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What’s a Dutch Kuit?

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The Brewers Association released its new style guidelines today, and most who flip through it will probably pause at pg. 21 and think, “What the heck is a kuit?”

First of all, it’s the only style with three different spelling variations: Kuit, Kuyt and Koyt—so, have fun with that. Secondly, it’s indigenous to Holland. Lastly, I can’t think of a U.S. brewery that produces the style.

But it did remind me of Jopen brewery in the Netherlands. I sat down with Jopen-owner Michel Ordeman during the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver last month, and he filled me in on the brewery’s history, which involves the style.

Jopen was essentially born out of the local Haarlem Beer Society, a collection of brewers living in the Dutch city of Haarlem. Back in the early-nineties, the society located a 16th-century beer recipe in the city archives and brewed it in celebration of Haarlem’s 750th anniversary. After the yearlong celebration, Jopen launched with that recipe, known as Hoppenbier, as its flagship. Its second beer, based on a recipe from 1407, was Koyt. Ordeman’s story was the first time I’d ever heard of a kuit (or kuyt or koyt).

According to Jopen, the style’s essentially a gruit, an unhopped beer—Jopen Koyt employs sweet gale and a blend of wheat, oats and barley. It’s not only a style indigenous to the Netherlands, but possibly Haarlem itself. From Jopen:

Battles were fought over this beer in medieval times. The beer uprising in the Frisian city of Leeuwarden, which led to the union of the provinces of Friesland and Holland, was caused by Leeuwarden’s declaration that its own brew be sold and not the Koyt from Haarlem. tweet

Now, the Brewers Association takes a different approach to defining the style. Which is “correct”? I have no idea, I only just heard about the style a few weeks ago. From the Brewers Association’s new guidelines (bold emphasis is mine):

Dutch-style Kuits (Kuyt, Koyt) are gold to copper colored ale. Chill haze and other haze is allowable. The overall aroma character of this beer is grain emphasized with a grainy-bready accent. Hop aroma is very low to low from noble hops or other traditional varieties. The distinctive character comes from the use of minimum 45% oat malt, minimum 20% wheat malt and the remainder pale malt. Hop flavor is similar to aroma very low to low from noble of other traditional European varieties. Hop bitterness is medium-low to medium in perceived intensity. tweet

Hops?

So which is correct? Is the BA suggesting that this obscure style might be an up-and-coming trend in the U.S.? Is there even a chance you can find one to try? I can only answer the last question: Jopen is imported through Atlanta and, if I remember correctly, currently working to expand distribution outside of Georgia.

 

Author
Chris Staten is DRAFT’s beer editor. Follow him on Twitter at @DRAFTbeereditor and email him at chris.staten@draftmag.com.

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7 Comments

  • Din Boekestijn says:

    Last year i was at the Jopenchurch . Met a american there who visited Jopen when he was in holland for business. He advised me to try Jopen Koyt. It is my favourite since then. Glad that i can buy it at my local store for 1.5 dollar a bottle

  • Din Boekestijn says:

    Kuit is koyt,gruut,gruit (kuit is better not used because the exact same word is used for spawn/fisheggs) Gruit is a mixture of herbs wheat and oat with as main ingredient Gagel:

    – Other Species—MURICA GALE, SWEET GALE, ENGLISEI BOGMYRTLE, or DUTCH MYRTLE, the badge of the Campbells. The leaves of this species have been used in France as an emmenagogue and abortifacient, being formerly official under the name of Herba Myrti Rabantini, and containing a poisonous, volatile oil. The plant is bitter and astringent, and has been employed in the northern counties as a substitute for hops, and also mingled with bark for tanning, and dyeing wool yellow. The dried berries are put in broth and used as spices. Formerly it was much used in cottage practice, its properties being similar to those of M. cerifera. It is covered with a golden, aromatic dust, and is thus used to drive away insects. The leaves are infused like tea, especially in China, as a stomachic and cordial. See GALE (SWEET).

    Dutch Kuit/Koyt originates from the dutch cities of Haarlem, Gouda en Delft.(all in Holland = western part of the netherlands)(15th century) after a succes the southern provences of the netherlands (brabant/flanders) banned import of this beer to protect their brewers. This made the beer dissapear again

  • Jon Aichele says:

    There are two breweries in Portland that have made this style recently:

    http://www.newschoolbeer.com/2014/08/hopworks-netherlands-collaboration-kuyt.html?m=0

  • Frederik says:

    The Koyt style was mis-interpreted until a group of historians teamed up in the Campaign for Netherlands Beer-styles. They all agree on the Brewers Association’s new guidelines.
    True Koyt beers are hard to find, hard to brew and expensive with around 50% malted oats and are (and were) made with hops. Slow Food the Netherlands placed them in the Ark of Taste (2014) but it remains unclear if they will survive.

  • Stanley says:

    I know i can brew this @home!

  • basshole says:

    Well what do you know, one of the rarest beer styles in the US, and it can be found at none other than the Avenues Proper brewpub out of Salt Lake City, UTAH of all places! We’re not all Mormon, I swear, and we make some truly great beers! http://www.avenuesproper.com/menus/dinner-menu/

  • qb says:

    I’m enjoying the koyt at Oak & Dagger Brewing in Raleigh, NC. Had it Monday and came back for it again Friday. Their is called Cup of Gogh and is a cold-brewed coffee infused version. Mmmmm . I will also add all 16 of their brews got 90+ scores in my tasting notes. Two kettle sours are also tops.

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