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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.

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.

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.

New “ancient ale” from Dogfish Head revives hybrid Scandinavian grog

New “ancient ale” from Dogfish Head revives hybrid Scandinavian grog

Fascinating to see yarrow already in use as a brewing herb 3500 years ago. Here, it’s in combination with several bog plants: sweet gale, meadowsweet, cranberries and lingonberries.

All-grain homebrewing for lazy cheapskates

All-grain homebrewing for lazy cheapskates

Our very ability to experiment with things like gruit blends without worrying too much about the yeast and the malts is a direct result of the precision and predictability achieved by industrial brewers over the past 200 years.

Mugwort Spicebush Stout

Mugwort Spicebush Stout

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