mugwort

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.

Appalachian Gruit Stout

Appalachian Gruit Stout

A terroir-ific beer using herbs from the back forty (sweetfern and mugwort) and locally grown base malt from Appalachian Malting in Portage, PA.

Gruit Ale with Kveik

Gruit Ale with Kveik

One of the herbal beers I typically make, but using the yeast (kveik) from Norwegian farmhouse beer.

Abbey Gruit Ale

Abbey Gruit Ale

One of my typical gruit blends meets White Labs Trappist Ale (aka Monastery) yeast.

Brewing with red raspberries: two approaches

Brewing with red raspberries: two approaches

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

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.

Dark Lager with Mugwort

Dark Lager with Mugwort

An unhopped lager. The herbs are assertive but not overpowering, and the bitterness is fairly low.

Mugwort Spicebush Stout

Mugwort Spicebush Stout

Mugwort and Indian sarsaparilla are an excellent combination; that’s why I brew with them so often.

Mugwort Chamomile Oatmeal Stout

Mugwort Chamomile Oatmeal Stout

My tasting notes say only “very tasty and strong,” but the fact that I still remember how good it was five years later ought to tell you something.