So many people registered their trees, the brewer had to close down donations.
We’ve reached that time of year… when you gaze upon that Christmas tree that brought you so much joy over the holiday season and think to yourself, What the hell do I do with this thing now? But if you happen to live in The Netherlands, this year you had an interesting option: You could have donated your old tree to a brewery that wants to make beer out of it.
Inspired by his time working in a gin distillery, Lowlander Beer’s founder Frederik Kampman focuses on brewing with botanicals. For the 2019 batch of his Winter IPA, the plan is for one of those botanicals to be over a half ton of needles from old Christmas trees. Beyond partnering with local businesses and organizations to collect their trees, originally, Lowlander was also offering an option for anyone to donate their tree to the brewery, but as the brand explains on its website, “Due to an overwhelming number of applications, it is unfortunately no longer possible to donate your tree.” Apparently, over 1,000 trees have already been registered.
Beyond his natural love of experimenting with different botanicals in beer, Kampman said the idea was also inspired by giving Christmas trees a more fitting ending. “After an intense period of loving the tree, we then treat the tree as rubbish,” he said in a promotional video. “And that’s exactly what we’re going to change.” Along those lines, the brewer said that he’s looking to produce zero waste from the trees. Not only will the needles go into the beer, but the rest of the tree will be used for things like gift sets and for producing smoked food products.
Still, the beer is the star of the show. Kampman says the resulting brew will be a five percent ABV white IPA produced with both spruce needles and juniper berries “combining the hoppy and balanced bitterness of a traditional IPA with the fresh maltiness of a witbier.” The 2018 edition — which wasn’t made with Christmas trees — was released this past fall. The release of the upcoming old Christmas tree version for 2019 appears to not yet have a date.