The grapefruit might never have made it into our Pale Ale if it hadn’t been for Captain Shaddock, a 17th century English ship commander who brought seeds of the pummelo from the East Indies and delivered them to the West Indies in 1693. One story on the origin of the grapefruit is that this Captain Shaddock bred the first fruit in Jamaica using those pomelo seeds. However, it probably originated as a horticultural accident, a naturally occurring hybrid between a sweet orange and pomelo. No matter what story is true, the pummelo seems to have fathered the grapefruit, which actually began as a smaller fruit than we know nowadays.
It took a while for the world to come to the grapefruit’s common name. Back in 1750 a reverend in search of the origin of the tree of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, came upon the fruit and called it “forbidden fruit”. This name was carried for many years after. The common name as we know it today probably originates from the 19th century when someone noted that the fruits appeared to grow in clusters like grapes.
Since then, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to change the grapefruit’s name. American horticulturists, convinced the grapefruit’s name was unfitting, wanted to call it pomelo, but that would be confusing next to pummelo. To increase its marketability and commerciality American citrus traders attempted to change the name in the 20th century, which failed too because of public outcry. The grapefruit is still a grapefruit…
The subtropical, evergreen grapefruit tree usually grows to around 5 to 6 meters, however they can reach 13 to even 15 meters. The tree has glossy leaves and produces fragrant, large white flowers. In a good year, a single grapefruit tree can generate up to 650 kilos of fruit, that’s 40 pieces of fruit on a single branch! When fully ripened the grapefruit is harvested. This semi-sweet, somewhat bitter fruit is available year round, however its peak season is January through June. So to develop and brew our American Pale Ale, we used the grapefruit at its best.
You might have come across different varieties at your local (super) market, ranging from white and pink to red grapefruits. Not just the colour, but also the flavour depends on the variety. In general you could say the intensely red variant is sweeter than the delicately pink or white ones. Whether the flavour is sweet or tart, grapefruit has a distinctive, sometimes astringent and slightly bitter overtone. In the Lowlander Pale Ale, grapefruit adds a mild, tangy, tropical sweetness and slight bitterness. It makes our beer crisp and highly sessionable. With its tartness the grapefruit is a great partner in crime to complement our brew.
After peeling dozens of grapefruits at our headquarters we used the “leftovers” to make freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. Blended with the blood orange “leftovers” the grapefruit juice adds a robust zing, yummy. The refreshing bite of a grapefruit gives a special punch to any food combination and has a natural affinity for a smooth ripe avocado.
Although most of the grapefruit consists of water, it is worthwhile to eat this fruit, not just for its exquisite flavour. Ever heard of the “grapefruit diet”, or “Hollywood diet”? This diet claims that the fruit’s low glycemic index is able to help the body’s metabolism burn fat. Actually every part of the grapefruit is recognized for its many health benefits. The fruit has a full range of B vitamins and is a good source of vitamin C. It offers plenty of calcium, potassium, and magnesium as well as trace amounts of iron and zinc.
So don’t feel guilty and indulge a(nother) refreshing Lowlander Pale Ale to maintain that glorious summer body of yours.