Oast House (Niagara on the Lake, Ontario)
Jopen Bier (Haarlem, the Netherlands)
To understand this beer we need to put our historical beer nerd hats on for a minute, please allow me this indulgence. The beer type is technically classified as a Koyt beer, a version of a Gruit beer. The current master of this beer style is the brewmaster at Jopen Bier in Haarlem, who worked on this beer. He explains that this recipe was recovered from city archives which dated back to the 13th century. iiiii’m listening.
So he says that Gruit beer is very important in the history of beers. It is an old fashioned way of bittering or flavoring a beer before hops were used. The catholic church, and the abbeys brewing all the beers, had a complete monopoly on the gruit herbs and the rebellion of the reformation goes hand in hand with the explorations in alternative ways of flavoring and bittering beers: hence hops were developed! Some of the herbs that go into various gruits are sweet gale, mugwort, yarrow, ground ivy, horehound, and heather. (This sounds like an MF Doom Tracklist)
So a Guit is a beer that is brewed without hops! (Did you hear that Scott?!) The Koyt is just a regional northern Dutch revivalist style of this hop-less beer brewing.
They are malt forward in flavour and generally follow a grain bill consisting of 45% oat malt, 35% barley malt and 20% wheat malt.
I would assume ZERO.
Appearance / Aroma:
It is a gorgeous and rich chestnut brown colour, red at the edges. The beer is now 3 days old in the growler so it’s carbonation is down a bit and its head is very noticeably not as present as it was on the first pour but it was a heady, thick beer first pour for sure. Gorgeous cream colour and a lot of depth to it.
It smells like oats.
Taste / Feel:
It tastes like oats. Honestly it has a depth which unravels for a while but it’s really just wave after wave of oats to me. Oats malts oats. I had a few beers like this on my bike trip through Holland. If I’m honest, I miss the hops… I feel like it drinks like a breakfast beer. It’s very stern, very serious- I feel like I would have liked it to lighten up a bit.
Overall- I am fascinated by it- it has taught me a lot about what malt truly means- this is the most definitive malt experience of my drinking … Career. I’ve learned more from drinking this beer than any other. Would I want to drink it all the time? No. Am I glad it exists? Oh, dear me, yes. A special experience.