Gent’s only brewpub is down a cobbled street by an industrial canal. It has the smell and feel of a newly opened place that’s not quite ready for business. The pub is inside the brewery, with a metal platform above the brewing kit and a small pebble-filled drainage channel running through the brick floor presenting a mini-obstacle course for anyone not too steady on their feet. It’s clinically white, except for the trendy grey bar and a slate tiled conservatory between there and the toilets – worth seeing for the unusual men’s urinals alone. There’s a small courtyard with bamboos and a few tables outside at the front. When we visited half the room was cordoned off and filled with soft toys, furniture and a pair of stylised brown and white ducks sitting atop the grand piano under a crystal chandelier. I wondered if it was in preparation for a charity function. Finished looking at this, and bored with trying to see renaissance pornography in the beer mats (align them carefully and view through a glass), I turned my attention to the huge modern painting of people from an indeterminate era sitting drinking around small tables. Two women at the front were covering their faces and there was a bald chap wearing a lascivious grin, no shirt over his hairy chest and a blond woman in a pink strapless dress on his arm. An infamous politician perhaps? So - lots of puzzles to occupy the mind, and a bit of history too. Gruut flavours its beers with herbs and spices (“gruut”) instead of hops, as did some local brewers in mediaeval times. A gruut was also a coin and it’s from these that the brewery gets its name and logo. I’m all for maintaining loca traditions but sadly the beers were rather dull. Hops had been used in one but not to great effect. The “Gruut Gazette” is the menu and food comes on square white plates, in keeping with the general feel of style over substance but with odd incongruities, like the slightly tacky anthropomorphic ceramic pig sitting in a barrel next to an elegant glass vase where a solitary black fish meanders through floaty orange fronds. This sums it up – Gruut is neither one thing nor the other. I like the idea and always welcome new brewpubs but this one still has to find its identity. (Last visited 10 June 2011).
Dunno, I kinda felt like I could be in just about any modern brewpub in the world sitting here. Don’t get me wrong, the old building is lovely, and big money has obviously been poured into this place. I walked in from the rainy outside and the owner (i think) was nice enough to greet me. Beers were clean, if not ground breaking, and were safe interpretations of their respective styles. I imagine it’s more geared towards the wider market. Was happy to move on elsewhere.
Very weird brewpub in the South of Gent center boldly limiting its output to beers without hops. They’re brewed elsewhere for the bottling. Obviously an important project, this spacey old industrial building has seen massive investments and seems to be a collection of ideas that lack focus. An seating area above the fermenting vessels, a small water canal travelling on the brewery’s floor, a sofa area, a garden area, there’s a bit of everything and what was lacking on our visit was the service. We waited about 15 minutes before someone came to see us. As for the beers, I only tried the inferno and it was a pretty simplistic strong Golden ale... that would have been better with hops. A lot of interesting ideas, but all over the place both in the glass and in the place.
Fairly central location and relaxed atmosphere. Service was quite okay, but when it got more crowed it was certainly difficult to get any attention. Food was mediocre and the same was the beer I tried. Three small samples are available for €6,50. Both beer and food was fair enough and the place in it self was kind of cool. Worth dropping by if one happens to be in the neighbourhood, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for this one.
Gruut No English tours when I went so I just poked around the tiny brewhouse on my own. Very small it'd be pretty typical in Japan. The staff was happy to chat a bit & give me a rundown of the brews. I ordered a taster, 11€ for 5 beers, and got to work sampling them. The space is small and surprisingly modern. If in Gent pop in, wifi also available.
Seriously worrying that Joris and I rate this one exactly the same. We must both be wrong. There is something distinctly off beat about this converted gaslight production plant. You can sit on top of the brewing kit. And race plastic ducks down the indoor rivulet. Easiest directions I can think of are that when you reach the city end of Brabantdam (as in Trappistenhuis and grotty red light district) take Kortedagsteeg across the canal bridge and it is on your left.
The interior is a bit impersonal, but at the same time kind of nice. Brewing equipment lingers the serving area. Might not be the most exciting brewpub in the world, or brewery if they prefer that, but worth a quick visit while strolling through the city.