The Gruut City Brewery, of Ghent, Belgium, is launching four hop-free beers in the UK, reviving the medieval method of using herbs to deliver bitterness.
The brewery is working exclusively with importer James Clay to supply to the UK’s on-trade for the first time.
Master brewer Annick De Splenter established Gruut in 2009 and has spent years perfecting the brewing of beers without hops.
After a course in biochemistry and various collaborative links with a number of universities, Gruut Wit, Gruut
Blonde, Gruut Amber and Gruut Bruin are now available in the UK, providing traditional yet innovative brews that push the boundaries of the craft beer market.
Anticipated to be the most popular style, Gruut Blonde competes with traditional Pilsners as a zesty beer delivering bitter, citrus notes, while Gruut Bruin offers deep and rich nutty flavours.
Annick said: “In our region, brewing with gruuts, or herbs or spices, dates back to the Middle Ages, when the River Leie divided Ghent into two parts.
“On the right bank, the brewers used typical beer ingredients, like hops, while those on the left bank, which was ruled by the French, added a mixture of herbs to their beers. Landlords collected a tax from brewers based on the amount of herbs used to make their beer.
“Today, the Gruut City Brewery combines present-day brewing techniques with centuries-old tradition. I’m
really proud of what we’ve achieved and very excited to be launching our beers to the UK for the first time with James Clay.”