Concrete Jungle gets its own beer

Wild Heaven Beer partners with the nonprofit to create a beer brewed from locally foraged fruits

Photo credit: Dessa Lohrey
URBAN PICKS: The new limited edition Concrete Jungle beer from Wild Heaven will be made from locally foraged fruits, like these serviceberries picked Downtown.

625Serviceberries21URBAN PICKS: The new limited edition Concrete Jungle beer from Wild Heaven will be made from locally foraged fruits, like these serviceberries picked Downtown.Dessa LohreyWild Heaven Beer has partnered with Concrete Jungle, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating Atlanta’s food waste and hunger simultaneously by foraging the city’s neglected wild produce, to brew a collaborative beer with a local flavor.

The beer, which is named after Concrete Jungle, is an 11.5 percent ABV barrel-aged strong dark wild ale, brewed with a blend of cherries, mulberries, serviceberries, apples, and plums. Except for the cherries, all of the wild fruit used was foraged locally by Concrete Jungle volunteers, which the brewers say gives the beer a unique “taste of Atlanta.”

Concrete Jungle regularly leads volunteer fruit picks in and around the metro Atlanta area to harvest wild fruit, nuts, vegetables and herbs from public and private property. They also operate Doghead Farm, a small piece of abandoned land in the Sylvan Hills neighborhood of southwest Atlanta that has produced more than 5,300 pounds of food since 2012. Since Concrete Jungle’s founding in 2009 by Atlanta residents Craig Durkin and Aubrey Daniels, the organization has donated more than 19 tons of fresh produce to Atlanta charities.

“This was a great partnership for us because normally we have to do a fair amount of sorting and cleaning of those fruits,” Durkin says. “Wild Heaven didn’t want any of that because they wanted as much natural yeast as possible.”

Used in its raw form, the wild fruit provided enough yeast to ferment the beer in French oak barrels for a year. Wild Heaven has already made a series of barrel-aged fruited sours, but Wild Heaven founder Nick Purdy says they were especially excited to explore the character of Concrete Jungle’s foraged mulberries and serviceberries, which they have not worked with before.

“Local fruits bring a sense of place and the local terroir, adding to the story of the beer,” Purdy says. “Having ripe, local fruit provides more raw material for the barrel-aging process to draw out unique, complex flavors.”

The beer will be available on draft at the Wild Heaven taproom this Sat., Nov. 11, only, and the Concrete Jungle crew will be there from 3-6 p.m. to share their mission with the community. A total of 70 cases of 500ml bottles will be available for purchase exclusively at the brewery, and will not be distributed anywhere else. Wild Heaven will donate $3 from the sale of each bottle to benefit Concrete Jungle’s 2018 fruit picks.

“We love the Concrete Jungle vision and mission,” says Purdy. “It’s so creative and authentic. When we had the chance to make something special and unique from hand-foraged fruit from our city, it was a no-brainer.”

Concrete Jungle bottle release. Free. 1-11 p.m., Sat., Nov. 11. Wild Heaven Beer, 135 Maple St. B, Decatur. 404-997-8589. www.wildheavenbeer.com.


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