Saison de Gruit
Urban Farm Fermentory
200 Anderson St., Portland; 207-773-8331
Why We Dig It
In beer, hops balance against sweetness, impart flavor, and have a preservative effect. What happens if a brewer just leaves them out? You wind up with something like the earthy, floral Saison de Gruit from Portland’s Urban Farm Fermentory. “Gruit” refers to botanical mixtures long used in beers before the widespread adoption of hops in the latter Middle Ages, and head brewer Jason Dionne uses Maine-sourced sumac, yarrow, and mugwort in his Belgian farmhouse-style ale. UFF is the rare brewer to devote a whole rotating lineup to the style. Among the unconventional draughts coming up: a spruce-tip session ale and a roasted-beet and a dandelion-root brown ale.