Beyond the Bottle: Got Great Gruit?

jopen-koyt-bottleJopen Koyt is admittedly pretty far up there as far as gruits go. But if you’re looking for non-hoppy options, there are still a bunch of really excellent examples to be found, showcasing as wide a range of herb additions as you may imagine. Locally we’ve got Brian Hunt over at the world-class Moonlight Brewing Company creating a variety of herbs-not-hops beers, such as Working for Tips (brewed with redwood tips for bitterness) and Legal Tender (with yarrow, wild rosemary and redwood branches). Check the local folks for an occasional gruit attempt.

Upright Brewing’s Special Herbs is their Reggae Junkie gruit aged in Old Tom gin casks, and the result is an effervescent, lemon-lime-forward nectar that’s wholly its own thing. One can track it down as an occasional bottled offering, with modest distribution. There’s also a 13th Century Grut Bier that’s making its rounds in the States, made with bay leaves, ginger, anise, caraway, rosemary and gentian. (Zero clue what gentian is.) Most interesting-seeming include Cigar City’s cedar-aged Humidor Series Gruit and a beer named Fleur Desay from De Garde Brewing in Tillamook, OR: sour farmhouse gruit aged in Chardonnay oak barrels, of course.

For the truly gruit grateful, International Gruit Day will be here again on February 1st. Since 2013 it’s been pretty much the best time of year to go gruit gathering. Join in via #GruitDay.