PARKERSBURG - Mother Earth Foods and the North End Tavern and Brewery are collaborating on a new ale for Earth Day.
Plans call for the brew with a hazelnut brown style to be called Health Nut Brown ale, said Chris Hopkins, brewer at the N.E.T. in Parkersburg.
The ale will coincide with the Earth Day observance celebrated by Mother Earth Foods of Parkersburg on April 22. The ale will be served at the N.E.T. as one of its seasonal beverages, Hopkins said.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Chris Hopkins of the North End Tavern and Brewery stands between the mash tank, left, and the kettle in the microbrewery section of the building. The tanks are but two parts of the brewing process.
Hopkins and Dave Hawkins, owner of Mother Earth Foods, have been discussing working together on a product since June.
"I had an idea and bounced it off him," Hopkins said.
The two agreed the Emerson Avenue brewery would brew the ale with Hawkins providing the ingredients, such as organic hazelnuts, molasses, hops and grain.
Health Nut Brown
Plans call for a new brew with a hazelnut brown style to be called "Health Nut Brown" ale, said Chris Hopkins, brewer at the NET in Parkersburg.
The ale will coincide with the Earth Day observance celebrated by Mother Earth Foods of Parkersburg on April 22.
Hawkins said locally produced honey might be added to the mix.
The ale will be gluten free. Gluten is a wheat protein found in many foods.
Sugar will be replaced by sorghum and molasses will be used for the coloring, Hopkins said.
The Earth Day ale will be brewed by the same process as the N.E.T.'s other craft beers and ales, only with different ingredients, Hopkins said.
"The sorghum and nuts will give the ale its flavor," Hopkins said.
Consumed in moderate amounts, ale and beer have health benefits, such as containing B-vitamins, Hawkins said.
Gluten-free beer and ale are popular in larger markets, Hawkins said. He said he would consider adding organic beer and wine to his health food store on 19th Street if city code allows.
Hopkins expects Health Nut Brown to be ready by the end of March.
The popularity of craft beers and ales has increased locally, Hopkins said. The N.E.T.'s seven craft selections represent about 70 percent of the business' beer sales.
Four years ago, the North End Tavern and Brewery was brewing 125 barrels of beer and ale a year. That number increased to 425 barrels in 2011.
The local brewery was in production 41 times in 2011. Hopkins expects to be brewing beer once a week in 2012.
Several restaurants and fraternal organizations in Wood County carry the N.E.T.'s beer and ale on tap and the local brewery has accounts in Clarksburg and Morgantown.
Besides working at the N.E.T., in early November Hopkins, 33, of Parkersburg was hired as director of brewing operations at the Marietta Brewing Company on Front Street. He has developed four craft beers exclusively for the Marietta brewery, pub and restaurant to go along with its two other craft beers.
"Chris is doing a great job," said Marietta Brewing Company owner Tony Styer. "He is thoroughly knowledgeable in the brewing operation. I am a fan of Chris' beer."
Hopkins said he attended a professional brewers certification program in Chicago and served a three-year apprenticeship with a California microbrewery.
Both Styer and Hopkins said the N.E.T. and Marietta Brewing Company are not in competition with each other. Hopkins is using different recipes for his beer and ale and the Ohio beer is not sold in West Virginia and vice versa.