The brewing tradition runs deep in Belgium, with beer being an integral part of the Belgian social life, culture, and diet. The tiny European nation accounts for just one percent of the world’s total beer production. Even some states in the US have more number of breweries than Belgium. Yet, the diversity of beer styles here merely is unrivalled. Why? Well, there’s a reason.
Almost every Belgian village has its unbroken brewing tradition passed from generation to generation for centuries. The fermentation processes and choice of ingredients differ from one culture to the other. Belgian brew-masters’ fondness for innovation, Belgium ensures a stunning variety of brews across textures, colors, aromas, and flavours for all tastes.
Stadsbrouwerij Gruut: The authentic Belgium beer
Stadsbrouwerij Gruut or The Ghent City Brewery Gruut is one place where Belgian brewing traditions come alive. Located in Ghent, the brewery offers handcrafted brews in five varieties, including blonde, amber, brown, wheat beer, and inferno. The brewery is a brainchild of Annick De Splenter, a brewing engineer with a brewing ancestry. At some point in time, her family had the ownership of the famous Riva brewery in Dentergem.
The Ghent City Brewery was previously located in Grote Huidevettershoek 10 in a building, which once housed cafe Igor. The location changed twice after that, n 2014 to Sint-Widostraat, and in 2016 to its present site in Rembert Dodoensdreef. The current building is spacious enough to accommodate brewing installations, lager and yeast tanks, and the taproom. Speaking of capacity, the Belgium Brewery brews five hectoliters of Gruut. The building serves as a day and night café besides, of course, housing the brewery.
The Hop-less beer:
Over the years, The Ghent City Brewery has achieved cult status for its unique recipe, quality focus, and compliance with traditional values. The brewery flaunts modern brewing installation yet follows production methods rooted in tradition. The idea is to ensure authentic brews that keep customers coming back for more from across Belgium, Europe, and the world. More importantly, Stadsbrouwerij Gruut is perhaps the only brewery to use gruit rather than hops.
For the uninitiated, gruit is a spice mixture that renders bitterness and distinct flavor to the concoction. The composition is subject to the gruit producer’s discretion and hence varies vastly. Specifications may vary, but sweet gale, aniseed, nutmeg, cinnamon, horehound, yarrow, and ground ivy, are typical components of gruit. It was once a standard brewing ingredient in Belgium, Netherland, and parts of Germany before hops’ discovery. Lately, gruit has transformed into a colloquial term referring to any beer brewed using gruit.
History, History, and History:
The Belgium brewery uses a coin on the label known as “GRUUT.” The coin has a history to it. It was predominantly used during the reign of Charles V and a few of his immediate successors. It was a time when single and double sizes were used to quantify tax payments. The beer coaster depicts an anamorphosis, a warped image requiring specific optical devices to make sense of. Anamorphosis was the norm during the renaissance to conceal messages.