With at least six hundred kilos of needles needed to produce the 2019 batch of Winter IPA, the brewery has partnered with organisations such as the Amsterdam Botanical Gardens, Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Centre, and restaurants, who have pledged to donate their trees after the festive period. Lowlander is also offering to collect any unwanted trees from people who wish to donate.
More than 1,000 Christmas trees have been registered for donation, and Lowlander has launched a ‘Tree to Table’ crowdfunding campaign to help with the collection and processing of all the trees.
While the beer only uses the needles, the brewery is aiming for ‘zero-waste’ by using every part of the tree with gift sets and bottles of Lowlander Botanical Brut (a limited edition sparkling beer made from spruce and Champagne yeast).
Trees will also be used to make a range of smoked cheeses and smoking chips in Lowlander’s pop-up ‘Tree to Table Botanical Brewkitchen Dinners’, which are held in both the Netherlands and the UK. The brewery also envisions other possible uses for the trees – in making smoked fish or sausages for example.
Botanical inspiration: from gin to beer
Lowlander Beer was founded in 2016 by Frederik Kampman, who learnt about the use of botanicals while working in a gin distillery in the UK.
Taking inspiration from gin category, the brewery has already experimented in using ingredients such as curacao orange, coriander and liquorice root.
“Our diverse backgrounds as brewers, mixologist, distillers and foodies both in the Netherlands and abroad gives us a different perspective on what beer can be,” says Kampman.
The idea for 2019 Winter IPA came from observing the 2.5 million Christmas trees which are enjoyed over the festive period - and then discarded in the new year.
“After an intense period of loving the tree, we then treat the tree as rubbish,” said Kampman. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to change.
“Discovery of and experimenting with botanicals and beer is in our DNA, so this year we will collect this so-called rubbish and create something truly special with it. We pick and preserve the needles of all the trees we’ve collected and use these to brew our 2019 Winter IPA.”
Brewed with spruce needles and juniper berries, the Winter IPA is described as ‘a refreshing White IPA with hoppy tones and a resinous citrus kick’.
The resulting Winter IPA - a 5% White IPA – is brewed with spruce needles and juniper berries, 'combining the hoppy and balanced bitterness of a traditional IPA with the fresh maltiness of a witbier'.
This season, the limited-edition beer has been sold in more than 700 bars, restaurants, off-licences and supermarkets in the Netherlands as well as selling in shops in France and Germany. The beer scored 3.56/5 on Untappd.
The beer is available for purchase online from The Drinks Shop and Amazon; and the brewery has plans for UK expansion in both the on-trade and off-trade in 2019.