GRUIT—THE RETURN OF LONG LOST BEER FLAVORS. This article in the Wall Street Journal (October 12) by William Bostwick reports on the movement among craft brewers to bring back beer flavors that have been lost for centuries. The key is a return to gruit. This wikipedia article on gruit says: “Gruit (sometimes grut) is an old-fashioned herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer, popular before the extensive use of hops.” Hops is associated with bitter flavors; for example, India Pale Ales (IPAs) are considered strongly hopped. Hops displaced other flavors in beer hundreds of years ago. the wikipedia lists some of the large variety of ingredients that were used to flavor beer in the past: “black henbane, juniper berries, ginger, caraway seed, aniseed, nutmeg, cinnamon,….” The wikipedia article also cites brewers who are currently using flavorings such as heather flowers, pine twigs, spruce buds, sweet gale, mugwort, and bog myrtle.

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