Updated: Jul 14
Along with the tangy vinegar joy of young spruce pickles, there can be the yeasty bubbly fun
of spruce beer. Harvesting the same parts of the evergreen as I mentioned in the pickle blog post, 2 to 3 healthy handfuls of spruce tips will make 16 cups of this tasty beverage.
This recipe is gleaned from the amazing content of the historical reenactors of Townsends.
They recommend using black spruce, but, never having seen one in my urban zone 3 growing area, I had to settle for green and blue spruce.
The recipe is simple, but takes some time to put together. The hardest part is waiting for the ferment to finish.
2-3 hearty handfuls of spruce tips
1 quart of maple syrup
16 cups of water
Half package of brewers beer yeast
jars or bottles
Gather your spruce tips from the variety of tree that you have available to you.
Wash them well.
Measure out the water into the stock pot and add the harvested spruce tips.
Bring the mixture to a boil and let simmer for 2 hours.
Strain the vegetable matter from the liquid with the sieve and slotted spoon.
Mix in the maple syrup.
Let cool to slightly warmer than room temperature and add in yeast, mixing till dissolved.
Pour the mixture into jars or bottles, cap and let sit for 2-3 days, leaving at least 1 inch of head space ta the top. Remember to burp the jars every day, or there may be an explosion, or leakage.
Refrigerate until consumed for a few weeks.
I liked the end result, but the spruce taste did not come through as strongly as I would have liked. It mainly had a yeasty, slightly maple tone. Never having had the pleasure of knowing a black spruce, I can only imagine that it has a stronger presence than the green or blue varieties. Still, I enjoyed the brewing process and had fun gathering the spruce tips, and it makes a nice dessert drink to go along with a slice of fruit pie. Give it a try!
Video Credit: Townsends YouTube video Frontier Beer : Colonial Army Rations: Beer Every Day! - Spruce Beer In Early America https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgLC_DRd2cg