Cans of Long Root Ale

Beer drinkers can raise their glasses to the quest for a sustainable future with a new brew called Long Root Ale. It’s made from a kind of wheat called kernza.

Kernza is a perennial, which means it grows back year after year. Because kernza fields are not replanted each year, the fields do not need tilling, so carbon stays in the soil instead of being released into the atmosphere. And the plant’s long, deep roots help it conserve water and hold onto nutrients, so it’s more resilient to heat and drought.

Birgit Cameron is with Patagonia Provisions, the food division of the clothing company. She says Patagonia created Long Root Ale to introduce more people to this new crop.

Cameron: “It’s a great way of promoting or at least supporting a new crop that can also remove a little carbon from the atmosphere.”

For now, kernza is only farmed on a small scale. Long Root Ale is the first major commercial product to use the grain. But Cameron says there are more kernza foodstuffs in the pipeline, both at Patagonia and elsewhere.

That’s promising for consumers who want to eat and drink well while saving the planet.

Cameron: “It tastes mighty fine.”

Reporting credit: Franklin Crawford/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy (includes Patagonia Provisions video screen capture).

Samantha Harrington, director of audience experience for Yale Climate Connections, is a journalist and graphic designer with a background in digital media and entrepreneurship. Sam is especially interested...