Goat Ridge Brewing joins forces with Kernza boosters with new Root Down beer (VIDEO)

Goat Ridge Brewing Co. of New London recently unveiled a special beer collaboration with research done by the University of Minnesota. The new beer, called Root Down, is a unique hybrid lager brewed with Kernza perennial grass.

On Saturday, April 6 at Goat Ridge, owner and brewer Josh Reed hosted a special celebration of the grand opening of the New London Food Co-op and his new beer, Root Down. Speaking at the event were Reed, Erik Hatlestad of the New London Food Co-op and Katharine Chute from the U of M Forever Green Initiative.

Katharine Chute is a product and market development specialist who has been promoting the U's Forever Green Initiative. This project is based at the U's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences department. She provided information and literature to guests at Goat Ridge on Saturday.

Summer annual crops dominate Minnesota's fields in the summer months. These highly productive crops, which include corn, soybeans, sugar beets and other cash crops, only grow on the landscape for a three- to four-month period. For the remainder of the year, the soil is often left bare.

Topsoil can be blown away by wind, which leads to contamination of our air and water.

Rain can wash topsoil off fields and transport nutrients from fields into lakes, rivers and groundwater.

One solution to this problem comes from the University of Minnesota's Forever Green Initiative. This program is developing profitable winter annual and perennial crops that fit our agricultural system and provide continuous living cover. Goals of utilizing these crops include protection of soil and water, providing wildlife habitat and enhancing rural economies.

One crop being studied as part of the Forever Green Initiative is intermediate wheatgrass kernza.

The benefits of kernza begin with it being a perennial crop with nutritious grain and low input requirements. The University released its first commercial variety of Kernza Intermediate Wheatgrass in 2019, naming it MN-Clearwater, as a nod to the many lakes in our state and importance of clean, safe water throughout Minnesota.

Kernza reduces erosion and enhances soil health. Kernza also prevents nitrogen contamination of surface, ground and well water.

Uses of kernza being studied in terms of economic benefits include food and brewing plus forage harvest and grazing.

Food that can be made from kernza includes grain cereals, pancake or waffle mixes, flour and pasta.

The University's food-science team and commercialization team are working together with a range of interested commercial partners to determine how IWG can be incorporated into their food products as a green and earth-friendly crop. Food companies, restaurants and businesses have especially been interested in incorporating IWG into their product lines and on their menus in order to attain sustainability goals and gain valuable marketing advantages by reducing their greenhouse gas footprints.

The attached video features part of the presentation (the tail end of it) of the unveiling of Root Down at Goat Ridge Brewing Co. in New London on Saturday, April 6. Additional coverage from that afternoon was published in the Bonanza Valley Voice newspaper's April 11 issue.

You can see the Bonanza Valley Voice photo gallery from that event by clicking here: https://t.ly/SRv6-.


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