This fall, Patagonia is rolling out a surprising new product — a brand new line of eco-conscious beer.
The beer, dubbed Long Root Ale, launched October 3 and is produced by Patagonia Provisions, a sustainable food offshoot of the popular outdoor clothing company. Their other products include everything from sustainably sourced wild salmon to grass-fed buffalo jerky. Who knew our favorite fratty fleece jacket maker had so many diverse products?!
Patagonia has long been known for its environmental consciousness, and this isn’t the company’s first venture into the beer market—they partnered with New Belgium in 2013 to make an organic lager called California Route, only sold in 12 Patagonia stores.
This new beer is the first to be made with Kernza, a perennial breed of “superwheat.” Long Root Ale contains 15 percent of unmalted kernza, and is 5 1/2 percent alcohol by volume. Kernza is a fairly new product, and it was bred from a species of perennial wheat grass about a decade ago. It’s a new grain developed and trademarked by The Land Institute, an agricultural research center.
Since it’s a perennial plant, it grows back every season, and only needs half as much water as traditional wheat thanks to Kernza’s long roots. It thrives without tilling, which prevents soil erosion, and Kernza crops don’t die after harvest so they can grow all year round. Sounds like an eco-friendly win in our book.
Patagonia Provisions’s new beer was brewed at the Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, Oregon, and you can buy 16-ounce cans at Whole Foods stores on the west coast. While the wheat is good for the environment, so is the production of Long Root Ale. Hopworks recycles or composts 98.6 percent of its waste, and makes an effort to use as much sustainable energy as possible. Birgit Cameron, the director of Patagonia Provisions, said that Hopworks “has a tremendously deep story and an incredible reason for being. It will tell the story of the Land Institute and their efforts.”
Patagonia is hoping that using Kernza to make beer will help reduce climate change, while also quenching America’s thirst for quality beer. Other breweries are also making efforts to produce beer in a more sustainable way — remember the sewer brewer? One San Francisco-based startup called Regrained is turning the used grain from beer-making into granola bars, and the Alaskan Brewing Co. installed a furnace that burns the used grain to make steam, powering brewery operations.
Patagonia’s Long Root Ale just launched, so there haven’t been a lot of reviews yet, but it’s been described as having a hoppy, grapefruit flavor, and the Kernza gives the ale a spicy, nutty flavor. The can is designed with the Patagonia brand’s signature mountain logo, and the back reads, “You don’t get carbon credits, but it’s a damn good beer.” We’re just hoping it tastes as good as it looks.