MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A new local beer is being released this weekend thanks to an excess of breakfast cereal. Cascadian Farm by General Mills handed over some of their limited edition Kernza cereal to 56 Brewing in northeast Minneapolis.
Forty kegs worth of the limited edition Kernza Harvest Honey Amber Lager were tapped Friday at 56 Brewing, and they will officially be served to the public starting Sunday at the brewery’s Harvest Fest.
“It’ll last about six to eight weeks at the most and then it’s gone, so enjoy it while it lasts,” said Kale Johnson, 56 Brewing founder and CEO.
What makes this brew so special? There is Kernza grain cereal in it from Cascadian Farm.
“We were able to use grains and then add the kerns of cereal into the mash,” Johnson said. “It gives us that little nutty flavor, a little bit of earthiness.”
Tammy Kimbler with Cascadian Farm says they initially grew Kernza grain for commercial use because she says Kernza’s deep roots help lower their carbon footprint.
“We do know from initial tests that it’s pulling carbon out of the atmosphere,” Kimbler said.
However, flooding last summer killed half the harvest, so it wasn’t enough to produce a national product for grocery shelves. Instead, Cascadian Farm made a small batch of cereal, giving part of it to 56 Brewing and selling the remaining boxes to grow Kernza grain in the future.
“It’s exciting to see Kernza come to life in yet another form,” Kimbler said. “For us, we felt compelled to make sure there was no waste whatsoever.”
Cascadian Farm is still selling their limited edition cereal boxes.
After they use that money to harvest more Kernza grain without the interruption of flooding, they hope to put the cereal on national grocery store shelves in the next two to three years.