Cards on the table, I’m not much of a beer drinker and home-brewing conjures up an image of making beer in a rather complicated, slightly scientific process.
But reading Brew It Yourself I reallised that I could be missing a trick. It seems that home-brewing has moved on a lot since the 1970’s, it’s less intense, more fun, and there’s a much bigger repetoir of drinks to be made. Not only that, I’ve made elderflower cordial regularly and it looks like sparkling elderflower wine is only a hop, skip and a jump away from cordial.
Brew It Yourself, is wriitten by Richard Hood and Nick Moyle, who enthuse about using produce from their allotment, gardens and foraged from the wild, transforming it all into wonderful, alcoholic drinks.
Whilst It’s the sparkling drinks cocktails and liqueurs that attract me, this book covers the whole gamut of booze, beer, ale and lager, cider, wine and mead.
There are also recipes like Richs’ Hot Toddy Cider, where shop-bought cider can be used, handy for those of us that don’t have an apple-press to hand. There are over 75 home-growing brewing recipes, many of them don’t need lots of equipment or a serious science-geek attitude to make them work.
I’ve been intending to make sloe-gin for ages, but had difficulty finding any, the day after the book was delivered, I spotted some black-thorn bushes in the hedge-row near the river. I’ve walked this path many times with my dog, and I can see now how, according to Nick, you have to get your ‘eye in’ to spot fruits growing in the wild.
It turns out that sloe-gin is about the easiest drink to make, needing only sloes, sugar and a bottle of gin. Patience is needed as you wait the three months for it to be at it’s best, and this may not happen in this household, though I’ll try and hold off opening it for as long as I can.
Brew It Yourself is published by Nourish, ISBN: 978-1-84899-227-6
and since it’s that time of year, it would make a very nice christmas present.
Happy gardening and brewing
all photos: Jill Anderson