Our Blog

Kiley

Kiley Gwynn, certified BJCP beer judge, enjoys a wide variety of hobbies but her deepest passion is homebrewing. She loves spreading the joy of homebrewing and over the last decade has become deeply involved in the Oregon homebrewing community. Kiley is an award-winning homebrewer who holds a seat on the executive committee of Cascade Brewers Society and is a member of American Homebrewers Association Diversity Subcommittee. She loves brewing herbally inspired beers at educational events like Learn to Homebrew Day. When she’s not working as a blog contributor at Mountain Rose Herbs or in her homebrewery, you’ll likely find her under a pile of yarn with a crochet project, in the kitchen working on her latest small batch canning adventure or chasing her rescued red heeler down the beach.

Recent Posts

3 DIY Beard Oil Recipes & How to Use Them

While I’m not the person in our family who wears the beard, I am the one who first brought organic beard oil into our house. I was introduced to the concept of beard oil by my brother (who rocks an epic leprechaun beard) as a way to help soothe the dreaded beard itch. Plus, his wife was thrilled with how soft and smooth his newly nourished beard had become! Making my husband more kissable while pampering his mountain man beard sounded like a win-win to me.  Read More
Posted by Kiley

Here We Brew a Wassailing: Making Spiced Cyser


Thanks to pop culture references from blockbusters like
Harry Potter and Game of Thrones, mead is experiencing a renaissance. For years, this delicious golden nectar has been saddled with a reputation of being overly sweet, or only to be enjoyed while at a medieval festival or dinner. But no longer! Mead has retaken a seat at the craft beverage table with many metheglins (spiced meads) and fruited meads leading the way. I’ve enjoyed meads with traditional culinary herbs including saffron, cacao nibs, vanilla, ginger, chilies, and cinnamon, as well as more traditional brewing herbs such as mugwort, yarrow, juniper berries, and hops.    

Read More
Posted by Kiley

How to Make Kombucha at Home

Over the last decade, my kitchen has hosted a wide variety of cultures and home fermentation projects. Pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, milk-and-water kefir, and fermented garlic paste have all lived (and thrived!) atop my counters. However, only one culture has found a permanent residence: kombucha. If you aren’t familiar with kombucha, it is a fermented tea beverage that has exploded in popularity over the last few years. Kombucha can now be easily found at nearly every co-op or grocery store, but if you drink as much as I do, store-bought bottles can get pricey fast. Fortunately, it’s easy, inexpensive, and fun to make at home! Plus, you can flavor your kombucha and adjust its acidity or sourness to your liking.  

Read More
Posted by Kiley

The Complete Guide to DIY Beeswax Wraps (AND Beeless Vegan Food Wraps!)

Both my husband and I love to cook, and we delight in sharing our gastronomic adventures with those we love. However, I’ve always hated using plastic wrap each time we take one of our culinary creations out the door. So I set out to find a plastic wrap alternative. When I mentioned it to a like-minded friend, she suggested I get a set of silicone stretch lids. It seemed like a great idea, but I struggled to get them on my favorite handmade bowls. Then I found beeswax wraps.

Read More
Posted by Kiley

How to Make Mead with Berries & Spices

It is believed that the honor of "oldest alcoholic beverage on the planet" goes to mead. Evidence of this enchanting gold elixir has been found in Chinese pottery vessels dating back to 7000 BCE. While the discovery of mead was almost certainly a happy accident, over the ages this “nectar of the gods” has found a home in many tales, myths, legends, customs, ceremonies, and traditional remedies. Today, mead is enjoyed around the world in a variety of styles and strengths, from session meads to full-strength sack meads. 

Read More
Posted by Kiley

4 Thirst-Quenching Botanical Lemonades

When summer serves up blue skies with long hot days, I crave lemonade. And not the kind that comes from a powdered mix packed with preservatives, colorants, and artificial sweeteners, but real, fresh-squeezed lemonade. The perfect balance of bright acidity, light tartness, and a hint of sweetness that I long for simply can’t be accomplished any other way. Plus, making freshly-squeezed lemonade only takes a few minutes, and it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Read More
Posted by Kiley

Creamy Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream Recipe

My first taste of green tea ice cream was after a feast at a Japanese restaurant. Although I was stuffed to the brim, the waiter convinced me to be adventurous and try a scoop. I thought there was no room left in my stomach, but then I tasted a bite, devoured that scoop, and thought about ordering another! The grassy, floral, and fruity notes paired perfectly with a creamy sweetness and a touch of vanilla. I skipped the second scoop and spent the drive home thinking about how to make my own.

Read More
Posted by Kiley

Gruit: An Adventure in Herbal Homebrewing

People who have never homebrewed always ask me why I bother, citing the plethora of amazing craft beer choices available today. While there are a lot of great independent breweries making beers that I adore, nothing beats savoring a glass beer I brewed myself. Plus, homebrewing my own beer ensures I’ll always have access to my favorite styles brewed just the way I like them. Some of my favorite herbal additions include grains of paradise or smoked peppercorns in rustic saison, a big floral pop of chamomile in a Belgian witbier, or adding a kick to a rich stout with bird’s eye chilies and cacao nibs.

Read More
Posted by Kiley

Protecting Pollinators with Organic Agriculture

In midsummer, our fields of certified organic Echinacea purpurea are a purple blaze as far as the eye can see. The nearly shoulder-high flowers that take root in these Pacific Northwest soils are a pollinator favorite, and native bees and butterflies flock to the fields in droves. The sheer multitude of winged beings that encircle each bloom is an impressive sight to behold—visual proof of the power of organic agriculture.

Read More
Posted by Kiley

Matcha Shortbread Cookies with White Chocolate & Vanilla Glaze

Matcha is an alluring powdered green tea with deep historical roots in Japanese tea ceremonies. Like all true teas, matcha is produced from the tender young leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The way in which the leaves are grown and processed is what sets matcha apart from other green teas. All matcha is shade-grown, hand-harvested, and quickly steamed. After steaming, the stems and veins are removed from each leaf, and the leaves are then left to dry flat before being stone-ground into a fine powder. Whether whisked hot in the traditional preparation, or combined with milk and honey poured over ice, matcha offers a truly remarkable flavor experience!

Read More
Posted by Kiley