Grand Teton Brewing Company, known throughout the West for their exceptional craft brews, has created what might be the first-ever all-Idaho beer, named “Idaho Pale Ale.” This exceptionally flavorful India Pale Ale (IPA)-style brew was crafted only with hops grown in Southwest Idaho, high country barley grown and malted in Southeast Idaho, and pure Teton mountain spring water.
This got me to thinking about breweries that are working with locally-sourced ingredients—or better yet, ingredients the brewery grew and produced themselves. The two breweries that are growing their own ingredients right now, of course, are Sierra Nevada and Rogue: both offer “estate” beers that are brewed with malt and hops that are either grown on their own property or on land they lease.
While very few breweries can afford to grow their own ingredients—Rogue and Sierra Nevada are the only two that I’m aware of—there are others like Grand Teton who are sourcing their ingredients as locally as possible. (“Local” in the brewing sense that all of the ingredients are coming from the same state or region—think “Pacific Northwest”—rather than the 100-mile radius that “locavores” might allow.)
- Deschutes Brewery occasionally releases an “Oregon Ale” (which first nearly two years ago for Oregon’s sesquicentennial) which is brewed from all-Oregon ingredients: malt and hops, of course, but also Oregon-grown berries, and more recently, honey.
- Fremont Brewing Company in Seattle produces small-batch beers using all local ingredients: “We use barley from the Okanogan Valley in British Columbia, hops from a 4th generation hop-growing family in the Yakima Valley and water from the Cedar River Watershed in the Cascade Mountains.”
- North Carolina’s Fullsteam Brewery is on a mission to “craft a distinctly Southern beer style using local farmed goods, heirloom grains, and Southern botanicals” which intrigues me greatly from an indigenous American beer style standpoint.
Moving beyond the base ingredients, of course, many breweries have a long history of adding locally-sourced ingredients to beer: fruits, spices, herbs, grain adjuncts, vegetables, and more.
But it’s this narrowing of focus that is interesting—the brewing of all-local beers in the manner of Grand Teton, Fremont, Deschutes, Sierra Nevada, and the others: a trend worth watching. I know of no single source or directory of breweries that are doing this, but I think this would be a valuable resource: start with a notation on their RateBeer listings, possibly, and then move into a full-featured directory listing offering not only the brewery involved but also the details of the ingredients and the beers brewed with them.
It’s a list worth starting. What other breweries are sourcing and brewing locally?
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