Mystic Brewery and Jamie Bissonnette Team Up on the Ultimate Shift Drink
Anyone who’s paid their dues in the kitchen, bar, or dining room knows that restaurant industry folks like to kick back after a busy shift with a shot of bitter, boozy amaro, and the team at Mystic Brewery is no exception. So, when they wanted to create a beer that mimics the spicy spirit, they reached out to an authority.
Chef Jamie Bissonnette is the kind of guy who sets up eBay alerts for the word “fernet,” he once told Boston. The chef at Coppa—which offers a fernet flight with amari from the Czech Republic, Mexico, and, of course, Italy—Toro, and Little Donkey “has a much deeper knowledge of spices than the average person,” says Mystic creative director Louie Berceli.
Fernetical isn’t Bisonnette’s first foray into brewing: In 2013, he brought some unique ingredients to Smuttlabs for Pure Biss, a wit beer with kaffir lime leaves, spruce tips, and 25 pounds of grapefruit zest.
Along with Mystic founder Bryan Greenhagen and head brewer Charlie Cummings, Bissonnette helped fine-tune the fernet-inspired ale recipe, which includes more than a dozen different herbs and botanicals. “Jamie pointed us toward some things we never would have thought of,” Berceli says, like black cardamom, a smokier variety of the requisite ingredient.
Fernet is one of Berceli’s favorites because of its well-crafted, intense flavor. “After you’ve been working in a restaurant all day, you’ve been picking at things here and there. You want something that’s an intense punch and cleanses the palate,” he says.
But he knows it’s an acquired taste. “No one’s iffy about it,” he says. People who don’t like the stuff will likely not be into Fernetical. Since announcing the beer on social media yesterday, Mystic has received a slew of positive comments, as well as a couple grossed-out ones. That’s totally fine, Berceli says.
“It’s meant to be a novelty drink in general,” he says. It will be released in 375 mL bottles only, at least to start. “It’s us experimenting with ingredients, and letting folks try it to see if it reminds them of the real thing.”
Fernetical will be released in the Mystic Brewery taproom on Saturday, October 1.
174 Williams St., Chelsea, 617-466-2079, mystic-brewery.com.