experimental beers with a botanical twist

sweetfern

Comptonia peregrina, a New World native, is in the same family, Myricaceae, as bayberry and the famous gruit ingredient sweet gale or bog myrtle. I’ve found it to be a reliable anti-microbial bittering agent with a resinous, camphor-like flavor. Gather the leaves at any time before autumn, but they’re the strongest and freshest in midsummer.

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.

Sweetfern Red Ale

Sweetfern Red Ale

This experiment confirms that Comptonia peregrina is the best all-around native North American “hop substitute” I’ve ever used.

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.

Pennsylvania Native Plant Gruit Beer

Pennsylvania Native Plant Gruit Beer

A malt-forward, porter-like beer with a nicely balanced blend of root-beerish flavors