Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

A collaboration between Lazy Hiker Brewing Company and Mainspring Conservation has resulted in a beer brewed with local ingredients that will help raise money for the nonprofit. Last year, Lazy Hiker released the first batch of the Needmore Ale, a locally sourced brew. During their anniversary celebration on June 24, the Lazy Hiker released the 2017 Needmore Ale, which will once again raise money for Mainspring Conservation.

“Of all the land and water Mainspring has protected, none is more important than the 5,000-acre Needmore Tract,” said Sharon Taylor,  I appreciate the partnership with Lazy Hiker that highlights our flagship project and helps people realize that this natural treasure exists and is there for their enjoyment.

In honor of Mainspring’s work in North Carolina, Lazy Hiker Brewing Co. brews the rye farmhouse saison called Needmore Ale. Lazy Hiker and Mainspring staff brewed Needmore Ale using North Carolina grown grains malted by Riverbend Malt House in Asheville, and Epiphany Craft Malt in Durham. The malt bill features barley and rye as well as the wheat-rye hybrid “triticale” resulting in a flavorful beer that is accented by the Belgian yeast and further enhanced by the spicy flavors of the Jarrylo hop.

“Lazy Hiker feels it’s important to build a sense of community which is why we paired up with Mainspring Conservation Trust to release our collaboration beer, Needmore Ale,” said Alex Carrion, taproom manager of the Lazy Hiker. “Mainspring conserves and protects the land and waterways we call home, which allows residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of the mountains in which we live.”

Needmore Ale is light golden in color with a spicy sweet malt body offset by the dry mouthfeel. A saison for summer, Needmore Ale is 5.4 percent ABV (Alcohol By Volume) and 18 IBUs (International Bitterness Units on a scale from 0 to 100). Five percent of the proceeds from the sale of the Needmore Ale will be donated to Main Spring Conservation Trust to support Mainspring’s ongoing conservation work in our region.

Mainspring Conservation Trust has been conserving rivers, forests, farms, and heritage of Western North Carolina since 1997. Originally formed as a land trust, Mainspring has conserved more than 36 miles of river frontage and 24,000 acres. Mainspring has expanded its programs to include stream restoration, hands-on educational programs for school-aged children (reaching 2,998 kids in 2015), aquatic biomonitoring, cultural heritage programs (partnering with the Eastern Band of the Cherokee, among others), and brownfield restoration.

Taylor spoke to a crowded Lazy Hiker and explained that one of the earliest “signature” projects of Mainspring Conservation Trust involved conservation of the river frontage and adjacent land known as the Needmore Tract, an area of unparalleled beauty and biodiversity. The tract has since expanded to more than 5,000 acres and held by the State of North Carolina for use as public game lands. With Mainspring’s work on the Needmore Tract, the collaboration beer was named in honor of one of its first projects.

This year, the Lazy Hiker had shirts designed for the Needmore Ale release. Proceeds from the sale of the $20 shirts will also benefit Mainspring Conservation Trust.