What most of us think of as weeds — dandelions — can be made into beer.
Red Rock Brewing Company is using dandelion greens in place of hops as a bitter for a Belgian style ale. Their creation, Paardebloem — a Flemish term for dandelion — will be distributed nationally. The beer was produced in collaboration with New Belgium Brewing of Ft. Collins, Colo.
Red Rock’s version won a gold medal last year in the experimental beers category of the Great American Beer Festival.
New Belgium Brewery became a fan and will brew about 42,000 gallons as part of its Lips of Faith experimental beer program.
Paardebloem came about when Red Rock ran out of hops in 2008. Their usual supplier demanded a long-term contract, according to the company, and the head brewer balked. Kevin Templin considered bark, juniper berries and peppers, finally settling on the ubiquitous flowers.
He worked with a former Red Rock brewer, who is now the plant engineer at New Belgium.
Red Rock employees went to Ft. Collins to help with the brewing in February, pulling apart 1,000 pounds of greens.
New Belgium will distribute the beer to select locations around the country in early May.
Red Rock Brewing Co. will sell the New Belgium pint bottles, along with its own limited 750 ml. version ($18), starting May 9 at its three locations:
254 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City
6200 S. State Street, Murray
1640 W. Redstone Center, Park City.