Fitgers Brew House has been serving their own beer since 1995. But there has always been a byproduct from the brewing that they wanted to utilize.
Brad Nelson, the Culture and Marketing Director for Fitgers Brew House told me, "Lately we have been trying to really expand more local food offerings for our customers. Thats what our customers want and that makes us really happy too. So the idea was what to do with our spent brewing grains."
The brewing process extracts the sugars from the grains, but leaves the proteins and other nutrition's intact. So what could you do with sugarless grains?
"Being a brew pub, like we are, burgers are a really big food item here so if we can tackle the beef, that we use in our burgers, then we know that we can raise our local food percentages a lot." said Nelson.
And not just any kind of beef, Scottish Highland Cattle. They are a hearty breed and absolutely love spent grains.
Rob Strom, the Facility Manager/Herdsman of a small ranch in Twig told me, "Anywhere from 30–40 buckets per week, which ends up being 75% saturated, weighing anywhere from 200–250 pounds per barrel."
Thousands of pounds of grains being consumed by the cattle means less waste and better tasting beef. Highland cattle are also built for the harsh climates that we experience in the Northland.
"They're very good for the habitat, as far as re–pasturing and what they eat. They just have to be monitored and we have rotational braising that we keep all the grass above four inches and you can grown the pasture much more sustainable." said Strom.
From making beer, to feeding cows, to feeding me, the cycle is complete.
You can find the Scottish Highland Steaks at Tycoons and the burgers at the Fitgers Brewhouse.
Meteorologist Adam Lorch