Spruce beer

This afternoon in class one of my students brought up Spruce beer, a classic, and according to some historians, an example of an American beer. While Virginia planters were no doubt brewing it in the eighteenth century and Amelia Simmons included a recipe in the first American cookbook, it was also making its way into English manuscript recipe books by the late seventeen hundreds.

I have been wondering about this ever since I read Sarah Hand Meacham’s wonderful book, Every Home a Distillery. She has a recipe and discussion of Virginia planters brewing Spruce Beer along with peach brandy and cider. The British manuscript I found a recipe in has no apparent American connections and its author was very good about listing the sources of her recipes. So I wonder, does anyone out there know anything about how Spruce beer originated or how it moved from America to England?

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About Cooking with Clio

I am a historian. I teach at a large Southern California University. I love to cook and garden and I have recently taken up sewing.
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