Brewed on 6 July 2018 in London, with sloes picked and frozen the previous year. I added juniper berries too, because gin.
“A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers,” says the Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the juniper outside my door is male, but juniper berries are readily available in homebrew shops and elsewhere. They seem to retain their quality in storage nearly indefinitely.
A good rule of thumb for brewers: any herb or spice used in gin may also be used in beer to good effect, often in the very same blends and proportions.
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.
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.