Thursday, 20 May 2010

Chequered Past beer

Thanks to the generosity of brewer Bob Mitchell (Son of Sid Brewery, The Chequers, Little Gransden) I am the proud possessor of a bottle of the limited edition beer called 'Chequered Past' (6% alcohol by volume).

This has been brewed from wild service berries (Sorbus torminalis), spelt wheat and autumn honey to create, according to the label an "autumn red colour and smooth, rich, fruity flavour." So far as I know this is the only British beverage that has been professionally made using wild service berries for many years. The word 'Chequers' used for the tree is, however, associated with at least some of the many Chequers Inns in Britain and I think there is no doubt that various drinks were made from the berries in the past.

Problem now is whether to open the bottle and drink the contents or keep it intact: I'll think about it, though the label says "best before the end of August 2011."

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Genetic conservation of the wild service

There is a useful on-line 6-page paper on the wild service tree (Sorbus torminalis) and its conservation here:

Demesure-Musch, B. & Oddou-Muratorio, S. (2004)  EUFORGEN Technical Guidelines for genetic conservation and use for wild service tree (Sorbus
  International Plant Genetic Resources Institute, Rome, Italy.

The illustrated text covers a general description of the tree, its economic importance, its global distribution (with an excellent map) and, of course, material in regard to its conservation.