Dew Point Brewing Co.

Forest Pizelle Spiced Ale

Yorklyn, DE

(pdf version)

    Dew Point Brewing Company’s Forest Pizzelle features a very special ingredient: goldenrod, Delaware’s official state herb.  Officially called Solidago odora, goldenrod gets its modern name from its perennial yellow, rod-shaped flowers and it grows anywhere from a few inches to a few feet in height.  British gardeners covet goldenrod, Americans consider it a weed and the Chinese and Germans consider it an invasive species, yet others consider the discovery of goldenrod in their garden a sign of upcoming good fortune.  Goldenrod blooms in late summer or early fall and it is very common to see bees and wasps buzzing nearby.  
    Goldenrod is a particularly interesting herb and not just because of its botanical significance.  The leaves and seeds are edible and it was a common food among early Native Americans.  Many different tribes were known to chew the leaves to relieve sore throats and the roots to relieve toothaches.  Holistic practitioners still administer goldenrod formulas to help with kidney issues related to infection or kidney stones as well as to accelerate the healing of open wounds.  It is even nicknamed “woundwort”.  In addition, goldenrod is frequently used to make herbal tea (and also, apparently, beer), a fact that has far more significance than most people realize.  
    After a group of rebellious colonists dumped 342 cases of British tea into the Boston Harbor on December 16, 1773, during an act famously known as the Boston Tea Party, the American Colonies found themselves with a small problem - there was no tea left to drink!  Since the majority of the colonists were thoroughly hooked on the stuff, there was a large demand for some sort of replacement.  In addition, there was a strong desire to cut all of the strings that were attached to British tea and, therefore, a number of homemade blends served the colonists’ interests well.  Goldenrod became one of the most common ingredients in what were known as “Liberty Teas”.  (This was also the time when it became a common practice, if not a civic duty, for colonists to switch to coffee.)
    But goldenrod is more than just pretty and edible, it also has industrial uses.  Thomas Edison knew that goldenrod naturally contained rubber so he produced a version of the plant that grew 12 feet tall and yielded as much as 12% rubber, 5% more than average.  Henry Ford, a close friend of Edison, followed the experiments closely and even gave Edison a Model T with tires made of the unique rubber.  After Edison died, Ford used his notes to continue the explorations into goldenrod and even started a plantation in Ways, GA that was dedicated to growing goldenrod.  The plantation was part of an effort to find natural replacements for things like plastics, rubber and fuel.  Ford also had multiple plantations in South America that grew rubber trees.
    Later on, George Washington Carver’s experiments with different plants caught Ford’s attention and he decided to invest in Carver’s work.  Ford eventually convinced Carver to move from Alabama to Dearborn, MI in order to work on experiments near the Ford compound.  During Carver’s experiments, extensive work was carried out to try and make goldenrod a source for rubber and while they had some success with things like water bottles, the tires they made continued to be too weak and tacky for regular production.
    A few other states display their affection for goldenrod as well including Nebraska and Kentucky, where it is the official state flower, and South Carolina, where it is the official state wildflower.


From the Brewer:  A spiced ale crafted with Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago Odora), Chevallier Heritage malts, Citra hops, and an English Ale yeast.  The Sweet Goldenrod gives this beer anise, black licorice forward flavors.  Additional notes include a hint of citrus and a subdued bitterness.  ABV 5.1%, IBU 28
Cody Hoffman - Head Brewer