Have You Ever Tried Spruce Beer?

published Jan 8, 2013
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My Christmas tree is, unfortunately, in its last days. But despite turning dry and brittle, it remains deliciously fragrant. I love that scent so much, but even I’m on the fence about spruce beer. Have you ever tried it?

According to The Salt, needles, shoots, light-green tips and inner bark of spruce trees can be used to brew evergreen-scented tea, soft drinks and beer—and have been for centuries! The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America notes that spruce beer was common among ancient Scandinavians and their Viking descendants, who drank the beer “for strength in battle, for fertility and to prevent scurvy on long sea voyages.”

The first known recipe for spruce beer can be traced to American Cookery: Or the Art of Dressing Viands, Fish, Poultry and Vegetables, by Amelia Simmons, published in 1796. But not one to let bygones be bygones, craft breweries are reviving the spruce beer, writes The Salt, and “blending it with ingredients like molasses to mellow the flavor and create that ‘Christmas tree in a glass’ sensation.

Have you ever tried spruce beer or made your own?

Related: Hops Fatigue: What’s Next for Craft Beer?