Herbal Beer, Ginger Bugs, and Embracing the Alewife
I’ve been using “wild” yeast from a ginger bug to get these fermenting, because it’s a very easy starter to keep on hand and it’s super active! I add about 3 Tablespoons ginger bug per liter of beer. A ginger bug is roughly equal parts fresh grated organic ginger, sugar and water. Each time you use some, you feed it the same thing. I keep mine in the fridge for weeks without feeding and it stays healthy and active! It’s a great starter for fermented beverages (sodas, beers... ginger beer!, etc). I haven’t really found it to impart any ginger flavor to the finished beverage, but I’m a ginger fan so wouldn’t mind if it did.
Looking forward to foraging fresh plants as they start emerging (yarrow, mugwort, lavender to name a few) for herbal beers!
Note: I was totally pleased to read in many sources that the brewing of beer in several traditional cultures was entrusted to the women. I wonder if it’s connected to the fact that many of these brews were made with medicinal herbs and were perhaps used as healing tonics? Needless to say, I’ve begun to embrace the term “alewife”