BYOB -- Brew Your Own Beer

After I get off work today we're taking a little road trip to our "local" brewing supply company about 30 minutes away. There we'll be buying some of the ingredients we need to brew some of our own beer and wine, and I'll also be picking up some malt powder or extract because, well, it tastes good and is good for you! As a child, I grew up on a fabulous mixture of malt, carob and brewer's yeast mixed with Milk called Tiger's Milk. Unfortunately the company now only makes snack bars, and I really miss that drink sometimes... But I digress.

In our home, we love to make things from scratch -- presents, foods, furniture, and yes: alcohol. My husband dreams of the day when I'll let him set up his own still. For now, he is limited to the softer stuff. I like my home, and I think a still needs to be far far away from it!

In the past we've made honey mead, dandelion wine, herbal ales (the biggest hit of those was a rosehip & lemongrass brewed with sugar, about 9 percent alcohol.), clone beers, elderbery wine and red grape wines. This spring I want to make an old-school, 1400's style ale with dandelion and nettles: cleansing your liver and kidneys while you drink!

My husband is Irish/Scottish, and a big fan of the beer. I'm an herbalist, and believe that if everyone switched from modern beers to drinking more of the old-style ales from the days before hops-style beers, they'd all be beter off. Someday, I can see us running a small brewery where we make ales like that... Hops are a relatively new introduction to beer that became quite popular b/c their bitterness helps preserve beer -- great for when beer was all you had to drink on long sea voyages where water wouldn't keep long. But hops are also chock-full of phyto-estrogens that are great for calming and for menopausal women, but not great for men: they don't need all that estrogen, and it puts a lot of extra weight around their abdomens. So, I do my part to try and brew an herbal ale with healing properties for every modern hops beer he brews. The rosehip beer I brewed had ginger in it, great for digestion, gas and metabolism, and the rosehips added a lot of vitamin C, calcium and pretty rosy color...

I'm not sure what we'll come back with this time, but you can bet there'll be some recipes and reports here on Monday. I'll also go and dig up that great rosehip recipe. In the meantime, we'll be at the brewing store and reading our favorite brewing book.

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