Queen’s beer with poppies

PoppiesThe roadsides are filled with poppies again. So this is the right moment for a poppy beer recipe. I’ll keep it short, so you can start brewing right away.

The 1866 Dutch brewer’s manual De praktische bierbrouwer mentions a ‘Koninginnebier’ or ‘Queen’s beer’.[1] This must have been a rare beer. Princesse beer was everywere in 19th century Holland, but Queen’s beer? Yet, I found some adverts for it, in The Hague. On 19 January 1860 beer trader F. Staade announced that he was the only retailer of a ‘wholly new type of beer’, the very commendable Queen’s beer.[2] This is one of the reasons why I suspect that The Hague brewer B.M. Perk is the writer of the aforementioned book. Staade would continue to advertise the Queen’s beer three more times, but then he stopped. The reason is probably that Perk sold his brewery in April 1860, and the Queen’s beer was discontinued.[3]

Dagblad van Zuidholland en 's Gravenhage 19-1-1860In the 1866 book, Koninginnebier/Queen’s beer is a fun brown-coloured beer of 4,5% ABV. However, it did require some additions. Per tun (of 155 litres), 300 grams of liquorice root, 500 grams of sugar syrup and 300 grams of poppies were added. You may be wondering about the poppies , but in 1745 Rotterdam brewer Wouter van Lis already described how poppies could be added to Bruinbitter (‘Brown-bitter’) beer in order to give it a deep red colour, which came from the red-coloured petals.[4] The addition of a pound of sugar syrup made not a lot difference for the sugar content, so the reason for adding must have been the colour as well. Further on, our Praktische bierbrouwer describes how a ‘beer colourant’ can be made from melted and burnt sugar. In the end the Queen’s beer will have an amber to brown colour.

Withour further ado, here is a recipe for an authentic Koninginnebier from 1866! Pick some poppies from the roadside and start brewing. Cheers![5]

Koninginnebier (Queen's beer) recipe 1866

[1] De praktische bierbrouwer, bewerkt door een oudbrouwer, Amsterdam 1866, p. 107.

[2] Dagblad van Zuidholland en ‘s Gravenhage 19-1-1860.

[3] Dagblad van Zuidholland en ‘s Gravenhage 12-4-1860.

[4] Wouter van Lis, Brouwkunde, Rotterdam 1745, p. 23.

[5] This article was based on an earlier version in Dutch, http://verlorenbieren.nl/koninginnebier-met-klaprozen/.

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