Harpoon's "Vermont Spruce Tip" Ale Made from Vermont State Forest Spruce Tips!

Norway spruce tips
Harpoon Brewery's, Tom Graham, recently created a specialty beer for the fall/winter season named Vermont Spruce Tip Ale using spruce buds harvested from Downer State Forest in Sharon, VT (Vermont's second state forest). Drawing his inspiration from the book, The Homebrewer's Garden, Tom sought out the help of State Forester, Tim Morton who knew just the right place to harvest the beer's main ingredient, young spruce tips.

Downer State Forest has a large stand of Norway spruce that hides an understory of spruce saplings. These young evergreens offer easy-to-pick tips or buds. "Harvested at their tender, ripe, bright green peak, the spruce tips impart citrus, pine, spice, herbal and earthy notes" (from Harpoon's website, a description of Vermont Spruce Tip Ale). For the amount of beer that Harpoon wanted to produce, 200 lbs of spruce tips were needed. The process was tricky with only a two-week window for harvesting the tips. Luckily, Tom had 40 volunteers and Tim devised a sustainable spruce tip harvesting plan.

Look for this label
to try Harpoon's new ale
After the tips were harvested over a three-day period in early June, Tom needed a way to keep them fresh until the November brew date. The Vermont Foodbank offered to vaccum pack the tips before freezing. To show their appreciation, Harpoon donated over $2000 to the Vermont Foodbank.

Roughly 40% of Harpoon's annual brewing output is done in their Windsor, VT facility. Visitors are welcome daily to visit the brewery in Windsor and sample Harpoon’s locally-brewed beers straight from the source.

For more on this story, watch Tom's video describing his experience with the Vermont Spruce Tip Ale.
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