ASHEBORO — Four Saints Brewing Co. (FSBC) and Founder’s Hemp, both based in Asheboro, have brewed, and registered with N.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), North Carolina’s first hemp ale.
FSBC’s owner, COO and head brewer Andrew Deming developed an English mild ale recipe that incorporated hemp seeds and spent flower provided by Founder’s Hemp.
Joel McClosky, owner and CEO of FSBC, first heard about Founder’s Hemp during a presentation by its owner, Bob Crumley, during a Rotary meeting. A short time later, around Four Saints’ community table, Founder’s Hemp and Four Saints decided to work together toward North Carolina’s first registered beer using hemp.
“We’re really excited,” Crumley said. “To have the first ALE-approved hemp beer is a big thing for us and for Four Saints. It’s another step toward our goal to be a hub for hemp in North Carolina.”
Based on the U.S. founding fathers’ history as hemp growers and brewers, the combination made sense to McClosky, Deming and Crumley on multiple levels.
The brewery has a tradition of using locally sourced ingredients, when possible and available, in seasonal and limited beer offerings. The hemp seeds and spent flower were sourced and provided by Founder’s Hemp. Epiphany Craft Malts of Durham makes up the majority of this beer’s malt bill.
Founder’s Hemp was notified on Aug. 11 that it had been granted Got To Be N.C. designation by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Service, which certifies its products as grown and manufactured in North Carolina.
In addition to the collaboration with FSBC, Founder’s Hemp is working with a tea company in Orange County and a coffee company in Raleigh to develop additional hemp-infused beverage products. Its elixir, a collaborative effort with Waynesville Soda Jerks, a North Carolina-based craft natural soda company, is already on the market.
Crumley provided various parts of the hemp plant to FSBC so Deming could experiment and develop the beer. After about two months of working together, a locally crafted hemp ale emerged.
FSBC and their lawyer, John Szymankiewicz of Beer Law Center, worked proactively with ABC to ensure the product and process were within the letter — and spirit — of the law to bring the state’s first legal hemp beer to market.
The beer will be released to the public on Friday, Aug. 18, at the FSBC taproom, 218 S. Fayetteville St., starting at 3 p.m. Founder’s Hemp will be on-site from 5-8 p.m. with information, samples and retail hemp products.