Recent posts

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

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.

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.

Sleepytime Beer

Sleepytime Beer

Hops, valerian, and chamomile to sedate and mint to aid digestion.

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.