I was out helping a friend of mine fence in 40 acres the last couple of days so he could keep his cattle there until deer season is over and then put them back on open range. While walking about I passed through some brush that I'd all but forgotten about until I was deep in the middle of it and thats when the aroma filled my sinus and I remembered how much I loved the smell. Its a smell you will never completely forget even if you're away from it for a long time. Sweet Fern!
So I decided to research it a bit online. It turns out its been used for centuries as a medicinal herb and it makes a tea similar to black tea, originally drank by Algonquin Indians and rightly called Algonquin Tea. Its mildly astringent, one of its medicinal values among others, so I'm not sure how it would affect the beer as a late addition or during cold conditioning but I tried adding about 15 or 20 of the now formed buds that look like they will turn to leaves next year or flowers perhaps, it definitely added a unique and even appealing aroma to my glass of homebrew.
I may try making a gruit or herbal beer this year using sweet fern and one or two other ingredients I find growing wild. Anybody else tried sweet fern? Any other wild herbs etc?