Looking to the Past for Inspiration, Brewers Gravitate to Gruit

Discussion in 'Article Comments' started by BeerAdvocate, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. BeerAdvocate

    BeerAdvocate Founders (17,671) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    Breweries around the globe are bucking the hazy, hoppy trend by devoting at least some of their energies to Gruit, a medieval ale made with a variety of botanicals. Although small, the worldwide movement to bring more attention to it has gained steam, and is recognized with International Gruit Day.

    Read the full article: Looking to the Past for Inspiration, Brewers Gravitate to Gruit
     
    #1 BeerAdvocate, Jan 31, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 31, 2018
  2. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (748) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    First brewery to do a milkshake gruit is going to start a riot.
     
  3. Keene

    Keene Editorial Director (784) Sep 11, 2009 Washington
    Staff

    Does a NEIPA-style Gruit (in the appropriately trendy packaging) count?
     
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  4. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (748) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    My brain just melted.
     
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  5. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,339) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Oh my god and they even have a boss pour picture on the page. :astonished:
     
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  6. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Disciple (346) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Never heard of gruit, but it sounds like something I'd like to try. Any idea if they're available in the alcohol wasteland of Pennsylvania?
     
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  7. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,339) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Premium Trader

    Try looking for Fritz Briem's Gruit - That might be your best bet other than something local.
    https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/23495/44016/
     
  8. Jimbob-gbr

    Jimbob-gbr Initiate (62) Apr 18, 2017 Nebraska

    I've always wanted to brew a gruit beer. I've seen a couple locals Brewers have done some small batches but I haven't tried one. I was thinking a saison with dandilion root, bitter orange peel, rose petals and dry hop with oolong tea.
     
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  9. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (1,898) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium

    Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale is one of three styles I have left to try. I might have to suggest to one of the local breweries that they try one.
     
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  10. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (748) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Ever seen these around? Worth the try, IMO.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (748) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    If you ever get around to brewing this, I can help you out with the dandelion preparation.
     
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  12. Sideshow_Luke_Perry

    Sideshow_Luke_Perry Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2016 Massachusetts

    Tried Glacial and Lamb's Wool - my first gruits - from Beau's All Natural over the weekend, and I was a bit underwhelmed by both. Can anyone recommend another I should try (and can find in the Boston area)?
     
  13. Keene

    Keene Editorial Director (784) Sep 11, 2009 Washington
    Staff

    Cambridge Brewing Company releases Gruits from time to time, and you can find their Heather Ale in bottles.
     
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  14. TheIPAHunter

    TheIPAHunter Poo-Bah (1,560) Aug 12, 2007 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Wasteland? Where have you been hunting?
     
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  15. timbeer

    timbeer Initiate (0) Oct 21, 2005 Nevada

    I've had a couple from Solarc. They were very enjoyable, but it is a challenge to judge them as good or bad gruits since I don't know what a gruit is supposed to taste like.
     
  16. ElijahSF

    ElijahSF Initiate (168) Aug 30, 2013 California

    Magnolia/New Belgium Brewing in SF brews a great Gruit called Weekapaug Gruit. One of my favorite brews by them.
     
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  17. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (1,898) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium

    Don't think I can get those here but will watch for them on out-of-state trips.
     
    EvenMoreJesus likes this.
  18. Jimbob-gbr

    Jimbob-gbr Initiate (62) Apr 18, 2017 Nebraska

    Would like to know. I'm guessing I will try it in the spring. Have you tried it? I'm guessing the root would be less bitter than say the leaves but hopefully have some earthy to it.
     
  19. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Crusader (748) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    I've done it with excellent results, if I do say so myself. The long and the short of it is that you have to depetal the flowers and make a tea from them. The catch? You need a LOT of dandelions to do that. I'll post a link to the actual technique when you need it so it doesn't get lost.
     
  20. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,493) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Wasteland? I guess that depends on where you live or where you shop. I've had 3-4 gruits, all of which were purchased here in the SE PA area.
     
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  21. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,493) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    If you do wind up finding more than one my personal favorite was the Fraoch Heather Ale.
     
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  22. ElijahSF

    ElijahSF Initiate (168) Aug 30, 2013 California

    Weekapaug Gruit is on tap at Magnolia/New Belgium in Dogptach of SF in case anyone wants to try it. I didn't know it was available until after I made my initial post.
     
  23. TheInsomniac

    TheInsomniac Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2015 Louisiana

    I've been predicting this trend for a while now. Consumers are tired of overhopped, 1-dimensional IPAs. The balance provided by malts and haze have allowed a lot of people to start enjoying beer again after being disgusted away from craft beer for years by coppery, watery, bitter-beer-face inducing gimmicks.

    One problem is that gruit is just a really bad name. I'm not sure what better-branding there is around these styles, but I worry the industry needs a better name for these beers if there's going to be a widespread uptick in consumption. Maybe even just calling them beer with an adjective to identify the bittering agent at the front. I could be wrong, but I have trouble seeing "gruit" becoming a common term heard at the corner pub.
     
  24. Dandrewjohn

    Dandrewjohn Initiate (94) Apr 13, 2013 Texas

    Wonder why DFH hasn't done one...
     
  25. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,493) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    #25 drtth, Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  26. 77apm

    77apm Devotee (428) Nov 10, 2013 Illinois

    I absolutely love Scratch beers so thanks for the article, new places to seek out and try.
     
  27. redgorillabreath

    redgorillabreath Initiate (124) Mar 29, 2015 Pennsylvania

    I have a bunch of dried Northern Bungleweed leaves and flowers from last summer, contemplating a recipe...maybe something along the lines of a kvass.

    With decent sanitation, how important is the “preservative” properties of hops? It would be nice to leave them out of the picture altogether.
     
  28. Keene

    Keene Editorial Director (784) Sep 11, 2009 Washington
    Staff

    If you're interested in brewing a Gruit, this book might be of interest.
     
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  29. redgorillabreath

    redgorillabreath Initiate (124) Mar 29, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Many thanks!!! I’ll look into this one. So far my “collection” of books on this topic consists of the book Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers by Buhner. Sorry...no hyperlink.

    Cheers!!!
     
  30. Sourgod

    Sourgod Initiate (0) Feb 16, 2018 Ohio

    The BottleHouse Brewery in Cleveland Ohio won a medal for a gruit this past GABF. I has one and it was fantastic. Better than I expected. Cheers.
     
  31. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Aspirant (248) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    I brewed a gruit last summer/early fall. Fell in love with the style. Used yarrow and mugwort for bittering and used yeast taken from a neighbors blueberries.
     
  32. Duckaduck

    Duckaduck Initiate (27) Sep 13, 2015 Japan

    I don't think I'm quite clear on what makes gruit different than just a spiced beer. Seems like I've been having beers that matched these descriptions for decades. Is it it can't have hops? It has to only use ingredients from the traditional gruit making areas?
     
  33. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (1,848) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    As I understand the history gruit was used before hops were introduced so yes, gruit could be said to mean no hops. Of course modern brewers apply labels as they see fit so I wouldn't be surprised to find some hops in there.
     
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  34. Keene

    Keene Editorial Director (784) Sep 11, 2009 Washington
    Staff

    Yes, Gruit is a broad term encompassing un-hopped alcoholic drinks made from yeast-fermented malt. Before hops were commercially cultivated, brewers historically used a wide variety of other bitter herbs to make beer. Numerous examples of Gruit can be found today, some of which seek to recreate a beverage from the past, while others concentrate on creative interpretations of the category, using a wide variety of locally available ingredients.
     
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  35. stevecady

    stevecady Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2017 Minnesota

    My favorite Gruit extract receipe:

    9lbs Gold LME
    1/2 oz. Mugwort
    1/2 oz. Yarrow
    1/2 oz. Marsh Rosemary
    1/2 oz. sweet gale

    boil all ingredients for 60 minutes.
    Add 1oz Cascade hops last 5 minutes.
    Wyeast american 1056 yeast
    Primary for 3 weeks and bottle.
    Complex, earthy flavor.
     
  36. stevecady

    stevecady Initiate (0) Apr 30, 2017 Minnesota

    for 5 gallons,.
     
  37. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,298) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    When wasn't that the case? Just a look at the +2 century history of US brewed beers shows there was never a time when that wasn't how brewers labeled their beers, within some minor and very broad legal definitions.

    In the US, for a domestic beer to be a legal "malt beverage" (definition below) and go through the TTB labeling procedure, it must contain hops. Otherwise, it has to be approved by the FDA.

    MALT BEVERAGE
    An alcohol or alcohol-free beverage made by the alcoholic fermentation of an infusion or decoction, or combination of both, in potable brewing water, of:
    · malted barley comprising not less than 25% by weight of the total weight of fermentable ingredients
    · hops (or their parts or products) in an amount equivalent to 7.5 pounds per 100 barrels (3100 gallons) of finished malt beverage

    AND, with or without

    · other malted cereals
    · unmalted or prepared cereals
    · other carbohydrates (or products prepared therefrom)
    · carbon dioxide
    · other wholesome products suitable for human food consumption
     
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  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,493) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Under the US regulations is it still considered "beer" if there are no hops and goes through the FDA?
     
  39. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,298) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yes, but it's complicated by the fact that there are 2 different Federal legal definitions, one from the TTB (for "malt beverage" which includes "beer") and the other from the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (for "beer").
    See the 7 page TTB Ruling 2008-3
    There are currently a number of beers from US breweries that have the FDA labeling (some of the gluten free products, in particular) and they are labeled "beer" (or "ale", "lager" or other terms that also fall under the TTB list of "malt beverage")..




     
    #39 jesskidden, Mar 29, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2018
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  40. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Aspirant (267) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    I would love to try an authentic "Gruit ale" I enjoyed DFH ancient beer series. King Midas beer used saffron instead of hop for bitterness. (seems like that would be really expensive)
     
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