Tea In the Beer Industry

Hunter's Tea recently teamed up with 603 Brewery in Londonderry New Hampshire to help craft "Totes Ma-Goats," a tea-infused beer for their E09 brew label. As a company passionate about tea, we continuously seek out new ways to bring our blends estate teas to new heights. In Hawaii earlier this year, we sampled a tea-infused wine featuring estate black tea leaves grown on the side of a volcano, inspiring us to look into the numerous industries which tea could strive.

When 603 Brewers reached out to us about using our teas as a base for one of their new specialty beers, we were thrilled at the opportunity to be a part of something different.

Ingrained in the New Hampshire community, Tim —the Head Brewer— said that 603 brewers wanted to work with other local businesses.

We offered 603 Brewers a tea-tasting where the brewers had the opportunity to sample 15 of our balanced, organic tea blends and estate teas. From fruity blends to single estate beauties, the 603 brew team had a wide variety of delicious organic teas at their fingers.

"We were very happy working with [Hunter's Tea] and being able to sample a bunch of teas, “ Tim said. “That tasting really set up our palettes to find the proper match.” After much consideration, Tim and his team decided the right tea for their bock beer was a black Ceylon tea from Western Sri Lanka.

When we asked where they had come up with the idea to use tea, Tim explained that “in the beer world we counterbalance sweetness with hops, but the “E09” series of beers we do is all about going against the grain and trying new things. So taking that viewpoint we were looking to balance the honey bock with something that popped into all of our heads, tea!” 

They were excited to take their idea for a bock beer and turn into something worthy of their E09 series, as Tim mentioned that “Bocks are traditional German lagers that are usually released in the Spring. As a jumping point, we turned that into a honey bock because that touch of sweetness would pair well with the maltiness of a bock as well as go with the spring theme.”

Brewers have been adding late additions to their beer for years now, so it isn’t surprising that tea—with its versatility and unique flavor profiles—was chosen. According to Tim, a late addition is when something is added to the beer after it has fermented, in cold temperatures. This method is supposed to allow brewers to control the affected flavor of the beer and ensures that an unexpected substance doesn’t disrupt fermentation: “Doing late additions, meaning post fermentation in colder temperatures, really brought out the flavor and aroma of the tea without any harsh tannins that could overpower the final product.”

And it seems that our Sri Lankan black Ceylon was the right tea for the job! According to 603 Brewery’s websiteTotes Ma Goats” is described as a “smooth and malty lager with a touch of honey sweetness. Hopped with calypso and a tea addition for a bright floral aroma”.

The Future of Beer is Tea

Customer satisfaction, as well as the success of fellow local businesses, is vital to us. The opportunity to push the bounds of what both tea and beer can be, and work with a fellow local company, has been enriching. And it sounds like 603 Brewery is happy with their final product as well!

But it doesn’t stop there. It looks like teas might have a bright future in the beer industry. In a recent article published by Beer Advocate, Joel Kennedy, the marketing manager for Southern California’s The Bruery, stated that “the tea and collaboration component has opened the door to a whole new generation of beer drinkers…I’m sure we’ll have more tea-infused beers in the future.”

Kennedy isn’t the only one who thinks that teas have a future in the beer industry either. Kristen Kuchar over at CraftBeer.com recently published an article with over nine other brewing companies that are exploring teas in their beers. Ben Low, director of brewing operations at Baxter Brewing Co. said in a recent interview with All About Beer Magazine that, “tea could work nicely in hoppy beers in particular. It certainly gives a bracing and refreshing bitterness and some astringency, which is usually not a flavor you normally want to show up in beer, but in tea it kind of works.”

We’ll drink to that!

At Hunter's Tea, we're happy to set up tastings with local businesses who want to carry our organic teas or use them as an ingredient in their products. We love exploring the "limits" of tea with projects like craft tea cocktails, tea simple-syrups, tea sodas, and serving Nitro Tea from our mobile Hunters Tea Bar ™ proving that there is no limit to tea.

For more information on how we can help your company, please contact business@hunterstea.com.

We offer a variety of business-focused products such as:
- Ready-to-drink cold brew tea keg program
- Ready-to-drink nitro cold brew tea keg program
- Tea tap installations in Cafes | Restaurants | Workplaces
- B2B Tea education and Seminars