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Brief Published: 26 Jun 2013

Ancient Ingredients Fuel Brewery Innovation


Future-forward craft breweries are unearthing ancient ingredients from bog myrtle to nettles along with bygone recipes to conceive fresh flavour innovations that surprise and delight curious consumers.

Based in Delaware, iconic US craft brewery Dogfish Head has collaborated with Swedish brewery Nynäshamns Ångbryggeri to launch a sixth flavour iteration in its Ancient Ales series. This latest offer – called Kvasir in the US and Arketyp in Sweden – is a hybrid ale made using wheat, cranberries, birch syrup and honey. 

Clocking in at 10% ABV, the tipple was conceived using chemical and botanical elements found in liquid residue from a 3,500-year-old Danish drinking vessel made from birch bark. The vessel was discovered in an ancient tomb, along with the corpse of a female figure clad in leather.

"We're bringing back to life an innovation of our prehistoric ancestors at the most northerly limits of the planet,” said biomolecular archaeologist Patrick McGovern, who partnered with the breweries to create the drink.

Meanwhile, New Hampshire-based craft brewery Earth Eagle Brewings has released a gruit – an ancient blend of bitter yarrow (a flowering plant), wild rosemary, wild gale and bespoke spices – called Love Potion #9. Aligning itself with its historical alter ego, this new variation is packed with natural aphrodisiacs like the Amazonian rainforest plant muira puama, and African tree bark yohimbe. 

For more on the emergence of heritage-inspired food, see Stylus’ coverage of this year’s International Food and Drink Event in London. For more on the revival of traditional preservation methods, see Fermentation Moves Forward and Cask-Aged Liquor.

Dogfish Brewery

Earth Eagle Brewings