Brewing

New page: Why brew with herbs?

New page: Why brew with herbs?

At long last, a bit of back story on my journey with herbal brewing, so first-time visitors of the site will be able to quickly figure out just how little I really know.

New page of herbal brewing tips

New page of herbal brewing tips

I’ve been putting off writing a page of tips on how to brew with herbs and spices. Then today, quite by accident, I rediscovered just such a list I’d pulled together for my original homepage some 15 years ago, and had long since forgotten about.

Brewing in Coal Country

Brewing in Coal Country

Lots of craft breweries pay tribute to the unique characteristics of their local area, but few do it as well or as thoroughly as Coal Country Brewing.

Brewing, writing, thinking

Brewing, writing, thinking

I realized the other day that I approach writing poetry the same way I approach brewing beer.

The terroir of London homebrewing

The terroir of London homebrewing

A summer in London gave unparalleled opportunities to exploit terroir through local or regional malts, hops, herbs, fruit, and water.

Sweetfern Chamomile Gruit Ale

Sweetfern Chamomile Gruit Ale

My first new experiment worth writing up since last year’s Pennsylvania Native Plant Gruit Beer, where I first tried brewing with sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina) in a big way. This time I combined it with some other reliable brewing herbs for a trans-Atlantic gruit.

Pennsylvania Native Plant Gruit Beer

Pennsylvania Native Plant Gruit Beer

A malt-forward, porter-like beer with a nicely balanced blend of root-beerish flavors

Brewing with red raspberries: two approaches

Brewing with red raspberries: two approaches

Red raspberry imperial mugwort stout and raspberry-black currant wheat beer.

Alcoholic root beer, Prohibition-style

Alcoholic root beer, Prohibition-style

A light, refreshing, warming beverage with a very well-balanced flavor profile. Does it taste like root beer? Not really; there’s nothing caramelly about it. More like a spiced pilsner.

Meadowsweet, Heather and Gentian Gruit

Meadowsweet, Heather and Gentian Gruit

This was my other stand-out beer of the winter 2014-15 brewing season. The idea was to make a vaguely Neolithic-style ale inspired by archaeological findings in Britain.

Fugwort Stout (A.K.A. Muggle Stout)

Fugwort Stout (A.K.A. Muggle Stout)

This was one of my two most successful experiments of the winter brewing season, and the first I’ve used hops in fifteen years. I wanted to make it basically because the portmanteaus amused me, but as it happened, mugwort and Fuggles hops go together in more ways than just linguistically.

Sassafras-Black Birch Beer

Sassafras-Black Birch Beer

Sassafras and black birch (i.e. wintergreen, more or less) are the dominant notes here; the other flavors blend into a citrusy background. This is a refreshing, summery drink, a bit acidic — imagine a cross between unsweetened herb tea and a nice mild ale.