Chicago “botanical brewery” Forbidden Root will release the bitter, fizzy fruits of its partnership with Fernet-Branca next week with a beer called Fernetic. Fernet is a bitter, aged Italian spirit much loved in the chef world. And as someone who works daily with complex aromatic blends in his award-winning beers, Forbidden Root head brewer BJ Pichman set his sights on the dark stuff.
“Collaborations are always an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone and build off someone else’s creative energy,” said Pichman in a press release. “We were working with a nearly 175-year-old recipe, a body of very distinct flavors and a bitterness factor that is not usually present in beers. Our team really enjoyed the creative challenge of working to make a delicious, uncommon beer while keeping true to the flavors and history of the Fernet-Branca recipe.”
The digestivo-inspired imperial black ale clocks in at 8.4 percent ABV and is brewed with some of the ingredients found in Fernet’s secret formula: rhubarb root, saffron and wormwood (the bitter plant that gives absinthe and vermouth their signature bitter edge). Head over to Forbidden Root in Chicago on January 19 for the inaugural tasting, along with Fernet-inspired bites and the chance to take home a limited-edition 22-ounce bottle of your very own. Beginning in February, Fernetic will be also available in Massachusetts, Florida, Rhode Island and Ohio.