A Dutch brewer is going door-to-door to collect people’s unwanted Christmas trees so that he can make winter beer out of the pine needles.
Frederik Kampman of the Lowlander Brewery in Amsterdam has been travelling through the Netherlands’ capital in his small van collecting Christmas trees from locals, and giving them a beer in exchange.
Kampman thought of making beer out of the seasonal pines after seeing dozens of dumped trees on the roadside after last year’s Christmas holidays.
Kampman said: “I realised that we could make something nice out of them, but it took a lot of testing until we got the right recipe to make something tasty.”
He said that his brew is a nice way of showing people that waste can often be recycled for other use.
The Dutchman needs to collect a total of 200 Christmas trees, good for 600 kilogrammes (1,323 lbs) of needles, to make this year’s batch of winter beer.
He only accepts unspoiled natural trees as those sprayed with fire retardants and chemical additives such as fake snow can be dangerous for consumption.
Kampman said that his beer was inspired by gin distillers who use all kinds of organic raw materials to add a unique flavour.
First, the brewer has to pluck all the individual needles off the tree.
Before the needles are used in the brewing process, Kampman freeze-dries them before putting them in neutral spirits to enhance the flavour.
Besides the spruce needles, Kampman also uses juniper berries to add a winter-like taste to his beer.
The final result is his Lowlander Winter IPA (Indian Pale Ale), which has an alcohol content of five percent.
Kampman describes the beer as a having the “hoppiness and balanced bitterness of a traditional IPA” combined with the wheat base of a Belgian witbier (white beer).
He said that the flavour “conjures up instant images of Christmas trees and winter walks”.
Kampman added: “Our Winter White IPA is a full-flavoured easy-sipper that doesn’t compromise on flavour – it is the perfect winter pick-me-up.
“We decided to go against the grain and eschew typical heavy winter beer styles in favour of something more refreshing and light.”