UK’s first ‘medicinal’ mushroom beer launchesBy Lucy Shaw
Mindful drinking consultant Zoey Henderson is due to launch a range of 0.5% AVB craft beers made with ‘medicinal’ mushrooms in the UK this month.
Called Fungtn, the vegan and gluten free beer brand includes an IPA brewed with Lion’s Mane mushrooms; a Citra Beer brewed with Reishi mushrooms; and a lager brewed with Chaga mushrooms.
Henderson, who discovered medicinal mushrooms during a trip to California, brought the brand to fruition during lockdown and is targeting Fungtn at ‘mindful’ drinkers seeking low ABV drinks that both mimic the taste of alcohol and deliver functional benefits.
Medicinal mushrooms, called myco adaptogens, are a class of fungi known for their health benefits that have been used in medicine for centuries.
According to Henderson they are known for helping the body adapt to psychological stresses, restoring homeostasis and supporting the immune system and endocrine system.
“Myco adaptogens are a natural solution to stressful modern living. The fungi kingdom is fascinating and in these stressful, anxious times, they can help protect our bodies, as well as enhance mood and overall wellbeing,” she said.
During the development process, Henderson found that the natural starchiness of the mushroom extract enhances the depth and body of the beer, helping to recreate the mouthfeel of an alcoholic beer. The base ingredient also gives the beers an earthy, nutty flavour profile.
Lion’s Mane IPA is said to be an “earthy yet light IPA with notes of hay and caramel and a delicate bitter undertone from the Lion’s Mane mushrooms”.
According to Henderson, Lion’s Mane mushrooms help to protect brain neurons from free radical damage and support natural growth and repair.
Due to the mushroom’s high triterpene content, they also help to support cognitive function, focus and the nervous system.
The range’s Chaga Lager is “a crisp and refreshing dark, European style lager with a full body, chocolate undertones and a toasted malt finish”.
Chaga mushrooms are high in Superoxide Dismutase, which acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, protecting the body from free radicals.
The mushroom has long been used in Eastern medicine for activating the immune system and keeping blood sugar levels in balance.
Completing the trio is Reishi Citra Beer, “a cloudy and juicy beer with notes of tropical fruits and pineapple”.
The naturally bitter Reishi mushroom has been used in China and Northern Europe for centuries to help reduce the signs of ageing, balance hormones and support the body’s natural immune response.
All three beers have an ABV of 0.5% and are priced at £3.20. The trio will go on sale through the Fungtn website on 25 September.
Based in London, Fungtn is the debut brand from The Fungtional Brew Company, which was founded by Henderson in August. The beers are made in small batches using traditional brewing processes.
Prior to launching Fungtn Henderson ran drinks consultancy Clean Slate, which focused on ‘no and low’ ABV drinks, and worked as head of operations for alcohol-free bar Redemption in Shoreditch, east London. She is currently studying for a diploma in naturopathic nutrition.