lemon balm

Or simply “balm” in the old recipes. Melissa officinalis is strongly lemony, grows like a weed, and appears to have pretty good anti-microbial properties as well, so a reliable brewing herb, especially in combination with something a bit more bitter, such as yarrow, mugwort, or hops.

Ginger-Angelica Gruit Porter

Ginger-Angelica Gruit Porter

Fennel, licorice, lemon balm, coriander… YUM. A delicious backdrop to a delicious beer.

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.

Summer Meadow Ale

Summer Meadow Ale

My idea was to flavor a summer ale with a mix of common meadow plants, all gathered at the time of brewing, and thereby to try and capture the essence of a midsummer meadow. Much to my own surprise, I seem to have succeeded on the first attempt!

Ground Ivy Gruit Ale

Ground Ivy Gruit Ale

I’ve never found ground ivy to be anywhere near as bitter as the books say, but it could be the wild stuff I use tastes different from British or cultivated varieties.

Yarrow Gruit Braggot Ale

Yarrow Gruit Braggot Ale

Braggot is half beer, half mead. I brewed this way back on July 24, 2002, when honey was cheap and when my technique involved a LOT of herbs, usually including roasted dandelion root.