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A beer thinker’s guide to life

A beer thinker’s guide to life

The best brewer sometimes makes bad beer.

Sweet flag

Sweet flag

The aroma was unmistakable, musky and strong, with hints of nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon—the quintessence of spice.

Meadow in a bottle

Meadow in a bottle

Up until that moment, I’d been intending to make some kind of very standard beer style—an IPA or a porter—and simply substitute yarrow for the usual hops.

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.

Homebrewing made difficult in 72 steps

Homebrewing made difficult in 72 steps

Apparently possession of homebrewing supplies combined with seditious views can now get you charged with terrorism in the USA.

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.”

The promise of translucence

The promise of translucence

Bottling beer is complex enough without having to worry about cleaning all the bottles yet. If they’re already clean, all they need is a soak in sanitizer solution.

Brewing without a recipe

Brewing without a recipe

This was the first time in many years that I didn’t carefully weigh and measure everything and write it all down for future reference. But I have to say, it felt liberating not to.

Beer Tasting 101: Yarrow Sarsaparilla Ale

Beer Tasting 101: Yarrow Sarsaparilla Ale

It’s, uh, crisp and floral, medium-bodied, dry! (Can it be all those things at the same time? You sure hope so.)