Recipes

Sassafras-Black Birch Beer

Sassafras-Black Birch Beer

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.

Juniper-Yarrow ESB (Extra Scandinavian Bitter)

Juniper-Yarrow ESB (Extra Scandinavian Bitter)

Is there such a thing as a juniper head (like a hop head)? I think I could become one.

Mugwort Spicebush Stout

Mugwort Spicebush Stout

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

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.

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.

Juniper-Ginger Beer

Juniper-Ginger Beer

Juniper forms the dominant note, resiny and vaguely citrusy, supported by the camphor quality of yarrow and the spiciness of ginger. The bitterness is mild, equivalent roughly to a standard wheat beer.

Calaguala Ale

Calaguala Ale

Calaguala, A.K.A. samambaia, is a tropical fern with many healing properties. Combined with cinchona bark — herbal quinine — this ought to be “good for what ales you.”

Indian Sarsaparilla Gruit Ale

Indian Sarsaparilla Gruit Ale

A partial mash-extract beer featuring a great many delicious spices.

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.