It might still have decorations dangling from it, but next year your Christmas tree will be filling your glass, because Lowlander Beer wants to bottle it. From 2 January, the botanical brewer will be collecting unwanted Christmas trees from Dutch consumers, bars and restaurants to transform them into bottles of its 2019 Winter IPA. Chief Botanical Officer Frederik Kampman: ‘Every December, about 2.5 million real trees bring Christmas spirit into our homes. By New Year, most of these end up in the chipper, on bonfires or piled at the roadside. We have found another use for them: in beer.’

True Lowlander? Click for Dutch press release.

From tree to tipple

The folks at Lowlander Beer went against the grain more than ever this winter by creating a light, refreshing brew for cold, wintry days instead of a typical dark, heavy beer. For that first batch of Winter IPA, the botanical brewery bought the spruce needles from its usual supplier, but in 2019 Lowlander wants to give the beer its subtle flavour using needles from donated Christmas trees. At least six hundred kilos of needles are needed to produce the 2019 batch of Winter IPA.

In order to collect enough trees, Lowlander isn’t just going door to door. Big hitters such as event venue RAI, the Amsterdam botanical gardens and several restaurants  are joining the mission to re-use the country’s leftover Christmas trees; they have pledged to donate their trees to Lowlander after the festive period. Although only the needles are needed for Lowlander’s Winter IPA, the brewery intends to re-use every piece of every donated tree in limited-edition products that include gift sets and bottles of a new creation currently bubbling away in its brew kettle: Lowlander Botanical Brut, a limited-edition sparkling beer made with spruce and Champagne yeast.

The Lowlander Tree to Table campaign

To make the collection, processing and reuse of all these trees possible, after Christmas Lowlander will launch its ‘Tree to Table’ crowdfunding campaign. Kampman: ‘We will collect the trees ourselves to make it super easy for anyone wanting to donate. Straight after collection we need to preserve the quality of the needles so that we can make beer from them. The remains of the trees also need to be turned into the elements of the Tree to Table Botanical Brewkitchen dinners that we’ve got planned – to make this happen we need to pay experts who can turn the leftover trees into, for example, delicious cheeses and smoking chips. By crowdfunding the Tree to Table process we will give the Lowlander community a stake in the project – and the chance to be among the first to experience everything we produce.’ Through the crowdfunding project, new products such as Lowlander Botanical Brut and the Winter IPA gift set will be available for advance purchase, as will tickets for the Tree to Table series of pop-up dinners.

Donate your tree via Beer-worthy trees will be collected from all over the Netherlands. You can easily find out whether Lowlander can brew with your branches by answering three simple questions during the sign-up process. ‘To anyone who hasn’t yet chosen their Christmas tree: blue spruce and Douglas fir give the best results in beer.’

About Lowlander Beer
Lowlander Beer is an award-winning brewery from the Netherlands – literally the Low Lands. Each of its botanically brewed beers has a unique story and a unique flavour. Lowlander’s ‘Chief Botanical Officer’, Frederik Kampman, worked for years in breweries and gin and genever distilleries in both the Netherlands and abroad. ‘As soon as I got into the world of distilling I was gripped by the number of herbs and spices used. As a beer lover, I started to wonder what these botanicals could add to beer.’ And so the idea for Lowlander Beer was born: beer brewed with botanicals.

Since it was founded in 2016, Lowlander Beer has garnered acclaim from both industry insiders and discerning consumers. In 2016, Lowlander won three medals and the Overall Supreme Trophy at the International Beer Challenge in London, and earned itself five stars in the highly respected Difford’s Guide. In 2017, Lowlander won silver in the Best Dutch Witbier category at the Dutch Beer Challenge. At the 2018 World Beer Awards, four Lowlander beers received awards. Most recently, Lowlander Beer won Best Label of The Lowlands.

About Lowlander Beer’s Winter IPA (5%)
Brewed with spruce needles and juniper berries. A refreshing White IPA with hoppy tones and a resinous citrus kick.

At the height of the so-called Little Ice Age, the harsh, bitter winters made the canals and rivers freeze over. Amid such cold temperatures, people started to favour beer over wine, because grains had a higher chance of survival than grapes did. As a tribute to ‘going against the grain’, Lowlander went against the grain in winter 2018 by brewing a White IPA instead of the dark beers more typical of the colder months. Their 5% Winter White IPA, brewed with spruce needles and juniper berries, combines the hoppy and balanced bitterness of a traditional IPA with the fresh maltiness of a witbier. In 2018, this limited-edition beer was sold in more than 700 bars, restaurants, off-licences and supermarkets, scored 3.56/5 on Untappd, and was also sold in shops in France and Germany.