Is there really such a thing as a gruit IPA? you may be wondering. Well, there is now!
Artemisia vulgaris is one of my favorite hop substitutes. A preservative as well as a flavoring and bittering agent. Don’t plant it, though, except in a container: it’s invasive in many parts of North America and can be a really pernicious weed. I had to abandon a vegetable garden once because it took over. On the plus side, you never have to feel guilty about over-harvesting a non-native plant! Look for it along trails or in old meadows. Gather the tops just before they flower in the fall, or the leaves any time, and dry before use—or be prepared for a lot of very mucilaginous goo in your brewpot.
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.