Medieval bog myrtle beer revived by North Yorkshire's Treboom Brewery

York Press: John Lewis and  partner Jane Blackman of the Treboom Brewery with bog myrtle from the North York Moors, used to make the Myricale beer John Lewis and partner Jane Blackman of the Treboom Brewery with bog myrtle from the North York Moors, used to make the Myricale beer

A MEDIEVAL beer made from the plant bog myrtle – harvested from wild moorland peat bogs – is helping raise awareness of the endangered habitat.

North Yorkshire micro-brewery Treboom Brewery is using the deciduous shrub in its latest beer.

It uses wild leaves carefully picked for the beer by members of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, from the trust’s own North York Moors peatbog reserve.

Bog myrtle was once a common component in brewing, used to flavour beer from the Middle Ages until the 16th century, when hops fell into fashion. Now it is better known for its natural insect-repellent properties.

John Lewis, who set up the brewery at Shipton-by-Beningbrough, near York, with his partner, said: “Hops only became popular in Europe about the 11th century and it spread to England in the 16th century.

“At one point hops were barred from being used at all in this country, they thought it was a pernicious European influence and they didn’t want it sullying our beers.

“This is a one-off specialist beer. We only have one lot of bog myrtle, which we were given back in September and hung up in our garage at home to dry.”

Mr Lewis set up the micro-brewery about a year ago, after working as a research scientist for Cancer Research at the University of York’s laboratories. He runs the business with his partner, Jane Blackman, a ceramicist from Newton Hall, County Durham.

Called Myricale, for each pint of the wheat beer poured, 5p will be donated to the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The name was chosen following a naming competition held amongst Yorkshire Wildlife Trust supporters. The winner, Robert Marshall from Harrogate, based it on bog myrtle’s latin name, Myrica gale.

It will be launched on Thursday, March 21, during a pub quiz in The Slip Inn, off Bishopthorpe Road in York.

Peatland bog is one of the world’s rarest habitats and is found both in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Most bogs were formed more than 10,000 years ago and act as substantial carbon storage. As well as being a habitat for many endangered species, they also as a catchment for rainfall that would otherwise flood lower areas.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust recently began using drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, to fly over threatened peat bogs in the Yorkshire Dales to try and establish the extent and severity of the peatland’s disappearance.

Comments (3)

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11:34am Thu 28 Feb 13

MrsHoney says...

I love the smell of bog myrtle, it's like xmas! Like a mix of pine and earthy spices. Not sure it would make tasty beer but I'd be interested to taste it.
I love the smell of bog myrtle, it's like xmas! Like a mix of pine and earthy spices. Not sure it would make tasty beer but I'd be interested to taste it. MrsHoney

8:37pm Thu 28 Feb 13

L Cairns says...

Good Luck with the launch I'd love to taste your beer. I have made beer using gale instead of hops and it gave a 'botanical' taste. I still make 'Gale Beer' (bit like ginger beer) during the summer using leaves from a plant I purchased from a garden centre several years ago. It reminds me of my childhood on the North York Moors.
Good Luck with the launch I'd love to taste your beer. I have made beer using gale instead of hops and it gave a 'botanical' taste. I still make 'Gale Beer' (bit like ginger beer) during the summer using leaves from a plant I purchased from a garden centre several years ago. It reminds me of my childhood on the North York Moors. L Cairns

9:05am Fri 1 Mar 13

Tim Cronin says...

Now, back in the war, i knew a `lady` who was called Myrtle Bog, and funnily enough, she actually smelled of Beer!!
Now, back in the war, i knew a `lady` who was called Myrtle Bog, and funnily enough, she actually smelled of Beer!! Tim Cronin

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