“I hate hops”
Now that the clickbait is out of the way – we don’t hate hops. However, we just recently heard someone say it at a brewery. Her logic was that she doesn’t like beer because of the hop flavor. Now it would be easy to tell her to seek less hop forward beers. Or, maybe as a beer drinking collective we take a more unique approach. How about we resurrect the Gruit?
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of encountering one, a Gruit is a type of beer that predates the use of hops. Gruits come in a wide variety of flavors as the malty base is supplemented by a blend of botanicals, such as herbs, spices, and flowers. The style was extremely popular in Europe, particularly in medieval times, before hops became both the dominant flavor and preserving agent in beer sometime during the 16th century.
Gruit beers are characterized by their unique and complex flavor profiles. Some common ingredients used in Gruit beers include yarrow, mugwort, rosemary, and heather. But we’ve also had some Gruits that used berries, stone fruits, spruce tips and birch syrup! Most importantly for hop haters though, Gruit beers do not have (or use very little) hops!
Currently, the highest rated Gruit beers on Untappd are the Strawberry Rhubarb from Scratch Brewing Company, Special Herbs from Upright Brewing Company and the Dandelion-Ginger Tonic, also from Scratch. We haven’t had any of those beers – yet. Personally, two of our favorite Gruits according to Untappd are the Kvasir by Dogfish Head, and the River Runs Gruit by Rock Art Brewery. We last drank these beers in back in 2017 and 2016 respectively…
No (or extremely low) hop profile Gruits may offer beer drinkers a new, complex flavor profile. We would love to see a few more breweries make a Gruit from time to time. Together we can turn “I hate hop” or “I hate beer” people into “I love beer” people.
Any brewery want to collab with us on a Gruit? Send us a DM!
For those NJ residents who love hops, how about taking a trip to one of these breweries?