Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Gruit myself ...

Interestingly herbal, AND intoxicating
  [vote for,

'Gruit' ale is a catch-all term for beer brewed without the use of hops as a bittering agent. Bog myrtle, marsh rosemary, mugwort and a thousand other soggy-sounding (and mildly narcotic) herbs were used up until the mid-18th century, when hops became popular - in England, at least.

I'm lucky enough to live within 20 miles of an excellent local brewery. How much minty-fresh fun would it be if they would make my own custom brew using any old bag of herbs I chose to supply?

Sage beer, lavender beer, black pepper beer, bay beer ... all worth a try. Drop off herbs, wait three weeks, pick up herby tipple. Lovely.

My first, so please don't be gentle ...

bibliotaphist, Dec 13 2005

(??) Gruit Ale http://www.fortunec...rytap/555/gruit.htm
Techniques and recipes for brewing gruit ale at home [bibliotaphist, Dec 13 2005]

(???) Bye Bye Youngs http://www.wandswor...after_175_years.php
[po, Jun 09 2006]

Your father smelt of elderberries http://www.stochast...4c3afca87-241221869
[normzone, Sep 09 2015]


       There was a reason it lost interest - Its awful stuff. Its called beer because of the method used in brewing it but the taste is completely different. Ill stick to my pint of Bass.
miasere, Dec 13 2005

       have you actually tried to contact them and ask if this is possible?
po, Dec 13 2005

skinflaps, Dec 13 2005

       Ah... so this is a ye Olde idea. Despite the sheer volume of beer drunken by myself, I have to ask some basic questions...   

       i) At what stage do you add the bittering agent (0-100% of the way through)?
ii) What volume of beer would be feasible to add ingredients to? E.g. Would the brewery keep vats/kegs/barrels aside for would be herbal brewists and depending on the orders, choose fill them or continue with the main hops batch?
Jinbish, Dec 13 2005

       Wouldn't all this be much more expensive than just going down to the local bottleshop and buying 6-pack (or an 8-pack if you have company)?
Honduras, Dec 13 2005

       This sounds more like watery pot pouri than beer. :-(
coprocephalous, Dec 13 2005

       [po] - I haven't contacted my nearest providers of the frothy stuff (Bateman's, if you're interested) yet, but I damn well will now. Money and inconvenience should no object in the pursuit of a weird pint. Why should the alcopop drinkers have a monopoly on horrid-tasting booze?   

       [Jinbish] - I'm an absolute novice to beermaking (though I've churned out the odd bottle of beetroot wine in my time ... also rhubarb wine. Approximate pH: 1.6. Ow, my teeth and gums), so am a little sketchy on the details. I'd rather rely on the professionals to make my pint taste odd.   

       And [Jinbish] and [Honduras] - yes, it's expensive and impractical. I'd fully expect any brewer silly enough to take this idea seriously to charge a premium for it. Hang the expense! It's nearly Winterval! I'm thinking Leylandii-flavoured beer for me dad, complete with certificate of authenticity, personalised labels, delivery by genuine elves, etc.
bibliotaphist, Dec 13 2005

       ... or perhaps mistletoe-flavoured beer would be more appropriate. Mildly poisonous? Pah! Are we not men?!?
bibliotaphist, Dec 13 2005

       //Are we not men// No, we are bibo.
coprocephalous, Dec 13 2005

       When I used to brew I found that the microbiologist at the local microbrewery (The Flea and Firkin) was happy to give endless advice on brewing over a pint of Dog's Bollocks. I can guarantee that your local brewers will flatly refuse to let you experiment with their brewery, but it's still probably worth asking.
wagster, Dec 13 2005

       Agree. A bit like taking your game into the butchers; nonetheless, I hanker for a taste of the elm bark ale.
reensure, Dec 13 2005

       Yes the Bavarian purity law has stifled what could have been a modern beeraissance. Cheers, and welcome.   

       Well, lets see...   

       I've made experimental batches of:   

       Watermelon beer (tasteless)
Plum beer (tasted like Dr. Pepper)
Alfalfa beer (for my horses, they loved it)
Blueberry, peach, and cherry beers (Yummy!)
normzone, Dec 13 2005

       Went to Brussels last summer and they have all sorts of flavors....yum man. But dont get carried away I tell you. may taste like magic, but its carnage to try all the flavors (believe me)
shinobi, Dec 13 2005

       brussels beer? - oh please, I need a bucket.
po, Dec 13 2005

       Red Oblivion. It was the name of the band that I was in. Named after the Homebrew as well. Bitter with wine yeast, nutrient and quite possibly somethang else.
gnomethang, Dec 13 2005

       //Alfalfa beer (for my horses, they loved it)// ... I bet they did, the drunken foals. (Geddit?! FOALS!!? Ach, the working day ...)   

       Seriously, though, is it right to give beer to horses? Despite their evident taste for the stuff? Doesn't that lead to wonky ploughing, or falling over hedges?
bibliotaphist, Dec 14 2005

       //oh please, I need a bucket// You can drink from pint glasses like the rest of us [po]
coprocephalous, Dec 14 2005

       My horses were only allowed to drink under controlled conditions, non-active, and minimal doses. I couldn't see getting a thousand pounds of muscle and legs drunk.
normzone, Dec 14 2005

       It's quite normal to see horses supping pints of guinness at country pubs.   

       Nice idea, by the way. I live in Germany and am not surprised at all that they have strict laws and foot-thick books of regulations governing brewing. They have for everything else...   

       Funnily enough, given that all brewers use zackly the same ingredients, a lot of the beer is gorgeous, and some of it, you wouldn't even give to your horse.
squeak, Dec 14 2005

       I wouldn't even wash my car with Budweiser.
normzone, Dec 14 2005

       [normzone] - was your watermelon beer made of pure watermelon, or did you add bits of rind? Also curious how the alfalfa beer tasted to you.   

       I would worry about the oxalate in rhubarb or nettle beer. Hard on the kidneys, I would think. Or does one fist cook the herbs?
bungston, Dec 14 2005

       I used malt and watermelon fruit, no rind, but the flavor was not durable enough to survive the fermentation.   

       The horse beer tasted like molasses and lawn clippings...I made it extra strong.
normzone, Dec 14 2005

       Whiskey for my men and alfalfa beer for their horses ?
popbottle, Sep 03 2015

       It seems to me that as a nation that likes tea a lot, the English might prefer their herbs in teas, instead of in beers. But I suppose it depends on the ratio of tea-drinking to beer-drinking (since we know they like beer a lot, too).   

       In the case of herbs of unusual effects upon the mind, one might wonder about the degree to which the fermentation process might reduce the potency of those herbs. Tea could be a better choice, if mind-effects were desired.
Vernon, Sep 03 2015

       //It seems to me that as a nation that likes tea a lot, the English might prefer their herbs in teas, instead of in beers.//   

       Herbal teas are pretty big here already, actually. I looked at the website of a commercial tea-seller and they had the following herb flavours:
licorice, mint, ginger, fennel, camomile, nettle, dandelion, Echinacea[1]
plus some I wasn't sure counted as herbs:
rosehip, rhubarb.

       To give you some idea, there are 53 varieties in the category 'fruit and herbal tea' - many were combinations of the above, or one of the above with fruit or other ingredient(s). Okay, including a few fruit-only combinations.
That's just one popular brand. I expect my local supermarket stocks almost all (or perhaps all) of those.

       A quick trawl through the top google hits also found lemongrass, Yerba mate[2], heather, and increasingly wierd ones. The wikipedia entry on herbal tea has a list of 'major varieties' two and a half screens tall.   

       By coincidence I made cardamom tea a few days ago. I'm not sure a purist would approve of my method[3], but I did enjoy the result.   

       [1] I had to look this up. It's a group of daisy-like plants.
[2] A south-american shrub. No, me either.
[3] I didn't fist cook it, for one thing. (sorry, bungston.)
Loris, Sep 09 2015

       " Flavored " beers range from the terrible (artificial flavoring) to the possibly mediocre or excellent (sometimes with artificial, usually with natural flavoring).
normzone, Sep 10 2015

       Careful sampling of the local produce, out here in the colonies, proves that American brewers are not encumbered by upper limits when it comes to adding hops. There will be a brewery in Portland that's already tried every single herb. Or "urb" the poor misguided ones...
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2015

       //Cider is a good example of a medium strength alcoholic beverage free from hops//   

       Invented by the French though...
bs0u0155, Sep 10 2015


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