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The art of brewing doesn't stop at the usual ingredients:: barley, hops, yeast, and water.  In fact, the origins of brewing involve a 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 hone brewers can rediscover these "primitive" drinks and their unique flavor in The Wildcrafting Brewer. Wild-plant expert and forager Pascal Baudar - named one of the 25 most influential tastemakers by Los Angeles Magazine - opened up a new world of possibilities for readers wishing to explore the flavors of their local terroir in his  acclaimed first book, The New Wildcrafted Cuisine. Now he is doing the same for fermented drinks in The Wildcrafting Brewer. Baudar reveals both the under-lying philosophy and the practical techniques for making your own delicious concoctions, from simple sodas to non-grape-based "country wines to primitive herbal beers, meads, and traditional ethnic ferments such as 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 techniques he provides to create their own brews, using their own local ingredients.

The Wildcrafting Brewer will attract natural foodies, foragers, herbalists, 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 by the abundance of nature all around them.




amazon.com

Author's website - urban outdoor skills
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pollinator
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Thanks for sharing!   This looks like a great book!   I haven't brewed beer yet but I've made Mead.   I got a little crazy on this last batch and stuffed a handful of mint and lemon balm in the primary fermentation.  It tastes a little like lemon jet fuel :-).   I didn't realize how powerful lemon balm would be. You can really experiment with flavors.  My local cider house is making a hard cider with beets that tastes really refreshing and has a beautiful pink hew.  I'm looking forward to having mature fruit and nut trees so I can really experiment.  Pretty much any edible is fair game.   Fermentation fascinates me!  

If you like this book you might want to check out Make Mead like a Viking.  The author makes mead with natural yeasts.  He literally puts his brew pot out in the garden.  


Cheers, Scott
 
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wow... this is exactly what I has been wanting to do... I have been thinking for a long time how to brew beverages without use of grains  (i love fruits, herbs, berries and honey) and, with natural yeasts... Do I need really to buy the book, or is there some kind soul out there who could just briefly tell how to find/use natural yeast...?
Thanks for any kind of input
 
Scott Foster
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Lana,  

You can get started without books but I suggest doing some research and finding one good book to invest in.  If you are making Mead for instance you want to have the best opportunity for success.  Honey equals either hard work or money spent.

Check out this vid to get a general idea of how mead is made this way.


 
Lana Weldon
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Thanks...! Love that bubbly, fizzy stuff, here in Germany, I can only find mead wine for sale, so I guess I'll do the mead myself. I actually want something more like a cider/beer, not a wine. Can't tolerate grains and hops, so... looking for "beers" based on other ingredients.
Heard about pumpkin beer (made in the US some hundreds years ago), and banana beer (made in Africa)...  
 
Lana Weldon
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Found this site from the US, a really cool brewery, making beers based on chestnuts or lentils for instance.

https://www.groundbreakerbrewing.com/our-gluten-free-beer-ingredients/
 
Lana Weldon
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Making Ugandan banana beer:
http://latitudeb.com/banana-beer-making-in-uganda/
 
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I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns.
After reading it from the library, I’m going too have to buy it.  It is just too full of options for making beer, wine and sodas from found and purchased local ingredients to take pictures of relevant pages or check it out every time I want to brew.  For Baudar, brewing seems to be an ongoing process.  I like the fact that he suggests ingredient ratios small enough to be brewed in quart jars (and larger batches as well.). He develops quite a relationship with his concoctions, assessing fermentation several times a day, tasting frequently and adding ingredients as needed.  These are not fix it and forget it projects.
There is an emphasis on safety, both in gathering and preparing.  I found his explanations of the science of fermentation clear and encouraging. His enthusiasm for really connecting with the local “terroir” , basically what grows where you are, got me thinking Beach Plums and Sumac.  I appreciated his examples from his home turf near Los Angeles, but really tired of how often he referenced ingredients I will never see.  He did add some references to the brews he made for a workshop in Vermont, but I would have vastly preferred more examples from other climates.  My reaction is no doubt influenced by my relative newness (not quite three years) to this ecosystem.
I found The Wildcrafting Brewer to be an inspiration, a jumping off point, useful after I have more thoroughly explored my own terroir.  Which is, of course, a very worthy goal.
 
pollinator
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If any of you ever make it to mckinleyville, ca there is a brewer called humboldt regeneration brewery & farm who specializes in this kind of brewing. It is fascinating to see the amazing breadth of flavors they put out, a whole universe of beer beyond what you typically see on the shelves. They made an amazing hopless root beer, and have made a number of beers bittered with local mushrooms. This looks like a great book and I hope this ethos spreads deeper into commercial brewing.
 
pollinator
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I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns. Is that allowed? I was going to give it 9, but then I couldn't think of a single way it could be improved.

It is exactly what it promises to be: a book about WILD brewing. It's not about how to make a good beer or a good wine, but about bringing together whatever you have around you and guiding the natural processes of fermentation to produce true terroir.

In the introduction he wrote that he began brewing as a way to preserve medicinals. I find this exciting because it blows the world of brewing wide open. I no longer look for just a pleasant flavor in a brew. I'm asking myself "what is this good for?"
(Sometimes the answer is still "nothing at all," but the process was fun.)

He gives recipes and they are great! But he emphasizes that they are meant only as examples; the reader is intended to riff off them. I have stuff fermenting in my kitchen constantly now.

The photography is beautiful and evocative.

Recipes for sodas are fantastic because it means that brewing is exciting for the whole family. In fact, many of my brews are enjoyed as sodas, and THEN as a fermented beverage--and then sometimes as vinegar, but that's not in the book.

If you want to make a traditional stout or a saison this is not where you're going to find it. BUT his principles for brewing help one understand the mechanics behind all beverage brewing.  Surprise is part of joy of his approach.

For wildcraft brewing I don't see why one would need any supplement to this book.
 
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:I give this book 10 out of 10 acorns. Is that allowed? I was going to give it 9, but then I couldn't think of a single way it could be improved.


Now I am thoroughly stoked. Last week I requested this book at the library. Tomorrow I'm picking it up.

Nathanael Szobody wrote:It's not about how to make a good beer or a good wine, but about bringing together whatever you have around you and guiding the natural processes of fermentation to produce true terroir.


I have great respect for this homebrew philosophy.

Story time: there were two old d'anjou pear trees on my parent's property when I was a kid.
Thankfully they are still there, along with my parents. Last year I made pear wine with them for the first time. Five gallons.
To my delight, brewing with what was around happened to result in quite a good wine.
 
Nathanael Szobody
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Bud Mino wrote:
Story time: there were two old d'anjou pear trees on my parent's property when I was a kid.
Thankfully they are still there, along with my parents. Last year I made pear wine with them for the first time. Five gallons.
To my delight, brewing with what was around happened to result in quite a good wine.



That's awsome! Wish I could taste it. Last year I had some pineapple rinds I was about the throw out. Instead I boiled them up and added sugar to taste. Then fermented. Then I stuck them in the shed and forgot about them until last week. It tastes something like a fortified wine and a bit rhumy--and the best part is my wife likes it!

One of the things I learned in this book is to cultivate wild yeast. Last month I got some pretty good yeast from papaya blossoms and made a grapefruit rind guiddem spice wine. (guiddem is a local fruit that pretty much no one anywhere else has ever heard of.) It was real interesting with the bitters from the grapefruit rind, but not something that you would drink too fast. It's vinegar now. Have to wait for salad dressing...
 
Bud Mino
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Nathanael Szobody wrote:Last year I had some pineapple rinds I was about the throw out. Instead I boiled them up and added sugar to taste. Then fermented. Then I stuck them in the shed and forgot about them until last week. It tastes something like a fortified wine and a bit rhumy--and the best part is my wife likes it!


That sounds delicious. Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits, but I have yet brew with it.
Although I have added pineapple to my kombucha during second fermentation with tasty results.

Nathanael Szobody wrote:One of the things I learned in this book is to cultivate wild yeast. Last month I got some pretty good yeast from papaya blossoms and made a grapefruit rind guiddem spice wine.


The more I learn about this book, the more interested I become.
How does guiddem taste? Sadly I am one of the people who has never heard of guiddem.

My most unique brew so far was butternut squash ale. I grew so much squash I had to get creative.
 
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I give this book 10/10 acorns. It covers everything you could want in a book about wild / primitive brewing. My partner and I have tried about 5 recipes (the recipes are more like guidelines - read the book to see what’s i mean) from the book so far, all have been variations on his recipes (after being inspired by the accompanying stories and history of brewing), and all have turned out wonderfully.

My daughter and I just started a mint and lemon balm soda using our abundant and out-of-control mint and herbs.

With a bit of gear (can be very simple, like large swing-top containers or even large mason jars), making these brews costs no more than a few dollars, and the results have been incredible.
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mint and lemon balm must
 
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