Author: Michael C. Upton | Published: November 16, 2016
The folks at Hopworks Urban Brewery were kind enough to send out samples of their newest project beer, Long Root Ale. HUB is based out of Portland, Ore., so why is it showing up in a Lancaster County column? Agriculture.
When I heard about Long Root I immediately reflected on our area’s rich tradition of farming. Corn, tobacco, and soy make for great cash crops here. Some of that corn may make it into popular beers (Corona, Miller Lite, PBR). Traditionally brewed with some kind of grain — wheat, rye, and most often malted barley — beer is an agricultural pillar.
Adhering to their motto of “using beer as a force for good,” HUB teamed up with Patagonia Provisions (from the parent clothing company who popularized fleece in the ‘80s) to create a beer to revolutionize brewing while significantly benefiting the environment. As its grain component Long Root uses Kernza (a registered trademark of The Land Institute), which is a perennial grain grown using regenerative agriculture practices. I had to look it up. Regenerative agriculture is defined as a practice of organic farming, which helps build soil health or regenerates unhealthy soil. The crop is a perennial, so it doesn’t need to be sowed each year. While the aboveground component of Kernza stands four feet high, the roots tower ten or more feet below the surface.