Persimmon: Indiana’s indigenous ale

As fall frost stings the turning leaves and the skin of many a bundled Hoosier, the beauty and rituals of autumn beckon: a hike through the Deam Wilderness, a ride through Brown County, perhaps a search for the Great Pumpkin.

Another ritual is uniquely Hoosier: the enjoyment of Indiana’s native persimmon fruit. For Bloomington Brewing Co., autumn means the opportunity to brew our specialty Persimmon Ale.

From the Latin for “divine fruit”, diospyros, the persimmon (Diospyros virginiana) is a native Indiana tree that bears golfball-sized fruit that usually turns a bright orange in the late fall.

The persimmon is unlike other fruit in that it’s unwise to tempt its flavors until it has dropped from the tree and onto the ground. If you taste a persimmon before its descent to earth, your puckered taste buds will soon realize your error.

Once ripe, however, the fruit is exquisite and commonly ground into pulp used in puddings, breads and cookies. An elderly neighbor of mine never fails to bring over a special persimmon pudding baked with the fruit of her son’s persimmon tree just down the road. No treat is sweeter.

For the second year, we at BBC have conjured up our Persimmon Ale for the Brewpub at Lennie’s and establishments where our fine crafted ales are sold. We added over 100 lbs. of Indiana persimmon pulp into the boil kettle, along with ground cinnamon and nutmeg, giving Persimmon Ale some holiday spice to enjoy on chilly evenings with family and friends.

The persimmons in our ale were wild-harvested and provided by our friends at Dillman Farms, a Monroe County treasure which opened their doors in 1970 with a single product, local apple butter. Today they create over 100 types of fruit butter spreads, preserves, jellies, mustards, salsas and more. Their motto is, “We believe that the food we eat should be as simple as possible.” As a local brewery making unfiltered ales for people who love great beer, we couldn’t agree more.

At BBC, we’re proud to be part of the Hoosier fabric. And we can think of no better way to pay homage to the fruit of the Hoosier state than with a Bloomington Brewing Co. Persimmon Ale. Cheers and enjoy!

You can find Persimmon Ale at the Brewpub at Lennie’s and locations throughout Indiana.

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