A Beer From the Middle Ages Is Making a Serious Comeback

Hop-forward beer is all the rage today, but in the middle ages many imbibers preferred brews that skewed towards the sweeter side. Now, centuries after it fell out of fashion, Atlas Obscura reports that gruit ale is making a comeback.

Gruit beer is any beer that features botanicals in place of hops. The ingredients that give the drink its distinctive sweet, aromatic taste can be as familiar as ginger and lavender or as exotic as mugwort and seabuckthorn. The herbs play the role of hops by both adding complex flavors and creating an inhospitable environment for harmful microbes.

It may be hard for modern beer lovers to imagine beer without hops, but prior to the 16th century gruit was as common in parts of Europe as IPAs are in hip American cities today. Then, in 1516, that style of beer suddenly vanished from pint glasses: That was the year Germany passed a beer purity law that restricted beer formulas to hops, water, and barley. Many of the key botanicals in gruit beer were considered aphrodisiacs at the time, and the rising Puritan movement helped push the brew further into obscurity.

Hops have dominated the beer scene ever since, and only in the past few decades have microbrewers started giving old gruit recipes the attention they're due. In 2017, the Scratch Brewing Company in Illinois released their seasonal Scratch Tonic, made from a combination of dandelion, carrot tops, clover, and ginger. The Põhjala Brewery in Estonia brews their Laugas beer using Estonian herbs, caraway, and juniper berries. Get in touch with your local microbrewery to see if they have their own version of the old-school beer in their line-up.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

This Outdoor Lantern Will Keep Mosquitoes Away—No Bug Spray Necessary

Thermacell, Amazon
Thermacell, Amazon

With summer comes outdoor activities, and with those activities come mosquito bites. If you're one of the unlucky people who seem to attract the insects, you may be tempted to lock yourself inside for the rest of the season. But you don't have to choose between comfort and having a cocktail on the porch, because this lamp from Thermacell ($25) keeps outdoor spaces mosquito-free without the mess of bug spray.

The device looks like an ordinary lantern you would display on a patio, but it works like bug repellent. When it's turned on, a fuel cartridge in the center provides the heat needed to activate a repellent mat on top of the lamp. Once activated, the repellent in the mat creates a 15-by-15-foot bubble of protection that repels any mosquitos nearby, making it a great option for camping trips, days by the pool, and backyard barbecues.

Mosquito repellent lantern.

Unlike some other mosquito repellents, this lantern is clean, safe, and scent-free. It also provides light like a real lamp, so you can keep pests away without ruining your backyard's ambience.

The Thermacell mosquito repellent lantern is now available on Amazon. If you've already suffered your first mosquito bites of the summer, here's some insight into why that itch can be so excruciating.

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Whip Up Your Favorite Writer’s Favorite Cocktail With How to Drink Like a Writer

Ernest Hemingway looked even more natural with a drink in hand than a pen in hand.
Ernest Hemingway looked even more natural with a drink in hand than a pen in hand.
Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images

Though Ernest Hemingway never actually uttered “Write drunk; edit sober,” he spent enough hours on a barstool to imply that his work was at least partially inspired by all that booze—and he’s definitely not the only one. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Hunter S. Thompson, and countless other iconic writers had a soft spot for a stiff drink, too.

While you won’t discover the secret to penning the next great American novel at the bottom of the bottle, sipping your favorite author’s favorite cocktail could help get your creative juices flowing. In How to Drink Like a Writer, from Apollo Publishers, you’ll find recipes for the go-to drinks of 100 literary heavyweights, from Truman Capote’s signature screwdriver—which he fondly referred to as “my orange drink”—to Raymond Carver’s Bloody Mary, his hair of the dog after alcohol-infused nights with pal (and University of Iowa colleague) John Cheever.

how to drink like a writer cover image
Humans have two hands so we can hold a pen in one and a drink in the other.
Apollo Publishers/Amazon

You can order your copy of How to Drink Like a Writer for $19 from Amazon, and while you wait for your book to arrive, take a look at three of the famed literary cocktails below.

Charles Bukowski’s boilermaker.

There’s something for everyone in this book, no matter what you like to drink or how much time you’re willing to devote to crafting the perfect cocktail. For example, it doesn't take much to recreate Charles Bukowski’s favorite boilermaker—you just need a shot of bourbon and a pint of any light beer but Coors, which the longtime Los Angeles resident didn’t care for.

charles bukowski boilermaker recipe from how to drink like a writer book
Apollo Publishers

charles bukowski boilermaker recipe from how to drink like a writer book
Apollo Publishers

Ian Fleming's Vesper Martini.

For anyone hoping to emulate Ian Fleming and the dashing, debonair nature of his legendary protagonist, James Bond, there’s the Vesper martini—a lemon-garnished goblet of gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc that’ll have you scanning your own living room for any suspicious activity.

ian fleming's vesper martini from how to drink like a writer book
Apollo Publishers

ian fleming's vesper martini from how to drink like a writer book
Apollo Publishers

Jane Austen's Negus.

If you’re planning a cheerful party for close friends on a chilly winter night, you might prepare a warm pot of negus—the spiced wine that Jane Austen mentions in Mansfield Park and The Watsons. Wondering what to serve with it? The sugary port pairs well with white soup, an oniony, veal-based dish popular during the late 18th century. The book includes a recipe for that—and dishes that complement other cocktails—as well as tips for hosting a Paris-inspired salon and fascinating details about certain well-frequented bars, like Jack Kerouac’s Vesuvio Cafe.

jane austen's negus from how to drink like a writer book
Apollo Publishers

jane austen's negus from how to drink like a writer book
Apollo Publishers

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