Summit Land Conservancy, brewery team up for new beer
When members of the Summit Land Conservancy staff read an article last year about breweries using wild hops in their beer, they got an interesting idea: What if there are wild hops in Summit County?
A year later, after the conservancy discovered there are hops to be found on the lands it protects, a new beer has been born. The conservancy and Wasatch Brewery teamed up to use local hops to create a new beer, unveiling the Clothing Hoptional Wild Hops Ale Oct. 10.
"It’s a natural partnership," said Judy Cullen, director of marketing for Wasatch Brewery. "Obviously our business uses a lot of hops, and Summit Land Conservancy has a lot of land that they’ve preserved — which we are very much in support of — that happens to have a lot of wild hops on it. We thought it would be a great opportunity."
Over the summer, staff from the conservancy and volunteers went on "hop hunting" trips throughout Summit County. They ended up with 42 pounds of hops, enough to make a large batch of the beer.
"That doesn’t seem like a lot, but these buds are pretty flowery and light," said Heleena Sideris, AmeriCorps intern and programs assistant for the conservancy, who led the hunts. "So it was buckets upon buckets upon buckets. We were all really impressed and excited. We were kind of like kids in a candy store when we got to the end."
The beer is available on tap at two Wasatch Brew Pub locations — at 250 Main Street in Park City and 2110 South Highland Drive in Salt Lake City. Each beer sold benefits the conservancy, with $1 going towards its fight to preserve open land in Summit County. While the supply is limited, the beer was still available as of Friday morning.
Cullen said many supporters of the conservancy have flocked to the pubs to buy the beer. But they aren’t the only ones who have enjoyed the wild hops.
"A lot of our guests have been buying it because they really like it," Cullen said. "It’s kind of a win-win for everybody."
While no plans are currently set to make this an annual event, that option is being explored.
"This is something unique for the community to get involved in," Sideris said. "You don’t usually equate hunting for hops with saving land, but we went off and made that connection."
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