Margaret Atwood has written more than 40 books (epic, speculative fiction award-winners like The Handmaid’s Tale), invented something called the LongPen and has been a lifelong champion of the environment. Now, Atwood is getting her own beer — in a bottle — and we say kudos. We reported, last year, that some of Canada’s best were teaming up to save, study and celebrate Lake Erie wildlife. Ottawa’s Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. had recruited award-winning Canadian scribes and longtime environmental activists Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson to create an inspired new gruit.
Beau’s Brewery will launch “MaddAddamites NooBroo” gruit ale into LCBO stores across the province, starting this week. Sales of the beer will raise funds for the Pelee Island Bird Observatory (PIBO); Gibson chairs its Board of Directors, and Atwood is an advisor to the Board. Gruits are beers brewed with herbs and other botanicals in lieu of hops. The beer’s recipe is inspired by many of the botanicals noted in Atwood’s novel MaddAddam, the third book in her trilogy of speculative fiction that also includes Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood.
Atwood personally tasted and selected the bouquet of botanicals used in the beer, which include red clover flower, rosehips, elderberries and wild cherry bark. The 5.2 percent ABV creation is delicate in body, with berry notes, a tea-like herbal character and a pleasantly tart finish.
Atwood also penned the tasting notes for the beer, which appear on the hang tag of each bottle:
“From its elusive, intriguing aroma to its subtle yet celebratory aftertaste, this light but substantial beer has mysterious undertones of rosehips, elderberries, and mountain herbs, with a deeper tone of roots and woodsy bark. Fresh and spring-like, confident and down-to-earth yet inspirational, rooted in the wild world of foraging and gathering, NooBroo is everything the MaddAddamites would wish an all-natural beer to be. Saint Euell Gibbons himself would applaud it!”
Twenty-four cents from each bottle of MaddAddamites NooBroo sold will be donated to PIBO. PIBO is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to collect and contribute information about migratory birds and their populations. Pelee Island is the southernmost populated point in Canada, and has a unique microclimate that sustains a rich diversity of plants and wildlife. A significant stopover site for many species of migratory birds, it has been designated a globally Important Bird Area (IBA) by the Canadian partners of BirdLife.