Brewery makes Winter IPA out of old Christmas trees

A Dutch brewer is using discarded Christmas trees to make its latest seasonal IPA as part of its zero waste Lowlander Tree to Table recycling initiative.

Dutch botanical brewery, Lowlander Beer, is collecting unwanted trees and using their needles to brew its 2019 Winter IPA, as well as a Lowlander Botanical Brut – a limited edition sparkling beer made from spruce and Champagne yeast.

“We brew with botanicals and had a simple idea,” the team said, “Christmas trees that normally end up with the garbage give a second life by brewing botanical beer. Our campaign was so successful that we now need your help to process more than 1000 trees into special botanical beers.”

Around 600 kilos of needles needed to produce the 2019 batch of Winter IPA. The brewery has already 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, but needs is crowdfunding to help with the collection and processing of all the trees.

“We need at least €60,000 to process all donated Christmas trees,” the brewery has said. “For our ambition of zero waste and to process even more logged-on trees that are now on the waiting list, we ideally pick up more so that we can really reuse all trees from peak to root. Put simply, the more money we can collect, the more trees we can process.”

“We do not therefore approach an anonymous bank for a loan, but want to involve you, the ‘crowd’, in this project. In exchange for your contribution, you choose a nice reward”

This season’s limited edition Winter IPA is a 5% white IPA, brewed with spruce needles and juniper berries, “combining the hoppy and balanced bitterness of a traditional IPA with the fresh maltiness of a witbier”. 

While the beer only uses the needles, the brewery us aiming for “zero waste” and to recycle the tree in as many ways as possible with the help of external experts including biologists, gardeners, chefs and pickers help us to reuse everything in a sustainable way. 

Those who invest in the project will receive a range of rewards in return, from bottles of botanical beers, to a 5-course Tree to Table dinner, where the whole tree comes back in the firm of drinks and special dishes.

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.

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