Classical Beer Review: Gregorius Trappistenbier

Gregorius is a relatively new addition to the Trappist beer scene. It is brewed since 2012 by the Engelszell Abbey in Austria. The beer is a Quad with added honey – also made by the monks. The honey is dominant in the nose, but upon drinking, you first get the taste of red fruits before…

Classical Beer Review: Pontus Nautilus

Ever since returning from the States in the beginning of October, I have found myself too busy to buy new Classically-themed beers (shame, shame, shame!). Thus, when I recently celebrated my 31st birthday I had to hit up my local beer store, Bierderij Waterland*, for a birthday beer haul (Thanks, Neal, for the birthday beer!). Nautilus,…

Heather Tasting

For the previous entries in our heather brewing trial, see: Heather in Ancient Sources Heather in Archaeology Heather SMASH(erb) Brew Day The heather ale began fermenting immediately and produced the strongest fermentation that I have witnessed from any of the beer experiments. The krausen nearly doubled the size of the original wort in less than…

Heather SMASH(erb) Beer

For the previous entries in our heather brewing trial, see: Heather in Ancient Sources Heather in Archaeology Heather is among the more common plants/herbs used in modern gruits and historic ales. Perhaps the most well-known of the commercial heather ales is made by Williams Brothers Brewing in Scotland. Their drink, Fraoch Heather Ale, includes bog…

Gizmo Brewing Trojan Horse

Recently, I galloped to Gizmo Brewing’s taproom and indulged in their Imperial Rye IPA: Trojan Horse. Trojan Horse has a medium mouthfeel and enough sweet malt to balance both the high ABV (9.7%) and hop presence. A bit of hidden rye spice comes through after the initial assault of bitterness fades to the background. The…

Heather in Archaeology

Heather in Ancient Literature. The archaeological evidence for ancient heather beers (or other fermented beverages) is minimal compared to that of meadowsweet. Heather has been widely used in gruits and ales in the past several centuries and, in folklore and myth, is often associated with Celtic drinking traditions. Buhner (1998: 25-35), for instance, devotes several pages…

HBW: Meadowsweet Beer Tasting

For the previous entries in our meadowsweet brewing trial, see: Meadowsweet in Ancient Sources Meadowsweet in Archaeology Meadowsweet SMASH(erb) Brew Day How did the meadowsweet beer turnout? FG: 1.011 ABV: ~3% Appearance: Pale straw-yellow, quite clear. Aroma: Caramel malt, floral, slight plastic. Mouthfeel: Dry. Taste:  The meadowsweet balances the sweetness of the malt quite well….

ERICA, Defined

Erica, ericae (f) – heather, broom (plant), ling, erica arborea erice, erices ἐϱ(ε)ίϰη, ἡ Erica is lends its name to the modern family plants, Ericacea. The plant(s) are not mentioned in ancient accounts of beers, but they are attested for this purpose in the archaeological record. Erica, however, is mentioned as a medical treatment and…

Heather in Antiquity (Ancient Sources)

This is another in our series of ancient adjuncts: HEATHER. Heather (Calluna vulgraris) is of the Ericacea family of plants, a family name derived from the ancient word for heather – erica. Today, we collect several ancient sources that mention heather to demonstrate the plant’s use in ancient Greece and Rome. Aeschylus, Agamemnon ll. 294-295 οἱ…

Classical Beer Review: Weyerbacher Heresy

I am thrilled to review a Weyerbacher beer. I have a soft-spot for Weyerbacher because I grew upin the same town and my family occasionally ate at their old brewpub when I was a child. Of course, I was too young to drink, but my father seemed to enjoy their brews. Later, when I came of…

Brewing a Meadowsweet SMASH(erb) Beer

It is brewday! (or, at least it was brewday last Sunday). After obtaining meadowsweet from an online herbal distributor and the base grains from the local homebrew shop, I brewed a quick beer, adding meadowsweet at the beginning of the boil. The process (see below) largely follows the previous experimental brews on this site. This…

Classical Beer Review: Gulpener Gladiator

A long, long time ago, I bought a bunch of Classically-themed beers for the blog in my local supermarket. I managed to review all of them (see here, here, and here) before I left home for the summer, save one: Gulpener Gladiator. Now that I am back, I found this can in the back of…