Herbs

Before the widespread use of hops, herbs were used to stabilize beer, to retard spoilage, to increase palatability and cover brewing failures, to imbue the beer with medicinal qualities, and finally to make beer “stronger” or even hallucinogenic. In Europe herbs had previously been collected, dried, ground, and often blended and traded as a mixture called gruit, (Gruit is the low-German word for herbs)  which was usually added to the kettle during wort boiling. Today, more and more craft brewers are returning to using herbs in order to develop unique flavor profiles.

There are many ways to define an herb. In the botanical sense, an “herb” is an herbaceous plant that lacks a woody stem and dies to the ground each winter. Another definition describes herbs as any plant or plant part that has historically been used for culinary or fragrance purposes. And a broad definition of an herb is defined as a “useful plant” but one has to wonder what is meant by useful.

Herbs can be classified as being either annual, perennial or biennial depending on whether they need to grow from seed each year or come back from overwintering crowns, roots, or bulbs. There are many herbs classified as tender perennials that are sold in parts of the country that do not allow them to overwinter successfully outdoors. These herbs are often grown in containers during the summer months and moved indoors before cold weather where they are overwintered in a sunny location of the home. Then next season they are moved back outdoors.

Herbs can also be classified as either robust or fine (mild) herbs. Robust herbs are full bodied, rich in flavor and are often used alone or mixed with a few other herbs. Robust herbs stand up to cooking and may be used in dishes that are roasted, braised or grilled. Herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, and garlic would be classified as robust.

Also Known As: Balsam Herb; Costmarie; Mace; Balsamita; Bible Leaf, Mint Geranium.
Parts Used: Leaves; Flowers
Alecost or Costmary, (Tanacetum balsamita), also called bible leaf, or ale cost, aromatic perennial herb of the aster family (Asteraceae) with yellow button-shaped flowers. Its bitter, slightly lemony leaves may be used fresh in salads and fresh or dried as a flavouring, particularly for meats, poultry, and English ale. The leaves of Alecost were said to have been pressed into the leaves of bibles where the fresh minty aroma helped keep the parishioners awake during long church sermons. It is likely it was a common cottage garden herb, perfect for a plant with such bright happy flowers.

Commercial Examples: Alecost  | Thornbridge Brewery; Costmary Berliner | Big Thorn Farm & Brewery; Costmary | Brunswick Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Archangel; European Angelica; Garden Angelica; Wild Parsnip; Holy Ghost; Wild Celery; Norwegian Angelica
Parts Used: From the hip to the head of the roots, leaves, and seeds.
Angelica is a member of the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae or carrot) family which includes anise, celery, cumin, fennel, dill and other plants characterized by feathery leaves, fluted stems and clusters of flowers that emerge from globular umbels. However, angelica strictly prefers moist environments and only produces leaves in the first year and greenish-white flowers in the second or third. This particular species imparts a more carrot-like flavor rather than the spicier taste associated with anise, fennel or dill. 

Commercial Examples: Gaspésie Sauvage | Brasserie Auval Brewing Co.;  Gouden Carolus Indulgence 2017 – Botanik | Brouwerij Het Anker; Botanicalia | Commonwealth Brewing Co.

Also Known AsCardoon; Wild Artichoke
Parts Used: Leaves & Stalks
The Artichoke Thistle or Cardoon, is a thistle in the sunflower (Asteraceae) family. It has a prickly, deeply cut, gray-green foliage with tall flower stalks that are topped with brilliant purple thistle-like flowers that bloom in the late summer. After flowering, cardoons die to the ground for a month-long rest before re-sprouting. In Europe, cardoon is still cultivated in France, Spain, and Italy. When harvesting cardoon leaf stalks, they need to be blanched first. Strangely, this is done by tying the plant into a bundle, wrapping with straw, and then mounded with soil and left for one month.

Commercial Examples: Saison de l’Ouvrier Cardosa | LoverBeer; Canipa | Birrificio Valscura; Orange Fuzz | Tired Hands Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Bishop’s Hat; Fairy Wings; Horny Goat Weed; Yin Yang Huo; Longspur
Parts Used: Leaves
Barrenwort or Epimedium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Berberidaceae. The majority of the species are endemic to China, with smaller numbers elsewhere in Asia, and a few in the Mediterranean region. Barrenwort is an unusual and rare herbaceous plant that loves to grow in the shade. Barrenwort produces lovely heart to lance shaped leaflets. These have attractive veining and come in bronzy pink before maturing to green. The flowers are delicate 4-petaled blooms that hang in racemes and come in a range of colors.

Commercial Examples: Horny Betty | Brauhaus Gusswerk; Alpha Male Ale | Heartland Brewery; Goats N’ Roses |Outlander Brewery

Also Known As: Common Basil; Greek Royal; Kiss-Me-Nicholas; Lemon Basil; Tulsi, Holy Basil
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
Today, basil is one of the most widely-used culinary herbs in the world. With so many culinary uses from basil pesto to homemade spaghetti sauce and savory desserts to fresh fruit salads, basil runs the gamut in the kitchen.  Basil is called by many names like sweet basil or even Thai basil, but all of its common names refer to the herb’s botanical name, Ocimum basilicum. Basil is a member of the large mint family, or Lamiaceae (mint family) family, along with other culinary herbs like rosemary, sage, and even lavender.

Commercial Examples: Speedway Stout – Thai | AleSmith Brewing Co.; Black Thai |Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; People Eater | Drekker Brewing Co. To Hell With Good Intentions | Pale Fire Brewing Co. Botanical Imperial IPA (Hop Kitchen) | New Belgium Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Laurel Leaves; Feuilles de Laurier; Bay Laurel; Grecian Laurel, Poet’s Laurel; Sweet Bay; Bay Tree, True Laurel, Laurel
Parts Used: Leaves
Bay is an evergreen shrub often referred to as a small tree of the Lauraceae family. It has shiny oval leaves, pointed, with dark green on top with a lighter underside. Flowers, which appear in clusters in the spring are yellow and are followed in female plants by small black or purple berries. Bay leaf (or Bay laurel) is native to Asia Minor and areas around the Mediterranean. Bay leaves add a woodsy background note, and provide bitterness. Bay leafs also have a significant aroma, and can also be used as a preservative. 

Commercial Examples: 13th Century Grut Bier | Dr. Fritz Briem; San Salvador Winter Black Lager | Ballast Point Brewing Co.; Saison Garni | The Bruery; Herbes De Hancock | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Also Known As: Oswego-Tea; Beebalm; Horse-Mint; Wildbergamot Horsemint; Mintleaf Beebalm; Purple Beebalm
Parts Used: Leaves & Flowers
Bergamot was identified in the sixteenth century by the Spanish medical botanist Nicolas de Monardes, whose name is used to identify this genus of plants. You can find several varieties of this tall perennial (monarda didyma), native to North America. The Oswego Indians of western New York dried and steeped the leaves into tea, and colonists drank it when English tea was politically incorrect. Wild Bergamot can be distinguished from other Monarda spp. by the color of the flowers – they are solid pink or lavender. 

Commercial Examples: Camden Gentleman’s Wit White Beer | Camden Town Brewery; UFO Twist | Harpoon Brewery; Pear And Bergamot Sour | Deschutes Brewery

Also Known As: Black Birch; Cherry Birch; Sweet Birch
Parts Used: Bark dried & powdered; Leaves
Birch is a broadleaf tree in the same family (Betulaceae) as hazel and alder. Because its bark is speckled with dark patches that resemble peering eyes, it has been dubbed the watchful tree of the North American landscape, although it’s actually native to Europe. The name is a very ancient one, probably derived from the Sanskrit bhurga, meaning “tree whose bark is written upon.” Birch bark easily peels from the tree, but is slow to decay.  The bark lends a camphor-like flavor to teas and other beverages.

Commercial Examples: Black Is Beautiful | Cloudwater Brew Co.; Viking Metal | Jester King Brewery; Bruery/Elysian/Stone La Citrueille Céleste de Citracado | Stone Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Holy Thistle
Parts Used: Roots; Young Stems
Blessed thistle is a plant in the aster family that is native to the Mediterranean region. The herb was widely cultivated in Medieval monastery gardens after King Charlemagne was visited by an angel. According to the legend, the king was instructed to fire an arrow into the air and whichever plant it came to rest upon was the one he should give to his soldiers who had the misfortune of contracting the plague. The thistle produces scorchingly bitter flowers sometimes used in beer, and especially known as an ingredient in the medieval ale Mumme.

Commercial Examples: Brunswick Mumme | Earth Eagle Brewings; Sedm Kulí | Pivovar Ferdinand; Blessed Thistle | Cairngorm Brewery Co.

Also Known As: Star Flower; Bugloss; Burrage; Bee Plant; Bee Bread; Borage Seed Oil; Ox’s Tongue
Parts Used: Leaves
Borage is a hardy and beautiful plant that is now naturalized throughout most of Europe. While the herb is frequently grown in home kitchen and ornamental gardens, it is also cultivated to encourage bee populations for exceptional honey. The bright blue, star-shaped flowers are added fresh to salads, punch and other beverages, and are candied or made into syrup. While borage attempts to hide its charms with fine bristles, the leaves and flowers when chopped have a refreshing cucumber-like flavor and delicate aroma.  

Commercial Examples: Borage Thistle Wheat | Scratch Brewing Co.; 13/14 Borage Saison / Borage Flower Pale | Propolis Brewing Co.; Borage | Tired Hands Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Bardana; Beggar’s Buttons; Burr Seed; Clot-Bur; Cockle Buttons; Cocklebur; Fox’s Clote; Great Burr; Happy Major; Hardock; Hareburr; Lappa; Love Leaves; Personata; Philanthropium; Thorny Burr
Parts Used: Dried Leaves; Root
Burdock is a member of the daisy and sunflower family, although its appearance immediately indicates its place in the thistle group of plants. The “dock” portion of its name speaks to the large, downy leaves of the plant, which are used fresh to make poultices or harvested and dried to make bitter teas and tonics. While the entire plant contains antioxidant compounds such as quercetin and inulin, they are concentrated in burdock roots collected from first year plants. The root is sweet, mild and earthy with a taste similar to artichoke.

Commercial Examples: Back To the Roots | Choice Bros Brewing Co.; Salvatrix | Crestone Brewing Co.; Marginalia | Right Proper; Golden Arrow |21st Amendment Brewery

Also Known As: (Varieties) Acapulco Gold; Bedrocan; Blue Dream; Charlotte’s Web; Skunk; Sour Diesel
Parts Used: Flower dried, or powdered
The word Cannabis is a taxonomic term referring to a genus of flowering plants that are members of the family Cannabaceae, which includes about 170 plant species. Cannabis is a psychoactive plant  whose dried flowers, and extracts and concentrates prepared from them, are popular for both medicinal and recreational reasons. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis.  Cannabis Sativa, compared to Cannabis indica, is more energetic, with thin leaves, a tall, gangly profile, and a more cerebral high. 

Commercial Examples: The Hemperor HPA | New Belgium; Hop Chronic | Flying Dog Brewing Co.; Hi-Fi Hops | Lagunitas

Also Known AsPin Heads; Camomile; Scented Mayweed; Stinking Mayweed; Pineapple Weed
Parts Used: Flower dried, or powdered
Chamomile is a gentle herb known throughout most of the world which has been used continually for many centuries. It is often ingested as a tea to calm the nervous system and the digestive tract, and is mild enough to be administered to babies with colic. Chamomile is soothing to irritated skin and membranes, and is often found in lotions and hair products. Other studies illuminate this plant’s potential to assist in healing wounds and soothing gastrointestinal conditions.

Commercial Examples: Sugar Plum | Cigar City Brewing Co.; Cuvee des Fleurs | Southampton Publick House; Ta Henket | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Also Known As: Anise Fern; Giant Chervil; Bracken; Sweet-Fern; Sweet-Cus; Sweet-Humlock; Sweets; Roman Plant; Shepherd’s Needle; British Myrrh
Parts Used: Leaves; Flowers
Chervil is annual herb of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). It is native to regions of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea and to western Asia. Chervil is cultivated in Europe for its lacy, decompound, aromatic leaves, which are used to flavor fish, salads, soups, eggs, meat dishes, and stuffings for poultry and fish. Chervil has a delicate aroma and a taste reminiscent of anise. The essential oil occurs in a duct accompanying each of the veins in the leaflets and rachis (the axis of the leaflets). In some parts of Europe, chervil root is eaten as a vegetable.

Commercial Examples: Infinite Limits / Herbes De Hancock | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Pteropod | Epic Ales, Syrtlingur | The Brothers Brewery

Also Known AsKasni; Succory; Witloof; Belgian Endive; Blue Dandelion
Parts Used: Dried Leaves; Root
Chicory is a larger relative of the dandelion. Its large taproot has been used as a coffee substitute for generations, especially when coffee was unavailable. It has been cultivated along the Nile in Egypt for thousands of years. Charlemagne listed it as one of the herbs he required be grown in his garden. It was brought to North America from Europe in the 18th century, and is now well established. Chicory can also be eaten as a food, and consumes as a beverage making it the number one coffee substitute. It is high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.

Commercial Examples: Speedway Stout (Café Du Monde) | AleSmith Brewing Co.; Marginalia | Right Proper Brewing CO.; Cochonne | Brasserie à Vapeur

Also Known As: Coriander Leaves; Chinese Parsley; Mexican Parsley; Feuille de Coriandre
Parts Used: Leaves
Cilantro is an herb from the fresh leaves of the coriander plant. This plant is a member of the parsley family (Apiaceae) In the U.K. and some other places, you will see cilantro called fresh coriander leaves. The leaves look much like flat-leaf parsley, growing on long, tender stems. The seeds of the plant are used to make coriander spice, which has a completely different flavor from cilantro. Fresh cilantro tastes pungent, bright, lemony, and a little peppery. To a certain percentage of the population, it tastes soapy. 

Commercial Examples: Soul Sacrifice | Aztec Brewing Co.; Positive Contact  | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Welcome To Scoville | Jailbreak Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Fever Tree; Peruvian Bark; Jesuit’s Bark; Kina-Kina; Écorce du Pérou; Écorce de Quinquina Rouge; Fieberrinde
Parts Used: Bark
The red bark from cinchona is usually removed from trees that are at least six years of age and then dried in the sun for grounding into a powder-like consistency. Quinine is also extracted from the bark and root. Originally used by indigenous Quechua people of Peru, to fight Malaria, you may know quinine better as one of the key ingredients of a gin and tonic.In the 1660s, the use of Cinchona bark became known in England and by the early 18th century, botanical expeditions were arranged in search of the most valuable Cinchona species for cultivation.

Commercial Examples: Black Is Beautiful | Cloudwater Brew Co. (African Cinchona); Cinchona | Coppertail Brewing Co.; Cinchona | Prism Brewing Co.

Also Known As:  Clary Wort; Muscatel Sage; Clear Eye; See Bright; Eyebright; Europe Sage
Parts Used: Leaves; Flowers; Stems; Seeds
Clary Sage native to the Mediterranean region; southern Europe, central Asia and northern Africa. U.S. Clary sage is a  biennial or short-lived herbaceous perennial in the Lamiaceae family. The plant produces showy purple blooms that attract pollinators. The flowers are used to flavor muscatel wine, the sprigs to bitter beer. Its herbal aroma can be nutty. German merchants added clary sage to Rhine wine to imitate a good Muscatel. Clary sage is also used to enhance bitterness in beer.

Commercial Examples: Nè+Nè- / Rex Grue | Birrificio Montegioco; Clary Sage – Single Varietal Series | Nectar Creek Mead; Clary Saison | Earth Eagle Brewings

Also Known AsCow Clover; Meadow Clover; Purple Clover; Red Clover; Trifolium
Parts Used: Blossoms; Leaves
Red clover, white clover, and other clovers are all members of the pea family that have been naturalized in many regions of the world. Both the blossoms and leaves add sweet, herbal notes to teas and beer. Environmental pressure on white clover south of the Mason-Dixon line causes it to produce cyanide when crushed, however, this reaction doesn’t occur in the same species when grown north of this line. Quickly cooking the white clover as soon as possible after harvesting destroys the enzymes responsible for cyanide production.

Commercial Examples: MaddAddamites NooBroo | Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.; Return of the Mumme | Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.; Sweet Clover Stout | Sratch Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Echinacea; Eastern Purple Coneflower; Hedge Coneflower, Black Sampson
Parts Used: Flowers; Leaves; Roots
Coneflower or Echinacea is easily found growing wild on Midwestern prairies and in open wooded areas, the colorful (not always purple) flowers are also popular in butterfly gardens. Both the flowers and leaves may also be used in brewing. Due to widespread harvesting, it is disappearing from the wild. It is easy to grow, which will reduce pressure that has resulted from foraging. Echinacea is one of the most popular garden flowers in the US and the world, especially since it’s loved by butterflies, bees, and seed-eating wild birds while deer and rabbits tend to avoid it!

Commercial Examples: Spirit Guide  | Boulder Beer; Echinacea Stout | Storm Brewing

Also Known AsKey Flower; Lady’s Keys; Firy Cups; Petty Mulleins; Crewel; Buckles; Butter Rose; Paigle; Mayflower
Parts Used: Flower
Primula veris, commonly called cowslip, is a clump-forming, herbaceous (sometimes semi-evergreen) perennial of the primrose family that is noted for its early to mid-spring bloom of showy, nodding, lemon yellow flowers. It is native to temperate areas of Europe and Asia. It has been introduced and has naturalized in eastern North America from Quebec and Ontario south to Michigan, New York and Connecticut. It is a well-known hedgerow plant in Europe. Cowslip’s scientific name, meaning ’the first little one of spring’, refers to the plant’s early flowering time.

Commercial Examples: Cowslip | Castle Rock Brewery

Also Known As: Mexican Damiana; Mexican Holly; Old Woman’s Broom; De Guerrero; Hierba De La Pastora; Pastorcita; Hierba Del Venado; Oreganillo; Mizibcoc; Turnera aphrodisiaca
Parts Used: Leaves
Damiana is a woody shrub with small green leaves and aromatic, yellow flowers. Its range extends from Southwest Texas to South America and east to the Caribbean. It belongs to the family Passifloraceae. Damiana is a relatively small, woody shrub bearing aromatic serrated leaves and produces small bright yellow aromatic flowers. The leaves can be used in tea blends, herbal smoking mixtures, infused into a sweet liquor, or macerated as damiana extract.

Commercial Examples: Aphrodite Ale | Cloud 9 Brewery; Hausbier: Solo Dolo | Flat Tail Brewing Co.; Hibiscus, Rose Hips And Damiana | Mead King; Cacao Damiana Mead | Hierophant Meadery & Apothecary

Also Known AsCommon Dandelion; Lion’s Tooth; Priest’s Crown; Pu Gong Ying; Swine’s Snout; Dent De Lion
Parts Used: All parts of the plant
Although any respectable yard service will treat these as weeds, some varieties are cultivated for consumption. Victorian gentry considered them a delicacy, consuming them in both salads and sandwiches. Brewers make use of all parts of the plant, including the flowers (also used in dandelion wine), the stems, and the roots, which are generally bitter. The calyx (the green “collar” around the base of the flower) is very bitter and is usually removed when using the flowers to make wine, tea, or jellies. Roasted roots can be used to make dandelion coffee.

Commercial Examples: Back To the Roots | Choice Bros Brewing Co.; Salvatrix | Crestone Brewing Co.; Marginalia | Right Proper Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Anethum Sowa; Anethi Herba; Dilly; Seed Dill; Madhura; Garden Dill; Dill Weed; Dill Seed; Meetinghouse Seeds
Parts Used: Plant; Seeds
Dill, a member of the Apiaceae family, typically grows to 3-5′ tall on stiff hollow stems clad with aromatic, lacy, delicate, blue-green leaves that are pinnately divided into fine, thread-like segments. Dill weed is an annual and sometimes perennial herb that is native to the Mediterranean region. Like many other members of the carrot family, dill is a tall plant that produces light green, feathery leaves, which become dill “weed” when dried. Dill has a mildly sweet flavor. The seed shares similar characteristics with its cousin, caraway seed, but is flat and milder in flavor.

Commercial Examples: On The Wings of Armageddon | DC Brau Brewing Co.; Small Victories | Nighthawk Brewery; Plants Vs. Barley | Parallel 49 Brewing Company

Also Known AsElderberry; Elderflower; European Elder; Black Elder; Ellhorn
Parts Used: Flowers; Berries
The elder plant is from the genus Sambucus with more than 2 dozen identified species around the world. A few elder species include: European elder (Sambucus nigra) – Mexican Elder (Sambucus mexicana) – European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) – Yellow Elder (Sambucus australasica) – Asian Dwarf Elder (Sambucus adnata). Elder flowers and berries have a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elder berries have also been used for making preserves, wines, winter cordials, and for adding flavor and color to other wines.

Commercial Examples: Vibrant P’Ocean |  Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Gruit (Lips of Faith) | New Belgium Brewing Co.: Isotope | Atom; Isotope | Doctor’s Orders Brewing Co.; Vuja De – Red Wine Barrel Aged | Cigar City Brewing Co.

Also Known As:  Cabwort; Elf Dock; Elfwort; Alant; Wild Sunflower; Horseheal; Horse-Elder; Velvet Dock; Marchalan; Yellow Starwort; Scabwort
Parts Used: Root (Helenii Radix)
Elecampane, frequently called wild sunflower, is a member of the aster family (Asteraceae) that is to native southern Europe and temperate Asia and introduced to China and the U.S.  The plant has a long history of use in England, where it was commonly grown in formal gardens. Before the root of the herb was in use, the flowers and stems were candied. Today, the herb is largely harvested for its roots, which are used to make teas, tinctures, tonics and syrups. Elecampane has a long history as a beer additive. 

Commercial Examples: Elecampane / Elecampane Stout / Elecampane Stein Beer (2021) | Scratch Brewing Co.;

Also Known AsJesuit’s Tea; Wormseed; Mexican Tea, Erva-De-Santa Maria;  Apasote; Chenopode; Feuilles A Vers; Paico; Jerusalem Tea
Parts Used: Leaves; Stems; Flowers
Epazote is a flowering plant found in Mexico, South America and Central America. Epazote is an aromatic herb; both the fresh leaves and tender stems are used in cooking. The epazote plant is a leafy annual or short-lived perennial plant that is dark green, long, slender, jagged leaves end in a point. The flowers are green and very small; they produce thousands of tiny seeds. The dried leaf is a common seasoning in Latin American cuisine, where it lends pungent flavor to soups, stews, chilis and frijoles de la olla.

Commercial Examples: Mexas Ranger | Mikkeller; Ermal’s Hibiscus, Lime And Epazote | Warped Wing Brewery; Epazote Saison | Kamala Brewing

Also Known As: Ribbon Gum; Shining Gum; Blue Gum Tree; Iron Bark; Australian Fever Tree; Tasmanian Blue Gum; Southern Blue Gum
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
Eucalyptus, one of the world’s tallest trees, is originally native to Australia and Tasmania and now cultivated in southern Europe, India, Africa and US in California. The leaves are covered with a blue-grey, waxy bloom which is the origin of the common name blue gum. Eucalyptus produces branches of alternating, oval-shaped, blue-green leaves. that are also highly aromatic owing to various volatile oils, such as cineol. There are many species of eucalyptus trees, but the most pleasant-smelling oil is produced by Eucalyptus globulus.

Commercial Examples: Tripel Eucos | De Grieze; Koala Fish Saison| Sailfish Brewing Co.; Mutiny Fleet Plank II 2012 | Heavy Seas Beer

Also Known AsSweet Gale; Candle Berry; Porst; Bog Myrtle; Myrica Gale
Parts Used: Branches; Leaves; Flowers; Nutcones
Historically, the most important application of gale was, however, the flavoring of beer. Beer brewing is an ancient art in Central and Western Europe; hop (Humulus lupulus), however, had but a small place in medieval beer brewing. Instead, brewers used a large number of aromatic plants, of which gale was one of the most efficient and also most cheap. The multitude of beer varieties culminated in Early Renaissance Britain. In those days, beer was flavored with a mixture of herbs and spices called gruit or grut, not only to alter the taste, but also to improve the durability.

URKontinent  | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Fraoch Heather Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Co.; Season of Epiphany | Jopen; Semper Ardens Bock | Carlsberg Group

Also Known As:  Yellow Gentian
Parts Used: Root
Gentian is an herb of the high pastures of the Alps and the Himalayas. The roots take 7 to 10 growing seasons to mature. The botanical name Gentiana is derived from Gentius, king of ancient Illyria (modern day Bosnia) (180-167 BCE), who discovered its therapeutic values, according to a history written by Pliny the Elder (ca. 23-79 BCE)  The slightly aromatic, very bitter roots once commonly used as a hop substitute. Clean, bitter flavor. Used in a German beer from Merseburg. Available as chunks of root or extract. Main ingredient in bitters such as Underberg.

Commercial Examples: Proceeds the Gentian – Tarocco | Antidoot – Wilde Fermenten; Gentiana | Kemker Kultuur (Brauerei J. Kemker); Orange Gentian Ale | Local Relic

Also Known AsRose Geranium; Pelargonium; Storksbills
Parts Used: Leaves; Stems; Flowers
Once considered a plant with considerable healing powers, used to treat wounds, fractures, cholera, and other diseases, geraniums are now grown on an industrial scale to produce essential oils used both in aromatherapy and to make perfume. Because there are more than 400 species, the odor compounds produced by garden varieties differ widely. The stems and leaves contain the essential oils that will produce subtle floral, rose-like, and citrus aromas.

Commercial Examples: Lemon Geranium Saison | Little Wolf; Géranium IPA | Microbrasserie G’Sundgo; Lemon Geranium Saison |  Little Wolf

Also Known As: Five-Fingers; Red Berry; American Ginseng; Chinese Ginseng; Korean Ginseng; Oriental Ginseng
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
There are actually three different herbs commonly called ginseng: Asian or Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), and Siberian “ginseng” (Eleutherococcus senticosus), the latter herb having many of the same effects as the first two even though it is in a different plant family. American ginseng is grown in the Eastern portion of North America, along the entire eastern seaboard, from Quebec to Florida. Unlike Asian ginseng, which has “warming” properties, American ginseng has “cooling” properties and is noted for its thirst quenching effects.

Commercial Examples: Bek Se Ju | Kooksoondang (국순당); Alpha Male Ale | Heartland Brewery; Ginseng Porter | Oregon Trail Brewery

Also Known AsCommon Heather; Hull Heather
Parts Used: Flowers (Erica Flos)
A low mound of handsome greenery topped by multiple spikes of colored flowers, heathers are native to Ireland, Scandinavia, Russia, and northern North America, but are especially synonymous with Scotland and its history and lore. The native Picts were renowned for their fierceness in battle and their heather ale, which was made without the addition of malt and hops, instead relying on the heather’s nectar for flavor and to help with the fermentation. Heather flowers are a traditional beer making ingredient and it is popularly used in parts of Europe and especially Ireland.

Commercial Examples: Fraoch Heather Ale | Williams Brothers Brewing Co.;  Dark Heather Saison (Lips of Faith) | New Belgium Brewing Co.; Viking Fraoch Scottish Sour | D9 Brewing Co.

Also Known As:  Roselle; Ambashthaki; Florida Cranberry; Flor De Jamaica; Sorrel
Parts Used: Flower (Hibiscus Flos)
There are over 220 species within the genus Hibiscus. Hibiscus plants grow in most tropical areas of the world, with a minority of species able to survive in freezing environments. The abundant species found in the tropics cannot tolerate more than a few days of freezing weather and will die if such conditions persist. Hibiscus flowers come in a magnificent variety of colors. Hibiscus species is also commonly called roselle in many parts of the world, known as sorrel in the Caribbean and as Flor de Jamaica in Mexico.

Commercial Examples: MaddAddamites NooBroo | Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.; Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.; Yummy Mummy | MONYO Brewing Co.

Also Known As:  Goat’s Leaf; Woodbine; Haskap Berry; Honeyberry;  Camerise
Parts Used: Dried flowers, harvested just before the bud opens
Lonicera japonica, also known as Japanese Honeysuckle, is a vigorous species of honeysuckle that is native to Asia. Although it is grown as an ornamental and fragrant ground cover in the United States, its propensity for escape and its ability to thrive in the poorest of conditions have made the plant an invasive species in much of the country, especially the eastern half of the country. In China, where the herb is known as ren dong teng, which means “winter enduring vine.”

Commercial Examples: Horti-Glory (Terra Locale Series) | Wicked Weed Brewing; Tabel Suckle | Tired Hands Brewing Co.; Mississippi Nectar | Lazy Magnolia Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Hoarhound; White Horehound; Common Horehound; Seed Of Hours; Bull’s Blood; Eye Of The Star
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
Horehound, sometimes called white horehound, is a member of the mint family that thrives in pastures and other wayside places all over Europe, Asia and parts of Africa. Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) is a flowering plant in the Lamiaceae (mint family) or Mint family. It is a gray-leaved herbaceous perennial plant, somewhat resembling mint in appearance. Its Latin name of Marrubium is said to be derived from Maria urbs, an ancient Italian town. Others believe the name derived from the Hebrew marrob which means “bitter juice”.

Commercial Examples: Gruit (Lips of Faith) | New Belgium Brewing Co.; Prisoners Dilemma | Off Color Brewing; Prapivo | Sibeeria

Also Known AsGarden Hyssop; Yssop; Hyssop Herb; Isopo; Ysopo
Parts Used: Dried Flowers
Hyssop has been used for millennia as a holy herb, consecrated for cleaning holy places. Its name comes from the Hebrew word adobe or ezob, which literally means holy herb. Hyssop is a small evergreen shrub in the mint family that produces flower stalks with lavender-colored blossoms. It’s a hardy, drought-resistant plant that tolerates the heat and dry terrain that is characteristic of the Middle East, where it originates. The herb is cultivated as a garden ornamental and is favored by beekeepers because it results in an aromatic honey. Hyssop leaf lends a mildly sweet, mint-like flavor.

Commercial Examples: Nostrum | Strange Fellows Brewing Co.; Uaterlo | Birra Hibu; Ostara: Hyssop | Revel Cider Co.

Also Known As: Agastache; Lavender Hyssop; Blue Giant Hyssop; Liquorice Mint; Korean Mint
Parts Used: Leaves
Anise hyssop is a perennial in the mint family that is native to much of the northern section of North America (northern Colorado to Wisconsin and in Canada from Ontario west to British Columbia). This fragrant herb it is not closely related to hyssop (Hyssopus spp.), a European plant traditionally used as a healing herb, and to anise (Pimpinella anisum), a completely different plant in the carrot family, although, like hyssop, it is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Anise hyssop bears leaves that look like mint and gorgeous spears of lavender or blue flowers.

Commercial Examples: Sour Anise Hyssop | Scratch Brewing Co.; BouQuet #4 – Anise Hyssop (Blue Wax) | Plan Bee Farm Brewery; Dark Saison with Fennel & Anise Hyssop | Field House Brewing Co.; Hyssop’s Fable | Lake Effect Brewing

Also Known As: Fleeceflower; Himalayan Fleece Vine; Billyweed; Monkeyweed; Monkey Fungus; Elephant Ears; Pea Shooters; Donkey Rhubarb; American Bamboo; Mexican Bamboo; Huzhang; Godzilla Weed
Parts Used: Flowers; Stems
Japanese Knotweed is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the knotweed and buckwheat family Polygonaceae. It is native to East Asia in Japan, China and Korea. In North America and Europe, the species has successfully established itself in numerous habitats, and is classified as a pest and invasive species in several countries. Japanese knotweed has hollow stems with distinct raised nodes that give it the appearance of bamboo, though it is not related. Japanese knotweed flowers are valued by some beekeepers and yields a monofloral honey, usually called bamboo honey. 

Commercial Examples: Cat Statue | Tired Hands; Foraged Japanese Knotweed | Strange Roots Experimental Ales; Knot Weed | Newfoundland Cider Co.

Also Known As:  Royal Jasmine; Italian Jasmine; Catalonian Jasmine; Poet’s Jasmine
Parts Used: Flowers (Jasmini flos)
There is a common misunderstanding in the herb market concerning dried Jasmine flowers, in that they impart very little fragrance. While most people would assume that the dried flowers are similar to the overpowering aroma of fresh flowers, this is simply not the case. The waxy exude on jasmine flowers which give it the scent we are all familiar with is incredibly volatile and will dissipate within days of being dried, and the result is a dried flower with only a hint of aroma still lingering.

Commercial Examples: Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.; Single Speed | 4 Hands Brewing Co.; Avatar Jasmine IPA | Elysian Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Japanese Arrowroot; Chinese Arrowroot; Gegen; Mile-a-minute-vine; Foot-a-day-vine; The vine that ate the South
Parts Used: Roots
Kudzu is a group of climbing, coiling, and trailing perennial vines in the genus Pueraria, in the pea family Fabaceae, subfamily, native to much of East Asia, Southeast Asia, and some Pacific Islands, but is now firmly planted in the southeastern United States to the point of becoming a serious nuisance weed. In fact, its aggressive growing habit has earned it the nickname of “the vine that ate the South” and “mile-a-minute vine.” In Asia kudzu is welcome in the kitchen as a thickening agent for soups, stews and sauces. Dried kudzu root is used to make teas, infusions and tinctures.

Commercial Examples: MaddAddamites NooBroo | Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.; Blueberry & Kudzu Blossom (Barn & Barrel Series) | Haw River Farmhouse Ales; Kudzu Muzik Gurl | Burnt Hickory Brewery

Also Known As: Common Lavender; English Lavender; Spike Lavender; Lavandin
Parts Used: Dried Flowers
Lavender is a member of the mint family and one of the most popular herbs in the world. In addition to outstanding beauty and fragrance, lavender is amazingly versatile in terms of practical uses. The whole dried flowers are added to teas, baked goods and alcoholic beverages. The buds are also used to make various soaps, perfumes, skin salves and other cosmetic preparations. Powdered lavender flowers are also used in cooking and in making cosmetics, especially where a smooth consistency is desired, such as body powder.

Commercial Examples: Fleur Fleurie / Infinite Limits | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Coquetier (w/ Lavender) / Hibernal Dichotomous (Batch #1) | Jester King Brewery. Cuvee des Fleurs | Southampton Publick House

Also Known As: Sweet Melissa; Honey Leaf Balm; Sweet Balm; Melissa; Bee Balm; Dropsywort; Honey Plant; Pimentary; Sweet Mary; Tea Balm
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
This member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) is found in abundance in mountainous regions of Europe and is now naturalized elsewhere. The common name for this herb stems from the word “balsam” in reference to its sweet aroma. Its genus name (Melissa), which means “bee” in Greek, alludes to the fact that bees flock to its flowers. Because the leaf of the plant has a very strong lemony odor and flavor, it is harvested as a salad herb and vegetable. Dried lemon balm herb is used in herbal tea blends and to flavor wines, vinegars, breads, sauces and most notably to enhance the flavor of fish.

Commercial Examples: Pinch Off the Dead Parts | Tired Hands Brewing Co.; Ruination IPA w/ Lemon Balm And Citra Hops | Stone Brewing; Melisa | Kabinet Brewery

Also Known As: Aloysia Triphylla; Lippia Citriodora; Lippia Triphylla; Verbena Citriodora; Verbena Triphylla; Lemon Verbena; Lemon Beebrush; Lemon Bee Bush; Vervain
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
Lemon verbena, also known as Herb Louisa, is a small, woody, perennial shrub native to Chile, Argentina and Peru. In cooler climates, the plant is widely grown as an annual garden ornamental. It’s shiny, pale-green, lance-shaped leaves not only provide visual interest but also release a mild lemon-like scent when bruised or brushed against. As such, dried lemon verbena leaf is harvested at the end of the growing season and dried for use in herbal tea blends, topical infusions, perfumes, potpourri mixes, other craft and cosmetic creations, and also used as seasoning for foods and beverages.

Commercial Examples: Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.; Steve’s Gruit | brewLAB; Ester The Farmhouse Maiden | Deschutes Brewery

Also Known As: Lemon Grass; Oil Grass; Tanglad; Sereh; Citronella; Fever Grass; Camel’s Hay; Barbed Wire Grass; Cochin Grass
Parts Used: Lower portion of the stalk
Lemongrass is a perennial grass that grows in clumps and produces long, slender stems. As a native and cultivated crop of northern India, lemongrass is a popular culinary herb in Asian cuisine and used to add lemony flavor to soups, stews, curries and vegetable and rice dishes. Lemongrass plants last three to four years and can be harvested every three to five months. The fresh stalks and leaves have a clean lemon like odor because they contain an essential oil, which is also present in lemon peel. 

Commercial Examples: Thai Thai | Oedipus Brewing; Dżonka Tomka | PiwotekaGinja Ninja  | Fierce Beer Co.; Namaste White | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Also Known As: Calendula; Holligold; Goldbloom; Golds; Mary Bud; Ruddes; Mary Gowles; Holigold; Marybud
Parts Used: Flowers; Leaves
The term marigold refers to a group of flowering plants in the aster family, one of which is the beautiful herb calendula. Also called pot marigold, calendula is native to southern Europe and naturalized elsewhere, including North America. This annual herb features light, green foliage and clusters of single or double yellow flowers. Calendula flowers are edible fresh or dried and lend a lovely color and light, fresh flavor to soups, teas and other beverages. Used to make a variety of cosmetics, such as soaps, shampoos and hair conditioners, lotions, creams and salves.

Commercial Examples: Cuvee des Fleurs | Southampton Publick House; Prapivo | Sibeeria; This Is: Calendula | The Seed: A Living Beer Project

Also Known As: Knotted Marjoram; Marjorana Hortensis; Sweet Marjoram; Marjoram; Majorana Majorana
Parts Used: Leaves; Petals
Marjoram is a herb in the mint family. It needs a hot climate to develop its full aroma, but it loses some of its flavor when it is dried. According to Greek myth, Aphrodite said that the smell of marjoram was the smell of impending good luck. Greeks also believed that if it was growing on a grave, it was a sign that the departed soul had found happiness. Throughout the middle ages it was worn by bridal couples to signify love, honor, and happiness. It was used in England for many years as an ingredient in snuff, then as a somewhat exotic flavoring for beer.

Commercial Examples: Infinite Limits / Herbes De Hancock | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Return of the Mumme | Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Mallards; Moorish Mallow; Sweet Weed; Wymote; Mortification Root; Cheeses; Althea; Schloss Tea; White Maoow; Hock Herb; Mauls
Parts Used: Leaves
Marshmallow is a perennial flowering plant originally native to Europe, where it is typically found along stream banks, salt marshes and other damp places. Also known as Mortification Koot and Schloss Tea, marshmallow leaf has a long history of use as a culinary herb and the root of the plant is the original source of the confection of the same name. Because the entire plant and especially the root contains a high degree of mucilage, the herb is often used to make syrup and throat lozenges.

Commercial Examples: Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.; Steve’s Gruit | brewLAB; Ester The Farmhouse Maiden | Deschutes Brewery

Also Known As: Bridewort; Dolloff; Meadow Wort; Queen of the Meadow; Lady of the Meadow; Pride of the Meadow; Meadow Queens; Meadsweet
Parts Used: Leaves
Meadowsweet is a perennial shrub in the rose family known by several other common names, including Lady of the Meadow, Queen of the Meadow, Bridewort and Meadsweet. The latter refers to the use of the almond-scented, creamy white flowers in the production of beer and a sweet honey wine commonly called mead. Meadowsweet was also a common strewing herb used to mask the unpleasant odors resulting from poor sanitary conditions. The leaves and flowers of meadowsweet are used in herbal tea blends and to make infusions, ointments and salves.

Commercial Examples: Isotope | AtomViking Fraoch Scottish Sour | D9 Brewing Co.; Isotope | Doctor’s Orders Brewing

Also Known As: Marian Thistle; Mediterranean Milk Thistle; Mary’s Thistle; Holy Thistle; Cardus Marianus; Blessed Milk Thistle; Mary Thistle, Saint Mary’s Thistle; Variegated Thistle, Scotch Thistle
Parts Used: Dried Leaves; Seeds
Milk thistle is a Mediterranean plant in the Asteraceae (daisy) family that is characterized by tufts of purple flower heads surrounded by a halo of protective thorns. Because the plant is associated with the Virgin Mary, who is reputed to have wept over the plant, it is also called Holy Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Mary Thistle and Lady’s Thistle. Milk thistle seed can be added to salads and other foods, but is most commonly used to produce teas, infusions, tinctures and extracts. The achenes (small, dry, one-seeded fruits) are black, with a simple long white pappus, surrounded by a yellow basal ring.

Commercial Examples: Back To the Roots | Choice Bros Brewing Co.; Cancellation Ale |Ground Breaker Brewing Co.; Hearth And Fire | Golden Age Meadery

Also Known As: Cronewort; Common Wormwood; Wild Wormwood; Felon Herb; St. John’s Plant; Chrysanthemum Weed; Sailor’s Tobacco; Moxa; Artemis Herb; Naughty Man; Old Man; Old Uncle Henry; Muggons; Cingulum Sancti Johannis
Parts Used: Leaves
Mugwort is a common plant in the British Isles; its angular, purple stalks growing more than three feet in height. It bears dark green leaves with cottony down undersides. Mugwort is said to have derived its name from having been used to flavor beer before the wide use of hops. The botanical name is derived from Artemisia, the Greek goddess of the hunt, fertility, and the forests and hills. Mugwort is a close relative of wormwood, which was once used as a beer-bittering herb, mostly in Central Europe.

Commercial Examples: Marginalia | Right Proper Brewing Co.; Return of the Mumme | Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.; Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Common or Garden Nasturtium; Indian Cress; Watercress; Monk’s Crest; Brunnenkress; Nose-Tweaker; Nose-Twister; Mexican, Indian, or Peruvian Cress
Parts Used:  Leaves
Nasturtium is a species of flowering plant in the family Tropaeolaceae, originating in the Andes from Bolivia north to Colombia. An easily grown annual or short-lived perennial with disc-shaped leaves and brilliant orange or red flowers, it is of cultivated, probably hybrid origin. It is not closely related to the genus Nasturtium (which includes watercress). Neither the leaves nor the flowers of this plant have much aroma, but both have an agreeably peppery, cress like taste—the flowers are slightly sweeter and more delicate. Flower buds and seeds can be pickled and used instead of capers.

Commercial Examples: Nocturnal Nasturtium | Platform Beer Co.; Rye Saison With Nasturtium | Penrose Brewing Co.; Feral King W/ nasturtium & grapefruit | Relic Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Stinging Nettle; Common Nettle; Devil’s Claw; Devil’s Plaything; Burn Nettle; Burn Hazel; Burn Weed
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
There are around 50 species of Urtica worldwide all members of the Urticaceae family. Urtica is derived from Latin verb urere, which means “to burn,” and is named such due to its stinging (urticate) hairs. The species name dioica comes from the botanical term dioecious meaning that a species has either male or female flowers. The species most commonly found in North America is U. dioica ssp. gracilis which has 6 varieties, 5 of which have trichomes (stinging hairs). The entire plant including the leaves, seeds, stalk, and roots, have a long history of use from food to textile fibers.

Commercial Examples: Forager |Mayne Island Brewing Co.;  Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.; Hearth And Fire | Golden Age Meadery

Also Known As: Wild Marjoram; Winter Sweet; Origanum; Wild European Oregano; Origany; Pizza Herb; Common Marjoram; Spanish Marjoram; Redbrush Lippia; Scented Lippia; Scented Matgrass
Parts Used: Dried Leaves
Oregano is a perennial member of the mint family that is native to the Mediterranean region, South America, Asia and Europe. The herb is widely used in Indian, Moroccan, Spanish, Mexican, Italian and Greek cuisines. Oregano is generally thought of as the standard pizza sauce seasoning, the flavor profile of the herb varies depending on species. The oregano featured so prominently in Italian cooking is actually Greek oregano, cultivated in Italy and Egypt. Mexican oregano, native to Mexico, Central and South America, lends a milder and slightly lemony flavor to foods.

Commercial Examples: It’s Pizza Time! | Stone Brewing; Stuffing Stout (Ghost 134) | Adroit Theory; Za’Tart | Boulevard Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Marguerite; Moon Daisy; Moonpenny; Poorland Flower; Whiteweed ; Common Daisy; Dog Daisy; Butter Daisy; Field Daisy; Horse Gowan; Maudlinwort
Parts Used: Flowers
The Oxeye Daisy, also called common daisy is a herbaceous perennial in the aster family (Asteraceae). Its original scientific name Chrysanthemum leucanthemum, meant “gold flower white flower” and its new name, Leucanthemum vulgare means “common white flower.” Although native to Europe, the ox-eye daisy is now naturalized in much of the world and is considered . It can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Its young leaves may be eaten in salads. When fresh its smells earthy and musk-like, an aroma preserved in beer by adding the flowers post-boil.

Commercial Examples:  Ox-eye Daisy | Scratch Brewing Co.;  Oh Daisy, You Are Wilder Than My Hops! | In Peccatum Craft Beer

Also Known As: Common Parsley; Garden Parsley; Dutch Parsley; Italian Parsley; Hamburg Parsley
Parts Used:  Leaves
Parsley is one of the most widely used culinary herbs in the world, with over 30 varieties, and can also classified as a vegetable and spice. Like many of its cousins in the carrot (Apiaceae) family of plants, parsley is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Parsley is an . It has a vegetable aroma and flavor. Three common varieties of this popular, bright green biennial: the parsnip rooted Hamburg Parsley,  the curly leaf parsley, and , and the flat leaf which is also known as Italian parsley. The latter has the stronger taste and is best for cooking.

Commercial Examples: Saison Garni | The Bruery; Scarborough Fair | Brewery Terra Firma; Saison du BUFF | Victory Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Mentha Balsamea; Brandy Mint; English Mint
Parts Used: Leaves
Peppermint is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) that is widely distributed throughout Europe, North America and just about everywhere else. It is not a standard, naturally occurring mint, however, but a cross hybrid between spearmint and water mint. The oil of peppermint offers its cool, refreshing flavor and unmistakable aroma to a wide variety of foods and beverages. It is a common ingredient for candies, toothpastes, ice creams, pies and other desserts. The peppermint leaf itself is muddled and added to cocktails and is a popular ingredient in herbal teas when dried.

Commercial Examples: Esthajnal ’16 | Szent András Sörfőzde; Satan’s Bake Sale | Spring House Brewing Co.; Sandy Claws |  Avery Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Wild Chamomile; False Chamomile; Disc Mayweed; Rayless Mayweed
Parts Used: Flower
The plant is native to most of the United States, it belongs to the Aster family (Asteraceae). Confusingly, pineapple weed is also known as wild chamomile or false chamomile because it is a good substitute both flavor-wise if chamomile is not available. However it is not the same as the ‘true’ chamomile. When crushed the flowers smell both of sweet pineapple and chamomile. The flowers are edible, but will become bitter when the plant blooms. Pineapple weed tea smells much like chamomile tea, but when used like a dry hop the weed will retain more of its pineapple character in beer.

Commercial Examples: Pineapple Weed Grisette | Driftwood Spars Brewery; Table Beer With Pineapple Weed | Futtle; Gooseberry And Pineapple Weed Sour | Little Earth Project

Also Known As: Amargo, Bitter-ash, Bitterwood; Hombre Grande; Pau-Tenente; Couach; Jamaican  Bark; Lignum; Picrasma; Ruda; Simaruba; Surinam Wood
Parts Used: Bark
Quassia is a small, shrubby tree native to the West Indies and is a member of the Simaroubaceae family. Its species name, amara, is derived from the Spanish word amargo, which means “bitter.” The name fits since the bark of the tree contains quassin, a substance 50 times more bitter than quinine. In fact, it’s the bitterest naturally-occurring chemical known to exist. Although quassia bark is an ingredient in herbal bitters in moderate amounts, the presence of this highly bitter phytochemical makes infusions made with this herb very effective natural insecticides.

Commercial Examples: Triple Magnum Super Bittér Quassia Ale | Bierzauberei;  Known Gnome | Off Color Brewing

Also Known As: Wild Carrot; Bird’s Nest; Bishop’s Lace; Bishop’s Flower
Parts Used: Flowers; Roots; Leaves; Seeds
Queen Anne’s Lace, a member of the parsnip family, is the wild progenitor of the cultivated carrot. It’s native across much of southern Europe and central Asia but has spread throughout all regions of the United States and Canada. It’s most at home along roadways that are periodically mown to keep down really tall vegetation, but it’s never a serious lawn weed because it can’t tolerate close mowing. It has a flat white blossom with a red spot in the middle, hairy stems and stalk, and the white root that smells like carrot. As the blossom ages it folds up looking like a bird’s nest.

Commercial Examples: Barrel-aged Queen Anne’s Lace | Scratch Brewing Co.; Province Ale Co Wild Carrot Seed Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Hof Ten Dormaal (Lips of Faith) | New Belgium Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Dog Rose; Bird Briar; Briar Rose; Buckieberries; Canker; Canker Flower; Canker Rose; Cankerberry; Cat Whin; Choop Tree; Common Brier; Dog Briar; Dog Brier; Hep Briar; Hep Rose; Hep Tree; Wild Rose
Parts Used: Buds
The dog rose is a climbing variety of wild rose found throughout Eurasia and western Africa. Like its botanical cousins, the plant bursts into bloom in summer. In contrast, however, the delicate white, pink or red blossoms are void of any detectable scent. Regardless, the flowers are edible and used fresh in salads and soups or as garnishment for cakes and other baked goods. Dried rose petals are added to herbal tea blends and are used to make infusions for use in salves, ointments and lotions. See also rose (hips).

Commercial Examples: Forager |Mayne Island Brewing Co.; Ze Flaoueur Blène | Le Trou du Diable;  Son Of A Witch (Mumms Ale) | Bacchus Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Dog Rose; Bird Briar; Briar Rose; Buckieberries; Canker; Canker Flower; Canker Rose; Cankerberry; Cat Whin; Choop Tree; Common Brier; Dog Briar; Dog Brier; Hep Briar; Hep Rose; Hep Tree; Wild Rose
Parts Used: Hips
Rosa canina, is a climbing wild rose species of the Rosaceae family that spreads so quickly that it’s happily invasive in some parts of the world. Rose hips, technically known as haws, are the immature fruits of the common rose bush. Like rose petals, rose hips are a popular ingredient in tea blends and in potpourri mixes. Whole rose hips can also be made into a tart but sweet jam, either alone or in combination with elderberry or other botanicals. Powdered rose hips are used to make various topical preparations, as well as natural body powders and other cosmetics. See also rose (buds).

Commercial Examples: It’s The End of the Wort As We Know It |  Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Forager |Mayne Island Brewing Co.; MaddAddamites NooBroo Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Polar Plant, Compass-weed, Compass Plant, Rosmarinus Coronarium; Marsh Rosemary
Parts Used: Leaves
Rosemary is a small shrub-like plant in the mint family that is native to the Mediterranean and now widely cultivated in temperate regions throughout the world. The pine-like leaves of the herb are highly fragrant due to the presence of carnosol, rosmarinic acid and other active compounds. Because these compounds are such potent antioxidants, the oleoresin extract of rosemary is used as a preservative to prevent rancidity in other oils and in cosmetic preparations. The dried leaf is a popular culinary herb used to flavor roasted meats, vegetables, soups, sauces and breads.

Commercial Examples: 13th Century Grut Bier | Dr. Fritz Briem; Hibernal Dichotomous (Batch #1) | Jester King Brewery; Rosemary Saison | Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

Also Known As: Garden Sage; Common Sage; Golden Sage; Kitchen Sage; True Sage; Culinary Sage; Dalmatian Sage; Broadleaf Sage
Parts Used: Leaves
Sage (Salvia) are part of a large genus of plants the mint family (Lamiaceae), that includes more than 1,000 species, many of which carry the common name sage. The cultivars of sage differ in leaf size, plant habit and leaf color, including: Blue Sage (S. clevelandii), Silver Sage (S. argentea); Scarlet Sage (S. spendens); Mealycup or Victoria Sage (S. farinacea); Texas Sage (S. coccinea); Woodland Sage (S. nemerosa); Autumn Sage (S. greggii); Wood Sage (S. x sylvestris); Pineapple Sage (S. elegans); Mexican Bush Sage (S. leucantha); Diviner’s Sage (S. divinorum); Black Sage (S. Discolor); White Sage (S. apiana); Meadow Sage (S. pratensis); and California Sage (S. columbariae).

Commercial Examples: Botanical Imperial IPA (Hop Kitchen) | New Belgium Brewing Co.; San Salvador Winter Black Lager | Ballast Point Brewing Co.; Stone Mixtape Ale vol.1 – GK & LU’s Blend |Stone Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Basin Sagebrush; Common Sagebrush; Wormwood; Blue Sagebrush; Chamiso Hediondo; Toothed Sagebrush; Taos Sage; Big Sagebrush; Purple Sage; Great Basin
Parts Used: Leaves
Sagebrush is the common name of several woody and herbaceous species of plants in the genus Artemisia and a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae). The shrub grows in arid and semi-arid conditions, throughout a range of cold desert, steppe, and mountain habitats in the Intermountain West of North America. Big Sagebrush and other Artemisia shrubs are the dominant plant species across large portions of the Great Basin. The range extends northward through British Columbia’s southern interior, south into Baja California, and east into the western Great Plains of New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.

Commercial Examples: The Gleaner | Societe Brewing Co.; Coast To Crest Trail Ale | Pizza Port Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Liseron Epineux; Liseron Piquant; Salsaparilha; Zarzaparrilla; Khao Yern; Jupicanga; Catbriers; Greenbriers; Prickly-ivys;  Smilaxes
Parts Used: Root
This plant is a member of the lily family (Liliaceae) and comprises about 350 species worldwide. Sarsaparillas grow well in warm and tropical regions, especially Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, and parts of the United States, Southeast Asia and Australia. The main species are under the botanical name Smilax. Additionally Sarsaparilla varieties are commonly named after the country of origin such as: Mexico (S.aristolochiifolia); Honduras (S. officinalis) Jamaica (S. ornata); Mediterranean (S. aspera); China (S. glabra); and Australia (S. glyciphylla).

Commercial Examples: Nostrum | Strange Fellows Brewing Co.; Faeriessence | Valley Cider Co. Sarsaparilla Six | Dark Horse Brewing Co.; Sarsaparilla Otis | Sixpoint Brewery

Also Known As: Anantamul; False Sarsaparilla; Anant Mool; Krishna Powder; Naruneendi; Nannari
Parts Used: Roots
Indian sarsaparilla, otherwise known as Hemidesmus indicus, is a species of plant in the Dogbane family (Apocynaceae). This sometimes prostrate and sometimes semi-erect shrub is slender, twining, and laticiferous. Its aromatic roots are woody and produce the stem which is numerous, slender, terete, and thickened at the nodes. Hemidesmus indicus occurs over the greater part of India, from the upper Gangetic plain eastwards to Assam and in some places in central, western and South India. The root is used as a substitute for sarsaparilla (of the tropical species of Smilax).

Commercial Examples:Wildroot Sarsaparilla Ale | Arbor Brewing Company India; Peg Leg W/Indian Sarsaparilla | Heavy Seas Beer; Blitzkrieg Bock With Indian Sarsaparilla | Strangeways Brewing

Also Known As: Silky Sassafras; White Sassafras; Cinnamon Wood; Ague Tree; Saloip; Saxifrax
Parts Used: Leaves
This North American species of sassafras provides spectacular fall color for east coast residents of Canada and the U.S., as well as food and lodging for various birds and the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. Up until the mid-1970s, the shoot and roots of this tree were used to flavor root beer soft drinks, but has since been banned in the U.S. because its main constituent, safrole, was found to be carcinogenic. The dried leaf, however, is safely and deliciously used in Creole and Cajun cooking as a component of file and gumbo seasoning blends. Sassafras root bark is also used to flavor beverages.

Commercial Examples: Ten | Surly Brewing Co.; Armadillo Trousers | Fonta Flora Brewery; Bo & Luke (Sassafras & Radish) | Against the Grain Brewery

Also Known As: Annual Savory; Bonenkruid; Bohnenkraut; Sarriette des Jardins; Ajedrea de Jardin
Parts Used: Leaves
Summer savory is an annual member of the mint family (Lamiaceae) that is native to the Mediterranean region. The leaf of this bushy, almost shrub-like herb has similar spicy flavor characteristics as perennial winter savory but is a bit milder and slightly sweeter. In fact, the flavor profile of summer savory has been compared to that of thyme. Savory is a culinary companion to most vegetables and, in particular, to all kinds of beans. The herb is also used to season soups, stews, savory pies, eggs, stuffing and bread puddings, beef, poultry, fish and game meats. .

Commercial Examples: La Cervoise de Bibracte Gilara | Les Brasseurs du Sornin; Uaterlo | Birra Hibu; Arcadium Gruit | Von Seitz TheoreticAles

Also Known As: Peverella Grass; Pepper Grass; Bergbonenkruid; Pfefferkraut
Parts Used: Leaves
A perennial in the Lamiaceae family, Satureja montana is slightly more bitter and stronger in flavor than its close cousin, summer savory. Native to the Mediterranean, winter savory grows in warm and temperate climates and makes a wonderful addition to herb gardens. The dried herb goes especially well with hardier dishes such as beans, proteins, and stews. A lovely aromatic, winter savory has also traditionally been enjoyed as an infusion. Whether used for its medicinal properties or to flavor food, winter savory has been around since before the days of the Romans. 

Commercial Examples: Kotromanićevo Domaće Pivo Gruit | Pivara Oldbridž

Also Known As: Field Sorrel; Sour Grass; Sour Weed;Garden Sorrel; Wild Sorrel; Little Vinegar
Parts Used: Leaves
Sheep’s sorrel, also known as field sorrel and sour weed, is a weedy perennial plant that inhabits pastures and meadows, often to the point of invasiveness. It is distinguished from other sorrels, like garden sorrel or French sorrel, from its smaller size and reddish tint the foliage takes on in late summer. The herb has a long history of use in Europe as a vegetable and salad green. The lemony, tart flavor of the leaf is enjoyed in tea blends and as a seasoning in soups, stews and other cooked foods. Sheep’s sorrel is also a traditional curdling agent that is still used by artisan cheese makers.

Commercial Examples: Marginalia | Right Proper Brewing Co.; 1312 Herbst Gruit | Spent Brewers Collective; Belikin Sorrel Stout | Belize Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Mint; Brown Mint; Garden Mint; Our Lady’s Mint; Sage Of Bethlehem; Menthol Mint; Silver Mint; Spiremint
Parts Used: Leaves
Spearmint is a species of mint that grows throughout North America, Europe, Africa and parts of Asia. Like most mints, spearmint has a variety of culinary and practical uses. The leaf, fresh or dried, is used to flavor beverages, most notably the mint julep cocktail and the sweet tea enjoyed in summer in the southern U.S. Spearmint is also tinctured and used to make a flavoring extract for baked goods and beverages. The dried leaf is also a common ingredient in tea blends and is used to season foods, especially Middle Eastern dishes.

Commercial Examples: Speedway Stout (Spearmint) | AleSmith Brewing Co.; Hibernal Dichotomous (Batch #1) | Jester King Brewery; Magic #7 – Pineapple and Fresh Spearmint Wit | Omnipollo

Also Known As: Northern Spicebush; Wild Allspice; Benjamin Bush; Benzoin
Parts Used: Berries; Leaves
Lindera benzoin, commonly called spicebush, is a Missouri native attractive, deciduous member of the Laurel family. It has a compact, rounded form and seldom grows taller than 12 feet. In early spring, before the emergence of foliage, the bare stems produce clusters of small, yellow fragrant flowers. In summer, the shrub will produce attractive, glossy, red, fragrant berries. The thick, green leaves are aromatic when crushed and turn attractive shades of yellow in fall. The female plants produce fragrant yellow flowers in early spring, followed by small, bright-red oval fruit in autumn.

Commercial Examples: Forager |Mayne Island Brewing Co.; Marginalia | Right Proper Brewing Co.; Rye Spicebush Saison | Scratch Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Balm Of Gilead Fir; Balsam Fir; Canada Balsam; Fir Tree; Hemlock Spruce; Norway Pine; Norway Spruce; Spruce Fir; Pinus
Parts Used: Young green growth (Tips)
Spruce is a coniferous evergreen tree in the pine family (Pinaceae). There are dozens of Spruce species in the Picea genus, all of which are edible and may be prepared in a similar manner, although each species of spruce tip taste a little different. Each spring the trees grow new buds at the tips of their branches that eventually harden, developing into mature needles. Spruce tips are used to add a fresh citrus note to beer. Colonial brewers used spruce tips as a substitute for hops, and later Captain James Cook made a molasses-based beer with spruce that was intended to combat scurvy. 

Commercial Examples: Pennsylvania Tuxedo | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Norsk Høst 2016 | Nøgne Ø; Forager |Mayne Island Brewing Co.; 2007 Imperial Spruce India Pilsner | Short’s Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Hardhay; Goatweed; Klamath Weed; Tipton Weed; Saint John’s Word; Rosin Rose; Chase-Devil; Perforate St John’s Wort
Parts Used: Leaves
St. John’s wort is a perennial, meadow plant. Originally native to Europe it now grows in many temperate zones around the world. It is so-named because of its propensity to bloom on or near June 24th, or St. John’s Day. Hypericum, means “above” and “picture,” reflecting its historical use of being hung over a home’s entry door to deter malevolent spirits. St John’s wort has a myriad of traditional and modern uses. It produces a deep red dye when extracted in alcohol, the shade modifiable with different mordants. The dried leaf is used to produce teas, tinctures, extracts, and infused oils.

Commercial Examples: St. John’s Wort Ale | Scratch Brewing Co.; Chicory Stout |Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; St. John’s Wort | Castle Rock Brewery

Also Known As: French Tarragon; Little Dragon; mugwort, Herbe au Dragon
Parts Used: Leaves
Tarragon, more specifically referred to as French tarragon to distinguish it from its Russian or Spanish counterparts, is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae) found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The leaf is a popular culinary herb, most notably in French cuisine where it is paired with poultry and fish and used to season sauces, such as the classic Béarnaise. While the fresh leaf is used to flavor beverages and vinegar, the dried herb lends a mild anise-like flavor tofines herbes and other seasoning blends.

Commercial Examples: Saison Garni | The Bruery; Braindance | Reketye Brewing Co.; He Said (Belgian-Style Tripel) | 21st Amendment Brewery

Also Known As: Garden Thyme; Red Thyme; French Thyme
Parts Used: Leaves
Thyme is a perennial, woody herb that is original to the Mediterranean region and cultivated as an annual culinary herb in many places in the world. In the garden, this member of the mint family delights with its delicate and fragrant spreading foliage as a container plant or as a natural ground cover. The mild pepper-like flavor of thyme pairs beautifully with sharp and tangy cheeses, potatoes, rice and eggs. Thyme is also used to produce topical skin care formulations, as well as natural dental products. In combination with other herbs and flowers, thyme adds an unexpected flavor to tea blends.

Commercial Examples: Saison Garni | The Bruery; Infinite Limits /  Herbes De Hancock | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Savory Fathom | Ballast Point Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Common Valerian; Belgian Valerian; All Heal; Fragrant Valerian; Garden Valerian; Indian Valerian; Garden Heliotrope
Parts Used: Root
Valerian officinalis, is a herbaceous perennial of the Valerianaceae family. Valerian is a perennial plant, native to Europe and parts of Asia. It grows in meadows and woodlands within moist, temperate climates and has since been naturalized in North America. The flowers have a sweet, pleasant scent, in distinct contrast to the roots of the plant. The root system consists of a vertical rhizome and an abundance of smaller rootlets which are harvested and dried.

Commercial Examples: Aifur – Husets Mjöd | Spółdzielnia Pszczelarska Apis

Also Known As: Common Hedgenettle; Bishop’s-Wort; Purple Betony, Bishopwort; Lousewort; Purple Betony; Betoine; Betonie
Parts Used: Leaves; Stems
Wood betony herb is a tall, flowering perennial in the mint family (Lamiaceae) commonly found in open meadows and pastures in western Asia, North Africa and most of Europe. At one time, it was so highly valued by Italian herbalists in making wood betony tea, that advice to “sell your coat and buy betony” was often heard, in Spain it was a complement of the highest order to be described as “he has as many virtues as betony.” Typically the dried herb is used to make teas and tinctures. Wood betony is also used to make a strong infusion for use as natural mouthwash and gargle.

Commercial Examples: Brunswick Mumme | Earth Eagle Brewings

Also Known As: Waldmeister; Sweet-Scented Bedstraw
Parts Used: Leaves
Woodruff, any of various species of plants of a genus (Asperula) belonging to the madder family, Rubiaceae. The woodruff is found growing wild in woods and shady places in many countries of Europe, and its leaves are used as herbs. The genus Asperula includes annuals and perennials, usually with square stems.  Closely related to henna, the plant has a slightly bitter taste and no aroma. In contrast, when wilted or crushed, woodruff releases a sweet, pleasant odor reminiscent of fresh hay. Woodruff is called waldmeister in Germany and is0 used to flavor a syrup that is added to Berliner weisse.

Commercial Examples: Gose Rustica | Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co.; Aspérule Odorante | Brasserie Cantillon; Solstice Gruit Ale | Zero Gravity Craft Brewery

Also Known As: Grand wormwood; Absinthe: Absinthium; Absinthe Wormwood; Mugwort Wermout; Wermud; Wormit; Wwormod
Parts Used: Leaves; Stems; Flowers
Wormwood is a very bitter herb once widely used in herbed beverages (like absinthe) and tonics, and as a bittering agent in beer. The wormwood herb, also called absinthe wormwood, is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae). The plant contains a chemical called thujone, an organic compound also found in conifers, oregano, tansy, sage and mugwort. Although the thujone content wormwood provided in absinthe was once credited for the liquor’s toxicity, it’s more likely that the alcohol content of the 90-to-148-proof beverage is more to blame. Still, the use of wormwood is generally limited to small quantities in herbal bitters and organic wormwood tea.

Commercial Examples: Gruit (Lips of Faith) | New Belgium Brewing Co.; Marginalia | Right Proper Brewing Co.; Oaked Penn Quarter Porter | DC Brau Brewing Co.

Also Known As: Milfoil; Thousand leaf; Soldier’s Woundwort; Bloodwort; Nose Bleed; Devil’s Nettle; Sanguinary; Old-Man’s-Pepper; Stenchgrass
Parts Used: Leaves; Flowers
Yarrow flower is a perennial in the daisy family (Asteraceae) that is native to Europe, and Asia, it is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere to an elevation of 3,500m. It has flourished in North America due to its ability to withstand drought. The Yarrow leaf and flower fern-like leaves and colorful flowers are dried for use in floral crafts and the yarrow flower powder can be used in tinctures as a yarrow flower supplement. The yarrow leaf and flower can also be used in yarrow flower tea. Yarrow flower benefits include possible help with digestive issues, anxiety, inflammation and more.

Commercial Examples: Gruit (Lips of Faith) | New Belgium Brewing Co.; Marginalia | Right Proper; Golden Arrow |21st Amendment Brewery