Drinking For the Cause: New Drekker Collaboration Beer For Food-Issue Awareness

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There are countless ways to give back to your community, but drinking a new Drekker IPA is now one of my personal favorites.

On Friday, Jan. 25, Drekker Brewing Company, Food of the North and the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society (NPSAS) celebrated the release of “Brewed of The North,” a specialty brew made possible by their unique partnership. Brewhalla — a former North Pacific Railroad shop, turned modern drinking destination — filled to the brim with thirsty patrons this past Friday night.

Lynn Brakke (left) and Owen Trangsrud (right), members of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society who grew grains used in
Lynn Brakke (left) and Owen Trangsrud (right), members of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society who grew grains used in "Brewed of the North"

Food of the North brought the reason, NPSAS brought the grains and Drekker brought the drinks.

Along with being a delicious new Drekker beer, part of the proceeds from "Brewed of the North" will go to Food of the North.

Food of the North (formally known as Ugly Food of the North) is an organization seeking to raise awareness for food-related issues. Their first event in 2015 was supposed to be a one-time effort to help raise awareness of food waste, but since then their objectives have expanded.

After receiving more support and interest than expected, they’ve continued to be a part of the movement. Since their founding, Food of the North has hosted 50 unique events about food-related issues.

Food of the North co-founders Megan Myrdal (left), Jeff Knight (center) and Gia Rassier (right) with
Food of the North co-founders Megan Myrdal (left), Jeff Knight (center) and Gia Rassier (right) with "Brewed of the North" cans

As they’ve grown, Food of the North co-founders Gia Rassier, Megan Myrdal and Jeff Knight have divided the organization into three main projects:

  • Ugly Food of the North: food waste education
  • Little Free Garden: building community around the growing and sharing of food
  • And First Fridays at B: monthly networking and idea sharing

Now: the beer.

“Brewed of the North” is a hazy IPA brewed using ancient grains grown by local farmers of the NPSAS, and hopped with lemon drop, hallertau blanc and mosaic. The co-founders at Food of the North didn’t have a lot to do with the nitty-gritty of the beer recipe, but they did contribute to the direction.

“Besides suggesting something lighter and hoppier, we let the Drekker team do what they do best: brew tasty beer!” Rassier says. “IPAs are my favorite, and ‘Brewed of the North’ is light, refreshing and easy-to-drink. Kudos to the Drekker team on its creation!”

Ancient grains ceres, spelt, dylan and einkorn make up 30 percent of the grains in “Brewed of the North.”

If you’re anything like me, now you’re wondering: “What exactly ancient grains?”

According to Oldway’s Whole Grain Council, ancient grains are loosely defined as “grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years.” The council says ancient grains require fewer pesticides, irrigation and fertilization, which helps reduce their carbon footprint.

Mark Bjornstad, co-founder and president of Drekker Brewing Company, says that the four ancient grains in “Brewed of the North” come together to make a unique beer.

“On the aroma, they create sweet and toasty bread notes that have hints of nuttiness,” Bjornstad says. “For flavor, they build a nice hearty graininess that is sweet and gentle. Probably most interesting of all is what they do for the mouthfeel. These forms of wheat add a fluffy and pillowy nature to the way the beer runs over your pallet compared to the crisp and light character typical of barley."

The Drekker staff and Food of the North co-founders in front of brewing equipment at the Brewhalla
The Drekker staff and Food of the North co-founders in front of brewing equipment at the Brewhalla

Bjornstad says, to no one’s surprise, Brewed of the North was the hit of the night. With only 15 barrels brewed, you’d better stop by the Brewhalla or select liquor stores to get the beer in cans, on tap or at growler stations.

If you can’t make it in time to try this beer, don’t worry too much, because according to members of both teams there’s plenty more collaboration in the future. In fact, the founding event for Food of the North was a community potluck at Drekker Brewing, and they’ve worked together on many other projects since.

“Food of the North is an amazing organization and we absolutely love working with them…They do so much great work in our community and add to what makes this area an amazing place to live.” Bjornstad says. “So yeah, you’ll definitely see us continue working together.”

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