Taking inspiration from a medieval beer recipe, Ilkley Brewery and beer sommelier, Jane Peyton, have collaborated to create a limited edition Gruit beer named Doctor’s Orders.
A distinctly herbaceous 5.0% ale with rich chocolate notes, Doctor’s Orders is brewed with rosemary, yarrow, sage, bog myrtle, heather flowers and heather foraged from Ilkley Moor. Similar combinations of herbs, known as Gruit mixtures, were used in medieval times for bittering and flavouring and were also believed to have wide-reaching health benefits at the time.
Hops were first recorded in England circa 1362, when they were imported from the Low Countries, so before then, English brewers used herbs to add bitterness to ale.
“I’ve wanted to make a medieval ale for quite some time now and, knowing Ilkley Brewery’s interest in brewing out of the ordinary beers, I knew I’d found the perfect Gruit brew partner,” said Jane.
“Many of the herbs used in a Gruit beer are believed to be beneficial which is a phenomenon that I’m intrigued by. It is said that bog myrtle can improve poor memory; yarrow and sage have antiseptic properties; rosemary can enhance mental function and heather is used to help many ailments including digestive and sleep disorders.
“As beer is a superfood packed with nutrition, when consumed in moderation, it has proven health benefits. With these added herbs and flowers, Doctor’s Orders should be a real tonic!”
As well as traditional herbs, Doctor’s Orders features six malts including Maris Otter (extra pale), oats (6%), crystal, chocolate, brown and smoked. While medieval Gruit beers would not have contained hops, Doctor’s Orders does use a small amount of Fuggles hops for preservative purposes.
Luke Raven, sales and marketing manager at Ilkley Brewery, added: “The beer is delicious. The fragrant mixture of Gruit herbs and heather from Ilkley Moor really packs a punch and yet it’s a beer you could happily enjoy with a Sunday roast or a hearty piece of pheasant.”
You can follow Jane @SchoolofBooze