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Flying Dog Gruit

April 1, 2013

Flying Dog is a fun and exciting brewery that I’ve definitely spoken about before. They’ve been having some fun experimental brews out as of late, and the other week I got to try something they made that was particularly interesting. Brewing beer is a fun and exciting activity, and it never stops being fun or exciting no matter how large your batch is or how long you’ve been doing it. However, brewing beer has a very long history and like all culinary histories, part of that history is obliterating sections that have been deemed to make a subpar product.*

The rediscovery of old knowledge has been at the forefront of the craft brewing industry for as long as there’s been a craft brewing industry. It’s always been a matter of looking back and realizing that we all didn’t always simply love mass-produced German-style lagers with rice in them. This is where the gruit comes in, a type of ale that was made at a time before hops were predominantly a part of the brewing tradition.

The Gruit poured a dark brown with lots red hues when you held up to the late, making a sort of stained mahogany kind of color. The head was white, however it quickly dissipated, barely leaving a ring along the top of the beer. As can be expected from Gruits being made from a mixture of herb, the scent is something like an herbal tea mixture; you get a sense of tea leaves, a predominantly minty herbal freshness, and strong pine notes. The mouthfeel ended toward a mouthwash-like feeling, thicker than water, fairly smooth, and ultimately refreshing.

The flavors continue the herbal complexity of the nose. There’s a strong hint of mint, along with undercurrents of multiple other herbs. There’s a lot of fresh grass and pine flavor as well, that lead up to a very crisp herbal finish. The only comparison I’ve been able to come up with is that it was akin to Fernet Menta, only obviously with less booze and a less oily mouthfeel. For some people, that means this beer is the best thing ever, for others it is an instant turn off. Ultimately, I’m on the fence about this beer. On the one hand, I really did like it, but on the other I’m glad I only had a 10 ounce pour.

*: This is a lot like why we no longer produce onion ketchup or why there aren’t a multitude of ketchup flavors anymore. Learn more about here.

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