By Pascal Bauder
Primitive beers, country wines, herbal meads, natural sodas, and modre
The art of brewing doesn’t stop at the usual ingredients: barley, hops, yeast, and water. In fact, the origins of brewing involve a whole galaxy of wild and cultivated plants, fruits, berries, and other natural materials, which were once used to make a whole spectrum of creative, fermented drinks.
Now fermentation fans and home brewers can rediscover these “primitive” drinks and their unique flavors in The Wildcrafting Brewer. Wild-plant expert and forager Pascal Baudar’s first book, The New Wildcrafted Cuisine, opened up a whole new world of possibilities for readers wishing to explore and capture the flavors of their local terroir. The Wildcrafting Brewer does the same for fermented drinks. Baudar reveals both the underlying philosophy and the practical techniques for making your own delicious concoctions, from simple wild sodas, to non-grape-based “country wines,” to primitive herbal beers, meads, and traditional ethnic ferments like tiswin and kvass.
The book opens with a retrospective of plant-based brewing and ancient beers. The author then goes on to describe both hot and cold brewing methods and provides lots of interesting recipes; mugwort beer, horehound beer, and manzanita cider are just a few of the many drinks represented. Baudar is quick to point out that these recipes serve mainly as a touchstone for readers, who can then use the information and techniques he provides to create their own brews, using their own local ingredients.
The Wildcrafting Brewer will attract herbalists, foragers, natural-foodies, and chefs alike with the author’s playful and relaxed philosophy. Readers will find themselves surprised by how easy making your own natural drinks can be, and will be inspired, again, by the abundance of nature all around them.