OktoberForest

Dru Ernst, Head Brewer at Dru Bru in WA

The arrival of fall always brings colorful leaves, brisk air, creative costumes and festive gatherings. This season, The Nature Conservancy is joining the fun with OktoberForest, a collaboration with local breweries to raise awareness about the important role that forests play in our water supply. We asked Dru Ernst, owner and head brewer at Dru Bru, to share his story. Dru Bru is located at the summit of Snoqualmie Pass in the midst of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

nature.org:

Hi Dru. Why are you a big believer in the symbiotic nature of forests, water, beer and hops?

Dru Ernst:

“We live, play and make beer in the forest, in the mountains, with the water from right here in Snoqualmie Pass, for people who come here because they love this place. It’s part of who we are. “We know keeping Washington’s forests healthy ensures clean, cool water. It’s important to us to take care of the forests around us.”

nature.org:

What is the most important ingredient in beer?

Dru Ernst:

“You can’t have beer without water, it’s the most important ingredient. Of the four ingredients that make beer, about 80 percent by weight is water. We’re really fortunate to be able to source pure, clean mountain water right here.”

nature.org:

What other beer ingredient does clean water provide?

Dru Ernst:

“The Yakima Valley is the country’s largest source of hops, supplying approximately 70 percent of hops in the U.S. It’s also one of the top hop suppliers in the world. The water that flows down out of our mountains and through these forests into the Yakima River nurtures all these wonderful local hops. Without having this fresh drinking water, forests to provide that water to the hops, we wouldn’t have all these wonderful beers made all over United States and the world.”

nature.org:

How is this issue personal for you, Dru?

Dru Ernst:

“Sometimes it’s hard for me to put it into words, but I didn’t really understand the power of this place until we came here and started making beer. All our staff, we live here, we hike, we mountain bike, we ski, we snowboard. We want to share that with people, and work to sustain it. Ultimately we want to make people happy.”


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