in Chatham, and took in the ocean air. Berceli, the sales and marketing manager at Mystic Brewery, was there last December for Christmas, and found himself captivated by the smell of fresh juniper berries and sea salt as the wind blew around him.
And then he thought, “I want to drink this.”
So he spent the rest of the day foraging close to six pounds of juniper berries to bring back to Mystic’s Chelsea brewery. After surprising the brewers—”It’s hard to be mad when you smell a fresh bag of juniper berries,” Berceli says—they froze the ingredients to preserve them, and sat down to come up with how they could harness the coastal flavors. Fresh juniper berries, normally found in gin, give the beer citrus and pine flavors and aromas, similar to what normal hops do, Berceli says.
The team settled on brewing a gose ale that would encapsulate the feeling Berceli felt along the water. Aptly named Scatteree, the beer is brewed with the juniper berries he foraged that day, and Atlantic sea salt.
“We’ve talked about doing foraged beers before, but this one was a more spur-of-the-moment thing,” Berceli says.
Mystic turned to local vendor Monomoit Wild for sea salt harvested from within 100 yards of Scatteree. Goses are known for their tart, light minerality, and salt is an important addition to the German beer style. The brewers also added coriander, which isn’t sourced from Chatham, and fermented the beer with lactobacillus, resulting in an easy-drinking sour ale.
“It’s not going to taste salty, per se,” Berceli says. “Think more [like] mineral water. It’s going to be light, floral, a little tart, a really good warm weather beer.”
If it beer sounds familiar, there’s a chance you’ve tried it already—it was also featured at Mystic’s booth during BeerAdvocate’s Microbrew Invitational last weekend.
This isn’t the first time Mystic has harnessed the local terroir into a new beer. Periodic releases in the Vinland series use yeast drawn from the skins of ingredients like Maine blueberries or Massachusetts plums. Massachusetts-grown wheat is the backbone of Old Powderhouse wheat wine ale. And coming soon is the Null, a collaboration with Backlash Beer Co., which is a smoked quad conditioned over applewood from Brookline.
Scatteree will also be available on draft at the taproom this Saturday, June 11, and in 750 mL bottles. It will flow into area stores next week.
Mystic Brewery, 174 Williams St., Chelsea, 617-466-2079, mystic-brewery.com.
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