experimental beers with a botanical twist

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Appalachian True Root Beer

Appalachian True Root Beer

A hopped alcoholic root beer with mostly wild-harvested roots and herbs and a bock-ish grain bill.

The terroir of London homebrewing

The terroir of London homebrewing

A summer in London gave unparalleled opportunities to exploit terroir through local or regional malts, hops, herbs, fruit, and water.

Elderberry Wheat Beer

Elderberry Wheat Beer

Since I’d made elderflower wheat beer at the beginning of the summer, I had to make elderberry wheat beer from the same backyard tree at the end of the summer.

Ginger-Angelica Gruit Porter

Ginger-Angelica Gruit Porter

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

Elderflower Wheat Beer

Elderflower Wheat Beer

A Belgian-style wheat beer with elderflowers from the back garden tree in London.

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.

Wild Ginger and Lemon Verbena Wheat Beer

Wild Ginger and Lemon Verbena Wheat Beer

Might lemon verbena have anti-microbial properties? My one experiment with it was a success.

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

Brewing with red raspberries: two approaches

Brewing with red raspberries: two approaches

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

Alcoholic root beer, Prohibition-style

Alcoholic root beer, Prohibition-style

A light, refreshing, warming beverage with a very well-balanced flavor profile. Does it taste like root beer? Not really; there’s nothing caramelly about it. More like a spiced pilsner.

Meadowsweet, Heather and Gentian Gruit

Meadowsweet, Heather and Gentian Gruit

This was my other stand-out beer of the winter 2014-15 brewing season. The idea was to make a vaguely Neolithic-style ale inspired by archaeological findings in Britain.