You won’t get very far in today’s agriculture world without hearing the term “farm-to-fork.” The locavore movement has taken over restaurants and grocery stores across the country, and more people want to know exactly where their food comes from. Eating local has become an important part of many U.S. communities. But what about drinking local?
We found 10 breweries spread across the country that are sourcing local ingredients to brew their delicious beers. From growing their own hops and specialty crops, to working with local farmers and helping support their community’s agriculture, these breweries are taking the next step in going local.
Take a look at our picks for 10 awesome farm-to-pint breweries:
The Abita Springs company, which is close to New Orleans, grabbed the title as the state’s first craft brewery. Recently, they released a new “Harvest Series” of beers, which incorporates the finest Louisiana-grown ingredients.
“From the very start, we’ve brewed beers that pair well with the kind of food we love to cook and eat here in Louisiana,” says David Blossman, president of Abita Brewing Company. “Using and sourcing local ingredients is a natural progression from our roots and our on-going commitment to always be Louisiana-true.”
Abita’s loyal customers will be able to taste the difference, too. “Locally grown means you can see where ingredients come from, get to know the farmers and harvest at the peak of flavor,” says Blossman. “Customers can taste the difference between real Louisiana ingredients and artificial flavors that are used in some mass-market beers.”
Members of the Abita Harvest Series include a Satsuma Harvest Wit, Strawberry Harvest lager and Pecan Harvest ale. In December, the company is rolling out the Grapefruit IPA, made with Louisiana Ruby Red grapefruit, to add to the collection. Blossman adds that they’re always open to suggestions from customers for their next brew. “We know they’ve got great taste,” he says.
Learn more about Abita’s harvest series at abita.com/brews.
2. Fullsteam Brewery, Durham, NC
Fullsteam Brewery hails from Durham, N.C., with a mission to create a distinctly Southern beer, celebrating both the culinary and agricultural traditions of the region. The company recently celebrated their three-year anniversary, and owner Sean Wilson says they always knew they wanted to do something different. “We have a love for gardening and eating local, but we want our mission to be beyond pairing local ingredients. We wanted to build a ‘Southern beer economy’ with agricultural entrepreneurs that are excited about supplying local ingredients.”
One of the coolest aspects of Fullsteam is their “forager” series, which uses local ingredients from the community. The brewery sends out a call for local ingredients, like persimmons or the native paw-paw, and uses what people bring in to make different beers, in return for compensation. “It’s great to get people to realize what grows in our native soil,” says Wilson. “The coolest thing is when people say, ‘I never knew what a persimmon was, and now I have two trees growing in my backyard.’”
Fullsteam also came up with the hyper-local idea of someday creating a “300 mile” brew, where they will only use ingredients that come from within a 300-mile radius of Durham. Wilson says the idea will hopefully become a reality within the next year, after he secures a few more relationships with local farmers.
Discover what else Fullsteam Brewery has up their sleeves at fullsteam.ag.
3. Lakefront Brewery Inc., Milwaukee, WI
With a focus on sustainability and supporting local business, Russell Klisch of Lakefront Brewery Inc. in Milwaukee says sourcing local was a no-brainer.
“It just makes sense. There’s less transportation and it’s more sustainable,” says Klisch, who started the brewery in 1987 with his brother. “It also adds to the terrior, which is a term that refers to certain taste characteristics of barley and hops, depending on where they’re grown.”
In 2005, the brewery started working with local farmers, encouraging them to grow barley and hops, which is what they’ve used in their beers since then.
Their two signature beers, Local Acre and Wisconsinite are the best representations of their local mission. Klisch says Local Acre was five years in the making of getting local barley and hops. It was the first beer made with 100 percent Wisconsin-grown hops and malt since before Prohibition. The brewery took it a step further with Wisconsinite, which also uses local yeast.
Klisch says they’re constantly looking for more local ingredients to use in the future, and cranberries could be a good possibility.
Get the details on Lakefront Brewery Inc. at lakefrontbrewery.com.