Before 1516, gruit beer was all the rage. What is gruit ale, you ask? Well, it’s beer that is made with an herb mixture as opposed to the hop-heavy beers that are so familiar today.
Back in the Middle Ages, many drinkers preferred their beer to be made with a variety of herbs such as ginger, lavender, and mugwort. The herbs played the same role as hops, giving the beer flavor and helping to keep out harmful bacteria.
But in 1516, everything changed. The conservative Puritan movement was in full force and Germany passed a law that declared beer could only be made from hops, water, and barley. Why get rid of the herbs? Because many of them were considered aphrodisiacs at the time, and the Puritans had a big problem with that.
And so, for the past 500 years, hops have dominated beer production. But gruit ale has been making a comeback lately. Scratch Brewing Company in Illinois released a beer made of dandelion, carrot tops, clover, and ginger. And a brewery in Estonia makes a special beer using herbs, caraway, and juniper berries. By the looks of it, these gruit ales are making a serious comeback. Let’s see if the bearded, tattooed hipsters in your town start making the switch from IPAs over to these herb-based beers any time soon.
h/t: Mental Floss