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Good Beer Requires Good Water, Forests Can Help

Beer IPA on the counter
The Forest to Tap sapling giveaway event is April 29th at participating breweries all across northern Minnesota

When encouraging people to think about clean water, there are a few captive audiences who will always listen: Boundary Waters canoeists, research scientists, and... beer drinkers? This Friday, April 29th at taprooms across northern Minnesota, clean-water group Forest to Tap (F2T) is hosting its 3rd annual seedling giveaway event. To help spread the word about the event and the importance of forests in creating and protecting clean water, KAXE's John Bauer spoke with Patrick Sundberg of Jack Pine Brewery and Mark Jacobs, volunteer with F2T.

F2T is a non-profit based program that creates public awareness about the connection between forests and clean water. The collaboration between water-protectors and local brewers makes sense on many levels, but mainly because of how important great water is to creating great beer. "Beer is at least 90% water," Sundberg said. "We use it throughout the brewing process: in the cleaning process, in the mash process. Having high-quality water is paramount. You got to have good water to make good beer. Start with a clean ingredient and go from there. With chemistry, we can tweak the water, but it all starts with a good water profile to make really good beer."

The connection between healthy and vibrant forests and clean water may not be crystal clear, but according to Jacobs, forests are important resources for water quality. "80% of our groundwater comes through the forests, and they filter the water before it gets to streams and ground water," he said.

So is the event a beer event, a water event, or a forest event? Well, why not all three? "Breweries are a user of forest products," Jacobs said, "and clean water is a product of our local forests. We thought with the customer profile of our craft breweries these are people who would care about that and they would be a good audience to engage with in this process. The seedlings that we're giving away tonight were donated by UPM Blandin. We've got a lot of good partners who want to work to educate the public on this important connection."

To get people excited about planting trees to protect water, F2T is giving away White Spruce seedlings. According to Jacobs, this tree species is a good choice for the average tree planter. "White Spruce is a versatile tree, it will live pretty well in most conditions. Within the next few weeks, you should be able to plant. And we do recommend you plant it green side up for best chance of survival."

The event takes place at Jack Pine in Baxter, Bemidji in Bemidji, Klockow in Grand Rapids, Block North in Aitkin, Cuyuna in Crosby, and Big Axe in Nisswa. No purchase is necessary.

But, like Bauer said at the end of the interview, "there's no reason for anyone to get thirsty."

You can learn more about Forest to Tap by clicking here.

Forest to Tap Logo

And learn more about your local taproom participating in this clean-water initiative by visiting their website.

Jack Pine Brewery in Baxter

Klockow Brewing in Grand Rapids

Bemidji Brewing in Bemidji

Block North Brew Pub in Aitkin

Cuyuna Brewing Company in Crosby

Big Axe Brewing Company in Nisswa

John has been listening to KAXE since the early days in 1976, and has worked as our Development Director since 1995. You can hear him on the Morning Show Fridays and producing segments about community mental health.
Max Philbrook (he/him) is a Producer at KAXE focused on telling the stories of the people, events, and organizations that make up the fabric of northern Minnesota. Based out of Grand Rapids, Max spends his time reading fiction at the library, seeing sports and live music, and supporting the arts and cultural events in the area. Get in touch with Max if you have a story to tell, an event to publicize, or just want to chat about life in the northland.