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Taking It Back to Basics at Ghent’s Gruut Brewery

by Brandon Schultz

Jun 18, 2019

© Bmosh99 | Dreamstime

Trends / Food & Drink

Breweries are everywhere today and, while many craft and microbreweries specialize in particular styles of beer, few are quite as specialized as Ghent Gruut Brewery in Ghent, Belgium. Here, the current craze for hop-heavy India Pale Ales is entirely eschewed as absolutely no hops at all are used in the brewing process. Before you clamor to claim this can’t be beer at all as everyone knows the four ingredients of beer are grain, water, yeast, and hops, consider hops weren’t actually added to beer until the 13th century. Before then, all beers were flavored with herbs and spices, or gruut, as the French population of medieval Ghent called them.

 

After a lifetime immersed in brewing (both her parents came from brewing families) and educations in both biochemistry and history that helped her rediscover a method for brewing without hops, Annick De Splenter has owned Ghent Gruut Brewery, successfully producing only gruuts, for 10 years. The brewery’s 100-person tasting room is open for regular tours and tastings, and you can enhance the experience by arriving by boat after a water tour of 50, 60 or 90 minutes. If you’re feeling alchemical, you can take a deeper dive into the process by creating your own Gruut blond with the help of the brewery staff, and enjoy a bottle of your own creation.

 

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