KNOXVILLE, Iowa — On Wednesday, Iowa corn farmers and local brewery, Peace Tree, came together for a special collaboration Iowans will see on grocery store shelves this fall.
“This is only about 600 pounds. So you know it’s not a really big quantity of corn, but it’s going to be a very valuable quantity of corn,” Iowa Corn Farmer Steve Kuiper said.
Iowa corn was carried in buckets, one by one, up the stairs leading to the top of the mash tun to be dumped in as the key ingredient in Peace Tree Brewing’s Cornucopia beer.
“So we actually put the corn in our mash tun, where it’ll sit and mix with hot water. And then there’s a screen at the bottom. So once all that starch is converted into sugars it will separate all that husk from the barley and we’ll send it over to the kettle. So it will sit in there for about an hour,” Peace Tree Head Brewer Joe Kesteloot said.
Kuiper said he felt compelled to be a part of this partnership because it showcases the value of Iowa corn.
“Because I think it’s important to get the word out to the public about our products that we produce out of our shell corn and the value that we create here in Iowa,” Kuiper said.
Kesteloot said they’re using more than just the corn kernels to make this unique farmhouse style beer.
“We’re also using some stalks in the brew itself, we’re actually adding them to the kettle. We’re extracting any of the sugars that are left in the stalk itself, and then extracting some unique flavor characteristics in there as well,” Kesteloot said.
Kuiper said even small collaborations are important for business because this year has been tough for Iowa farmers.
“We’ve dealt with the tariff situation and the trade wars with China and Mexico and Canada,” Kuiper said.
He said the unsettled weather hasn’t helped either.
“Whether we’re spraying or side dressing or things like that, the weather hasn’t cooperated very well with us,” Kuiper said.
To Iowa Corn, this isn’t just about selling a product or making a great beer.
“We can show the resiliency not only of our corn, but also of our corn farmer. And that’s really our focus, it’s all about the farmer and being able to celebrate something really cool like the Cornucopia beer is. It’s a perfect way to cap off a tough year,” Iowa Corn Grower’s Association CEO Craig Floss said.
From brewing to bottling the process takes about 21 days, then it will hit grocery store shelves sometime later this fall.