A Beer From the Middle Ages Is Making a Serious Comeback

Hop-forward beer is all the rage today, but in the middle ages many imbibers preferred brews that skewed towards the sweeter side. Now, centuries after it fell out of fashion, Atlas Obscura reports that gruit ale is making a comeback.

Gruit beer is any beer that features botanicals in place of hops. The ingredients that give the drink its distinctive sweet, aromatic taste can be as familiar as ginger and lavender or as exotic as mugwort and seabuckthorn. The herbs play the role of hops by both adding complex flavors and creating an inhospitable environment for harmful microbes.

It may be hard for modern beer lovers to imagine beer without hops, but prior to the 16th century gruit was as common in parts of Europe as IPAs are in hip American cities today. Then, in 1516, that style of beer suddenly vanished from pint glasses: That was the year Germany passed a beer purity law that restricted beer formulas to hops, water, and barley. Many of the key botanicals in gruit beer were considered aphrodisiacs at the time, and the rising Puritan movement helped push the brew further into obscurity.

Hops have dominated the beer scene ever since, and only in the past few decades have microbrewers started giving old gruit recipes the attention they're due. In 2017, the Scratch Brewing Company in Illinois released their seasonal Scratch Tonic, made from a combination of dandelion, carrot tops, clover, and ginger. The Põhjala Brewery in Estonia brews their Laugas beer using Estonian herbs, caraway, and juniper berries. Get in touch with your local microbrewery to see if they have their own version of the old-school beer in their line-up.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]

Fargo Brewing Company's New Beer Cans Feature Adoptable Shelter Dogs

Photography by Adri/iStock via Getty Images
Photography by Adri/iStock via Getty Images

There are worse ways to sell a product than by slapping cute pet pictures on the packaging. At first glance, it may seem like that was the strategy behind Fargo Brewing Company's new beer cans, which feature real dogs on the labels. But the pictures are meant to do more than move beer off the shelf. Each can showcases a real shelter dog that's up for adoption, and by sharing their photographs, the North Dakota beer company hopes to help these puppers find their forever families, WTSP reports.

Jerad Ryan, a volunteer at the nonprofit 4 Luv of Dog Rescue, got the idea while working his day job at Northern Plains Label. Part of the company's business comes from printing labels for local breweries. Instead of just sticking their own logo on the can, Ryan wondered if breweries would be open to sharing that real estate with shelter dogs in need of homes.

4 Luv of Dog Rescue has since partnered with Fargo Brewing Company to make that plan a reality. Six rescue dogs—Nyx, Bizzy, Jensen, Hobie, Moby, and Virginia—have been chosen to have their faces featured on select cans of Fargo Original Lager. Each dog is what the shelter calls a "One-der" dog, or a pup that can only be placed in homes with no other pets. This makes them more difficult to adopt, which is why 4 Luv of Dog Rescue felt they would make perfect candidates for the project.

Fargo produced 40 cases of the special beer cans, 25 of which were sold at a special launch event on November 4. The remaining cans will be available for local buyers to purchase through the end of the week, with a portion of the proceeds going to 4 Luv of Dog Rescue.

[h/t WTSP]

ALDI’s Wine Advent Calendar Will Soon Be Here for the Holidays

Aldi
Aldi

Getting candy from an Advent calendar is perfectly fine for kids, but adults may be craving something a little more sophisticated for the holidays. This wine Advent calendar from ALDI gives you a new reason to celebrate every day leading up to Christmas.

According to Delish, ALDI's Advent calendar was a huge success when it originally rolled out in U.S. locations at the end of 2018. The hit product is returning for the 2019 holiday season, and festive wine connoisseurs can pick up one starting November 6 at ALDI stores that sell alcohol.

For $70, you get a box containing 24 mini-bottles of vino that come from various countries around the world, including South Africa and Australia. And whether you prefer your wine red or white, dry or sweet, sparkling or still, there's a bottle that fits your tastes.

This wine variety pack from ALDI is just one example of the many creative Advent calendars made with grownups in mind. If you prefer to get in the holiday spirit with a can of craft beer, there's a calendar for that, too: It's available from Costco for $10 less than ALDI's wine version.

[h/t Delish]

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