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
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.