I realized the other day that I approach writing poetry the same way I approach brewing beer.
A summer in London gave unparalleled opportunities to exploit terroir through local or regional malts, hops, herbs, fruit, and water.
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.
A malt-forward, porter-like beer with a nicely balanced blend of root-beerish flavors
Red raspberry imperial mugwort stout and raspberry-black currant wheat beer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Brewed on 3 March, 2013. Grains (all organic) 2-row pale malt, 8 lbs. Caramel 60L, 1 lb. Munich, 1 lb. Briess Victory, 1/2 lb. Herbs yarrow, dried tops, 2 packed pints plus one cup dried spicebush (Lindera benzoin) berries, crushed,…