A spice is a seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring or coloring food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.
A spice may be available in several forms: fresh, whole dried, or pre-ground dried. Generally, spices are dried. Spices may be ground into a powder for convenience. A whole dried spice has the longest shelf life. A fresh spice, such as ginger, is usually more flavorful than its dried form, but fresh spices are more expensive and have a much shorter shelf life. Some spices are not always available either fresh or whole, for example turmeric, and often must be purchased in ground form.
India contributes to 75% of global spice production. This is reflected culturally through their cuisine; historically, the spice trade developed throughout the Indian subcontinent, as well as in East Asia and the Middle East. Europe’s demand for spices was among the economic and cultural factors that encouraged exploration in the early modern period.
Spices for example are used in various beers, Belgian witbier is brewed with coriander, Finnish sahti is brewed with juniper berries, and traditional beers in Britain are brewed with honey and spices. Some strong winter beers are flavored with nutmeg and/or cinnamon, while ginger is a popular Flavoring for a range of beers. Many commercially available pumpkin ales are made with pumpkin pie spices without any actual pumpkin.
The BA (Brewers Association) recognizes two categories of spiced beers. Pumpkin Spiced Beer and the category Herb and Spiced Beer.
“Herb and Spice beer is any beer brewed with herbs or spices derived from leaves, roots, seeds, fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc. and which exhibits herbal or spicy attributes. Herb or spice character can range from subtle to intense. Classifying these beers can be complex. Beers which exhibit herbal or spicy character are considered Herb and Spice Beer. Beers brewed with chili peppers are categorized as Chili Pepper Beer. Beers brewed with or without pumpkin in which herb or spice attributes typical of pumpkin pie dominate are categorized as Pumpkin Spice Beer.”