hist-brewing: RE: hist-brewing digest, Vol 1 #83 - 3 msgs

Michel Ordeman michel at jopenbier.nl
Thu May 30 01:19:39 PDT 2002

As a Dutchman I think I can explain the "hars" question. I dont know the
English word for it, but it is the dark yellow sticky stuff that comes out
of tree barch. It was used in the eastern part of Holland were a lot of pine
trees grow, because they used the hars from pine trees. In the coastal part
the use of gagel was more common because there were more growing sites of
the gagel in the West part of Holland. It is known that gruit was always a
mixture of herbs, there is however no specific information on how this
mixture was made.

The last gruitbeers in the region where I live (Haarlem) disapeared when the
hopped beer were introduced around 1450 - 1500. With the disapearance of the
gruitbeers a lot of the knowledge about it was gone to. There is a theorie
about the gruit mixture, that states that because of the fact that the gruit
was sold to the brewers as a for of beertax, the exact contains of it were
kept secret so that the brewers could not make it thereselves and thereby
were able to brew beer without paying the beertax.

There are two remakes of the Haarlem gruitbeers on the dutch speciality beer
market; a Jopen Koyt a dark 8,5% traditional three grains beer that is made
with gagel (among other herbs), and a Jopen Adriaan a 5% three grains
witbeer like beer that is made with rue and other herbs.

Best wishes, groeten,
Michel Ordeman

> In the Netherlands, which hasn't been mentioned in this debate yet, I
>  (PBL this may be useful for you) the regular ingredients in gruit in the
>  early 15th century seem to have been Myrica gale ("gagel"); Echium
>  viper's bugloss ("slangekruid"), a member of the borage family; bay
>  berries (as used, of course, by the wife of the Elizabethan writer
>  Harrison in her beer brewing); and something called "hars", resin, origin
>  and nature unspecified. My source here is a book called 'Bier:
>  van een Volksdrank', published in English in 1994 as Beer! The story of
>  Holland's favourite drink, which has a fascinating chapter on gruit.
    Thank you.
    Anybody have anymore info on viper's bugloss, bay laurel berries, or
    Knowledge is never wasted, nor is the time to acquire it.


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