Legend has it that young maidens who wanted to know who their true love might be would sip upon a lavender brew and chant St. Luke’s Verse, imploring the saint to reveal their identity in her dreams that night. “St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me. In my dreams, let me my true love see.”
Copper in colour, St. Luke’s Verse Gruit Ale offers up an aromatic herb-and-spice bouquet of lavender accented by thyme and rosemary. This is a flavourful, balanced beer that is highly nuanced but very approachable. Gruits are beers made with herbs, spices and other botanicals, and St. Luke’s Verse was first brewed in 2014 for International Gruit Day Feb. 1 (www.gruitday.com).
Centuries ago it would have seemed odd to consider using only one herb to spice beer. Dozens of plants, such as bog myrtle, yarrow, heather, and juniper were commonly used in ancient brewing. These beers were known as Gruit or Grut (German for herb), and a brewers’ spice blend was a proprietary and carefully guarded secret. After the Reinheitsgebot (Bavarian Purity Act of 1516) ordered that only hops be used to spice beer, the Bavarian style of brewing took hold in most of Europe, and the gruit gradually faded into obscurity. Luckily, some craft breweries have rediscovered this ancient form of brewing. Craft brewing is all about discovery and experimentation, and gruits are one of the best examples of this pioneering spirit!
This gruit ale’s intense lavender aroma is accentuated and enhanced with sub-notes of thyme and rosemary. St. Luke’s Verse exhibits firm flavours that parallel the aromatic bouquet, and present themselves in unison as a deliciously drinkable potpourri. 600 ml, 5.7% alc./vol.