A malt-forward, porter-like beer with a nicely balanced blend of root-beerish flavors
experimental beers with a botanical twist
Betula lenta, the North American tree also known as sweet birch, renowned for its wintergreen flavor and still featured in the soft drink birch beer. I’ve only ever used the fresh twigs or the dried root bark, but as the Wikipedia entry notes, “The sap flows about a month later than maple sap, and much faster. The trees can be tapped in a similar fashion, but must be gathered about three times more often. Birch sap can be boiled the same as maple sap, but its syrup is stronger (like molasses).”
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.