10 July 2008

Great Beer of the Week

I love historic beer recipes. Ever since I first ran into Alan Eames' Flag Porter back in its original incarnation (brewed with yeast harvested from an 1845 shipwreck, as I recall), I've had a hankering for reproductions (well, with some modern liberties taken, usually) of vintage drink styles. Which, of course, in part explains my love for Fraoch Heather Ale and the other historical recipes of Bruce Williams and Williams Bros. Brewery.

This Gruit showed up at Max's for the Tuesday Night Beer Social. Comes from "Dr. Fritz Briem, Historic Signature Series"........

Quoting the label and the website for the beer's importers, B. United:

Before the German Reinheitsgebot, in 1516, beer was not explicitly brewed with water, malt, hops & yeast through In fact the Reinheitsgebot was as much a ban against certain substances & adjuncts as it was a government instruction to brewing beer. Until then it was common practice to use a variety of different spices & plants instead of hops to flavor and prolong the shelf life of the beer. Some of the adjuncts that were used even had anesthetic & toxic effects.

Grut beer has roots in many cultures and each culture had its own "special ingredients": Egyptians (Mandrake based), Native Americans (Corn based), Arabian Tribes, Gaulles, Germanic Tribes and the Vikings.

Grut beer became especially popular during the middle ages in Germany in the regions of Westphalia & Lower Saxony close to the borders of Belgium & Holland. During this time the ingredients for beer were very expensive, in particular hops.

This interpretation of a traditional Grut Bier is spiced with Lorbeer (Bay Leaves), Ingwer (Ginger), Kummel (Caraway), Anis (Anise), Rosemarin (Rosemarie) & Enzian (Gentian). It is brewed with water, wheat & barley malt, "pollinated wild hops" and fermented using top fermenting yeast bacteria (isolated from malt) at 18 °C (64°F).

The information on the style and ingredients at the B. United website goes on for NINE pages. The brewer/brewery/importer is also responsible for an "1809" Berliner Weisse.

My review? One of THE most refreshing and flavorful beers I've had in ages, perfect for summer at 4.6% abv. Beers like this are the reason that anytime anyone feels like quoting the "Reinheitsgebot" like the Gospel According to St. Gambrinus, I just want to kick his posterior out the door and to the curb.

No comments: