Peterborough in Transition’s brand new brew club has kicked off in Birch tapping style. On Friday we went to a secret location to give the ancient art of Birch tapping a go. In the UK, you can tap both Birch and Lime trees for their sap which can be used for a variety of brewing uses, being a base for both beers and wine.
It’s an ancient technique; birch sap can makes a delicious tea or nourishing soft-drink. Boiled down to make a sweet syrup it can be used as a flavouring agent in sauces and marinades for meat, fish or in baking as an alternative to other sweeteners. In many countries, Birch syrup is used as an herbal medicine with antiseptic, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory properties.
As the cold weather extended right into the spring the sap was rising slightly later than usual, meaning that we would harvest it in mid-April. If you want more information there are a variety of guides on the web including this one: http://naturalpathways.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/how-to-tap-a-birch-tree/.
The brew club is really informal but if you would like to get involved then just email transitionpeterborough at gmail dot com. The next brew on the list is Dandelion champagne, followed by Japanese Knotweed beer…brewing can be a legitimate conservation activity after all!
On another drinking note, everyone is invited to come along to the monthly Green Drinks held at the Ostrich Inn. Details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/535295789862084/.