Hopless Romantic: A BLC/Big C Brewing Collaboration



Hopless Romantic is a gruit ale we brewed alongside Frank F. of “Big C Brewery” for the North Fork Craft Beer, Wine & BBQ Fest. In keeping true-ish to this historical style, it was brewed with shiso, spruce, tarragon, rosemary and mint, but no hops. Traditionally all ales used a “gruit” (a mix of herbs, roots, flowers and/or spices) instead of hops as a bittering and flavoring agent which is what we tried to achieve with Hopless Romantic.



The idea to brew this beer was born out of our previous gruit ale effort, Saint Remo. As you may recall this beer was served at the 2013 Spring Craft Beer Festival at Nassau Coliseum (and was a favorite of LIB Magazine). We really enjoyed the brewing process combined with the sometimes challenging aspect of avoiding hops. Saint Remo was a bit on the heavier side, as spruce was the main flavoring agent, so we wanted to do something lighter for summer.

With this version we tried to create something new while still incorporating elements of this ancient style. The idea to use shiso in beer developed on a recent trip to Japan and we were lucky enough to find some growing right here on Long Island (thanks, Regina & Paul of Blind Bat!). Shiso has an herbal, minty and almost chocolate-like quality that we immediately thought would nicely compliment a hopless ale.

The combination of herbs left Hopless Romantic with a sweet, spicy, fruity and slightly floral aroma and taste. The medium body wound up being a bright, hazy orange due to the variety of ingredients we used. It really seemed that there was something for everyone in this beer, as it had a lot of fans in the crowd and even seemed to get favorable reactions from people who aren’t so into beer. Overall it was refreshing and unique and something we were proud to have our name on. Something tells us this isn’t the last gruit we will be brewing either, as it’s a fun style that lends itself well to experimentation.


Sometimes you have to baby your beer.


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