August was a HUGE month for beer, with Choice Beer Week and Beervana giving me plenty of good excuses to try many delicious brews. It was an exhausting nine days, and while I wouldn’t even like to guess how many beers I tried during that time, there was definitely one stand out for me.
Each year, Beervana challenges brewers to come up with a brand new beer that fits a particular theme. This year, it was a bit of a tough one – “Let’s go… 3 Outta 4”. In other words, the brewers had to create a “beer” using only three of the four ingredients needed to make it – hops, malt, yeast and water.
Most of the beers replaced the hops with herbs or fruit. Hopmonger used coffee and oranges which was a very tasty combination. Liberty Brewing used apple juice instead of water and used rotten apples rather than brewing yeast to ferment it. But my favourite of the beers, and my beer of the month, was Brew Moon’s True Gruit?
A gruit is a beer that uses herbs for flavouring and bittering rather than hops¹. It’s not a very common style anymore, with hops available in pretty much any flavour – fruity, earthy, bitter, sweet.
Brew Moon’s version not only used a concoction of herbs instead of hops, but they used pinot grape skins instead of yeast to ferment the beer. It was a gorgeous hazy, purple-pink colour and it smelled like a sour beer, with a tartness to the aroma. It also tasted tart, and there was a juice-like character to it, with a fruity, almost citrus flavour, and a dry finish.
While there were many interesting beers on offer at Beervana, Brew Moon’s True Gruit? was both interesting and flavourful , and its easy, sour bite made it the highlight not only of the festival, but of the month.
I was highly disappointed to find out that it had all sold out at Beervana, not leaving any for the beer bars in Wellington to put on tap immediately after the festival. But according to Untappd, I’m not the only one who enjoyed it, so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Brew Moon finds the time to make some more.
¹ Wikipediahas a more detailed explanation.