The word ‘Gruut’ is the Flemish term for botanicals – herbs, fruits and spices used in the brewing process. And while the Gruut brewery isn’t old –founded just a decade ago – its methods most certainly are.
Gruut, or ‘Gruyt’, was traditionally used in medieval breweries located in areas under French rule where hops were outlawed. Alternatively, German law insisted upon the use of hops. Annick De Splenter, founder of Gruut brewery, uses her inherited knowledge and a brewing degree from the University of Ghent to create a range of botanical wheat beers enjoyed by an international audience.
This brewery has moved to larger premises on a number of occasions and you can now find it at on the site of an old leather-working factory, just a ten minute walk from Ghent’s famous Gravensteen fortress (more about the Gravensteen later on). Take a tour of the brewery or reserve your place at a Beer Alchemy session where you will be given free rein to add your personal choice of botanicals to Gruut blond. Gruut also boasts one of the best restaurants of any of the local breweries (try Gruut chutney!). If you are looking for a walking tour of Ghent that reflects the city’s brewing history, book a three hour beer tasting tour of the city with Gruut’s own ‘beer coach’. You’ll find all the relevant information – in English – on their website.
Address: Rembert Dodoensdreef 1, Ghent.
Web link: http://www.gruut.be/en
Gentse Gruut White
Produced using honeyed malt and naturally cloudy, this white beer with a thin head contains no hops. While the recipe is kept under lock and key, most in the know agree with the presence of significant citrus and cinnamon notes. The aftertaste of Gentse Gruut White is bittersweet and slightly herbal and reminiscent of coriander and fennel. A soft, dry and creamy beer with a delicate spiced and slightly fruity flavour which isn’t overbearing. Fresh and light.
Gentse Gruut Blond
Soft but flavoursome sweet malt with a neutral flavour. This blonde is used as the basis for the Gruut brewery Beer Alchemy sessions and is completely suited to this purpose. Hazy with a thin head, Gruut blonde beer is dry and spicy but light on the palate, with a slightly bitter spice and herb aftertaste. Quenches the thirst and a good summertime blonde.
Gentse Gruut Amber
The Gruut brewery’s tribute to old English ale, Gruut Amber is a multigrain beer with small quantities of slightly roasted malt. Grains tend to dominate the flavour of Gruut Amber but are sufficiently offset by its botanicals. Quite fizzy, with caramel and plum to balance the grain, this ale borders on the sweet. Aftertaste is long and flavoursome with spice and roasted grains lingering the longest.
Gentse Gruut Brown
With a syrup-like texture and light fizz, Gentse Gruut Bruin (Brown) strong dark ale is not as ‘chewable’ as some, but still offers a depth of flavour that many drinkers consider completely unique. This Belgian cuvee is creamy and dry with heavy nut and malt flavours that start soft but build up (perhaps ‘crescendo’ is a better word) into a powerful, long aftertaste.
Gentse Gruut Inferno
Spot the odd one out. Inferno is the only Gruut beer that contains hops. This is a delicate ale that tastes distinctly of honey and dried apricot without being either too sweet or too fruity. However, the flavour is more sweet than bitter. And while you will taste the alcohol, the high ABV is disguised by Inferno’s soft and very light texture.
Next: Huyge Brewery