I just got a new pamphlet written by a friend, Steve Stuffit, called Radical Brewing (number 10 in the Bristol Radical History pamphlet series). It talks about the history of brewing, and includes a section on the philosophy of nettle picking for brews. There’s even a recipe that I’m going to try.
The pamphlet gives a rundown of the history of brewing, from its origins as a small scale activity that was widely practiced, through the regulation of brewing and the beginnings of its development as big business, to the present day. There is an emphasis on home brewing as asserting one’s rights over the commons, particularly if one isn’t using hops (which although you can find wild or grow yourself tend to be commercially farmed and quite expensive). I recommend it as a good and interesting read. I’ve certainly found it inspiring.