Garden Lifestyle

Botanical Brews at the U.S. National Arboretum

Catching up on some recent events--one that was new and fun was the Botanical Brews evening at the USNA--what a setting for a party!

Hopbine trellises at US National Arboretum--with visiting mockingbird--celebrating Hops, Herb of the Year 2018. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Catching up on some recent events–one that was new and fun was the Botanical Brews evening at the USNA–what a setting for a party! Last spring, they erected wonderful bamboo hop trellises at the entrance to the herb garden to support the Herb of the Year 2018 hop bines. The hops were at maturity; green and hung with strobiles, which was the perfect garden backdrop to our Herb Society of America educational table. We had a lot of folks stop by our display to sample Citrus Hop Bitters as they strolled through the gardens sampling local craft beer.

There were twelve tables located throughout the Herb Gardens–most of them local breweries serving samples of their beer. Laura Anthony and I set up our HSA display table so we could show and tell all about Hops, Herb of the Year 2018. We had lots of folks drop by to learn about how hops grow; we opened up fresh strobiles so they could see and smell and taste the lupulin; gave them samples of Citrus Hop Bitters straight and in sparkling water; discussed the health benefits of hops; and showed them how to make dream pillows and bathbags for relaxation. Once guests tasted the hop bitters, they wanted the recipe–so I will post it next blog and link it here. /item/129187/citrus-hop-bitters

I tasted a number of beers and my favorite of the evening was made by Three Stars Brewing and it was brewed with mugwort and artemisia that were grown at the USNA (!)–nice and hoppy and just the right amount of bitter.

Many thanks to all of the brewers who brought their beers and to the staff at the USNA (the gardens look wonderful!), especially Chrissy Moore (thanks for sharing photos) and Piper Zettel for organizing the event and taking care of all of the details. Botanical Brews was such a fun event, that it looks like they’ll do it again next year!

I think next year that we should have a tasting form to jot down the names of the beers that we sample and make notes about them–and for fun, we should vote for our favorite beer of the event.


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