The potato is probably one of the most humble foods we can grow and eat. I mean who came upon the humble spud with its dirt covered skin and said “that’s going to be delicious!” But we’re glad someone did. There are probably hundreds if not thousands of different variety of potatoes. If you’ve ever come across a seed catalogue then you know what I’m talking about – and that doesn’t even include the wild varieties of potatoes found all over the world.
Interestingly enough potato plants are part of the nightshade family of plants, which tomato, eggplant, peppers, and tobacco also belong to. Norfolk County’s climate and soil conditions are quite ideal for growing these plants. Before farmers here took up horticulture, many farms in Norfolk County grew tobacco as a cash crop – there’s a black and white documentary produced by the National Film Board if you want to see what it used to look like back in the day. Those days are now long gone. Instead Norfolk fields are covered with plants that produce delicious foods, like potatoes.
Ask a potato farmer, “which type of potato should I grow”, and I can guarantee you’ll need at least a 6-pack of our DPA – Dakota Pearl Ale – to share because that’s how long your friendly potato farmer can talk about potatoes. Since I’ve been told that blog posts shouldn’t be 6 beers long to read, here is the reader’s digest version of the type of potato we grow.
It’s called a Dakota Pearl, and rightly so. With very shallow eyes its skin is smooth and bright like a shimmering pearl. We chose this potato with chip making in mind because it comes out of the fryer sturdy, light, and crispy.
In order for chips to come out of the fryer looking and tasting like chips, its flesh has to be relatively dry and not too sugary or starchy. Who knew that these same properties of the Dakota Pearl would also be perfect as a brewing ingredient too?
It was a few months ago when we said “hey, let’s create a unique beer, one that we can use to wash the sliced potatoes prior to cooking our Kettle Chips. That’ll give us a really great snack chip and hopefully create a fantastic new beer, something very special to Ramblin’ Road.” All that potato goodness was returned to the brew line where we innovated a process to start the fermenting process again only this time with potato sugars. The smoothness and finished flavours were excellent.
We knew we were onto something, so we kept tweaking the recipe. And here we have it, Dakota Pearl Potato Ale for our community. Cheers to you and to potato farmers everywhere!