To say we were skeptical of this beer when we were told about it would be an understatement. “It’s made with what now?” was our first thought. When it comes to the reinheitsgebot German Purity law of beer, mopane worms don’t feature. However, after we trying it at the Cape Town Festival of Beer our scepticism was put at bay. With that said, here it is, the Drifter Brewing Co Madora Brown Ale.
The label reads “Brewed with African Bugs” and it is legitimately made with mopane worms and other African “delicacies”. The beer is a collaboration between the Drifter Brewing Co and Gourmet Grubb. Never heard of them? Us neither. We’re slaves to a solid piece of South African meat which is probably why. Gourmet Grubb work to integrate insects into an everyday western diet as a sustainable, nutritious, and affordable choice.
- African bugs. Stop it. Explain? In collaboration with Gourmet Grubb, we set out to introduce edible insects to a very open minded market; craft beer drinkers. Here at Drifter, we take weird and new ideas very seriously, and go to great lengths to transpose them into beer.
- How many bugs went into this beer? 10 kg total; 5kg meal worms, 2.5 kg black soldier fly and 2.5 kg mopane worms. We used a combination of ground and whole bugs to maximize the extraction of flavors.
- Why those bugs? The idea was to pair and balance the flavors of these bugs to suit an established style of beer; essentially we excluded the nutty malts and replaced them with these insects to produce a unique nut brown ale. The mealworms provided excellent cashew and peanut flavors, black soldier fly larvae gave the brew its earthy character, and the mopane brought it all together with a savory addition.
- How did people at the Cape Town Festival of Beer react to it? While some appeared apprehensive at first, reactions ranged from pleasantly surprised to genuinely impressed. The response was wonderful.
- How much did you brew? We only made 1000 liters, and canned nearly all of it. The overwhelmingly positive response to Madora has made it a bit hard to find, but stop into our taproom for a pint or some cans!
The taste is not what you would expect at all. It is surprisingly nutty and smooth. We fully recommend giving the Drifter Brewing Co Madora Brown Ale a go. Don’t be put off in the slightest, it’s not what you would expect at all. In terms of swapping out a piece of fillet for a handful of insects, we leave that decision entirely up to you.