Brewing with Spices

shutterstock_27267175The art of brewing may be the oldest craft invented by humanity. In fact, many anthropologists believe that brewing predates agriculture, and may have been the original impetus for the development of permanent agrarian settlements.

Today, the standard formula for beer is malt, water, yeast and hops. In fact, the reinheitsgebot purity law of Germany forbids the use of any other ingredients in beer. However, this has not always been the case. Historically, brewers have utilized a variety of spices to enhance the flavor of their beers. Long before the use of hops became widespread, a blend of spices known as gruit was the primary means of flavoring beer. Often, the spices in gruit also acted as a preservative to protect the beer's flavor. There are many versions of gruit, each using a variety of spices. Many include esoteric herbs such as sweet gale and mugwort, as well as some more familiar spices, such as juniper berries, ginger, caraway seed, anise seed, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Although the use of gruit largely fell out of favor when hops became the norm, many craft and home brewers, as well as some historic breweries, still use gruit to create unusual and flavorful beers. Continue reading

The Most Delicious Season

Our Fall Display Table

Fall has always been my favorite season. There are so many wonderful things to appreciate about the fall. I love the colors of autumn, and the way falling leaves paint everything in a seasonal pallet. Fall is the season of corn mazes, hay rides, pumpkin patches and apple picking. My two favorite holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving, are in the fall (three if you count my birthday!). I even enjoy the crisp fall weather, and coming inside to warm up with some hot cider! But perhaps my favorite thing about fall is the food.

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