Redemption Rock Brewing Co. creates African-inspired corn lager to debut at African Community Education gala

Redemption Rock Brewing Co. in Worcester will release its latest brew next week, but to try it, beer connoisseurs will first have to buy a ticket to African Community Education’s year-end gala.

As part of celebration for the virtual gala, Redemption Rock created a corn lager called “Burudika,” which is the equivalent to “Cheers” in Swahili.

“We wanted something that was a little inspired by African ingredients and some of the more traditional brewing techniques on the continent,” CEO and co-founder of Redemption Rock Dani Babineau said.

When ACE moved its in-person gala to a virtual version, it reached out to small businesses in Worcester to help make the annual event memorable. While others in the city provided wine and food, Redemption Rock partnered with ACE to provide beer for the at-home event, including “Burudika”, a beer made specifically for the gala.

It will debut at the ACE gala on Nov. 12 and then be available in the taproom.

Traditionally, many African brews are produced with Sorghum, a flowering plant found in Africa, Australia and Asia, but Redemption Rock had little to no experience working with the ingredient.

Instead, it produced a corn lager since maize is also well known within African breweries.

In addition to corn the brew will highlight rooibos, which is popular in South Africa. The leaves from rooibos are often used to create an herbal tea.

“It’s a very common thing on the continent,” Babineau said of rooibos. “So having that as a bridge to a beer and one of our beers is going to be really neat. When you connect the dots of something that people are familiar with and something they’re not familiar with, that’s one of my favorite things to do with people in the taproom is bring people together that way.

Babineau described the beer as a smooth-tasting lager similar to the brewery’s “Three Decker” beer. Many breweries use corn to lighten the flavor of beer, Babineau said. Used in large quantities, like with “Burudika,” the beer will have a corn forward taste.

“It will be a pretty light, easy drinking beer,” Babineau said. “With a little bit of that corn flavor to it.”

The artwork for “Burudika” was inspired by Abu Mwenye, an artist in Worcester who is from Tanzania.

“My favorite things are reaching new people,” Babineau said. “Whether it’s a single individual who has never had craft beer before or didn’t like it or reaching a wider community like the ACE community. That to me is some of the most exciting things you can do with beer.”

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