I’ve waited a long-ass time to slot Jopen Koyt, an 8.5% Scottish Gruit produced in the Netherlands. Seven years to be exact! I first tried it when Shelton Brothers sent me a bottle to run by the panel in 2007. I hadn’t had many gruits that parted my hair at the time, so I was taken back a bit when I really, really dug this beer. We couldn’t get it done for one reason or another and the next thing you know, they were no longer bringing it into the US. Shit.
I’ve been bugging Christian at Shelton Bros. literally annually to bring it in for us as they’ve done with so many other beers, but there was some kind of issue at the brewery and it never happened. I really wanted to share the experience of finding a gruit I could get groovy with with our members, so I was like Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua; nippin’ at their heels until they finally caved. So you can thank me when you drink it as I’m sure they maybe, sort of, wouldn’t have brought it back without my “encouragement.” That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
Enough about me. What about the beer? It’s brewed with gruit, a blend of herbs including a big ole pile of sweet gale. This stuff dates back to medieval times, baby, and the ritual of how the gale was harvested was key. In fact, legend has it that, to avoid its hallucinogenic properties, sweet gale could only be picked at full moon by nude witches. I’m serious. Could I make that shit up? My only question is, are we talking about sexy witches like Sam on Bewitched, or more of the nasty, Wizard-of-Oz-green-skinned, pointy-nose type? That’s kinda key for me in my gruit fantasy.
Koyt’s got a big, herbal, piney, woody, resiny, and earthy nose. Seems like something Little John should be sloggin’ down while creeping in a bush somewhere in the forest waiting for the tax collector’s stage coach. It’s got a caramel and toffee backbone and a ripe fruitiness in the middle (I have to resist another Little John reference here…Think Robin Hood: Men in Tights). The sweetgale opens up a bit more if you allow it to warm up. An herbal bitterness finishes this well-crafted gruit, perhaps the best we’ve ever rated.
Koyt will be featured in The Rare Beer Club® in January 2016 and will be paired with an 8.5% RBC exclusive, River Horse Brewing Company’s Imperial Chocolate Porter. It’s going to be a solid way to kick off the year, trust me.
If you’re looking to impress a beer geek on your shopping list, look no further and save some money while you’re at it by using our rare craft beer club coupons.
Happy Holidays and may your gale harvest be bountiful.