Peat bog beer helping to aid endangered habitat

RAISING A GLASS: John Lewis and Jane Blackman, of the Treboom Brewery, with a pint of Myricale

RAISING A GLASS: John Lewis and Jane Blackman, of the Treboom Brewery, with a pint of Myricale

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A BEER made to a medieval recipe from a plant harvested from peat bogs is helping to raise awareness of the endangered habitat.

North Yorkshire micro-brewery Treboom Brewery is using bog myrtle leaves picked by members of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, from the trust’s North York Moors peat bog reserve.

Bog myrtle was commonly used to flavour beer from the Middle Ages until the 16th Century, when hops came into fashion.

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 microbrewery about a year ago, after working as a research scientist for Cancer Research at York University’s laboratories. He runs the business with his partner, Jane Blackman, a ceramicist from Newton Hall, County Durham.

For each pint of the beer poured, 5p will be donated to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The name Myricale was chosen after a competition among Yorkshire Wildlife Trust supporters.

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, York.

Peat bogs are one of the world’s rarest habitats and are found on the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors.

Most were formed more than 10,000 years ago.

As well as being a habitat for many endangered species, they capture and hold rainfall that would otherwise flood lower areas.

The Northern Echo: Bog Myrtle
Some of the bog myrtle leaves used in the beer

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust recently began using unmanned aeroplanes to fly over threatened peat bogs in the Yorkshire Dales to try to establish the extent and severity to which peat bogs are disappearing.

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