Ancient grains and collaborative partnership make for unique new beer brewed in Fargo

The staff of Drekker Brewing Co. and Food of the North co-founders gathered for this photo in front of brewing equipment at Drekker's Brewhalla, 1666 First Ave. N., Fargo. Special to The Forum

FARGO — There are countless ways to give back to your community, but drinking a new Drekker IPA is now one of my personal favorites.

On Friday, Jan. 25, Drekker Brewing Co. , Food of the North and the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society celebrated the release of Brewed of The North, a specialty brew made possible by the unique partnership. Brewhalla — a former Northern Pacific Railroad shop converted into a modern drinking destination — was filled to the brim with thirsty patrons for the debut.

Food of the North brought the reason, NPSAS brought the grains and Drekker brought the drinks. The best part — besides getting a delicious new beer — is that part of the proceeds from Brewed of the North goes to Food of the North.

Food of the North, formerly known as Ugly Food of the North, is an organization seeking to raise awareness for food-related issues. Their first event in 2015 was supposed to be a one-time effort to help raise awareness about the issue of food waste, but their objectives have expanded since then.

After receiving more support and interest than expected, the group has continued to be a part of the movement. Since their founding, Food of the North has hosted 50 unique events about food-related issues. As they’ve grown, Food of the North co-founders Gia Rassier, Megan Myrdal and Jeff Knight have divided the organization into three main projects.


Ugly Food of the North educates about food waste, while Little Free Garden aims to build community around the growing and sharing of food and First Fridays at B has become a monthly networking and idea-sharing event.

New brew

Brewed of the North is a hazy India pale ale, or IPA, brewed using ancient grains grown by local farmers of the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society. It's hopped with lemon drop, hallertau blanc and mosaic.

The co-founders at Food of the North didn’t have a lot to do with the nitty-gritty of the beer recipe, but they did contribute to the direction it went.

“Besides suggesting something lighter and hoppier, we let the Drekker team do what they do best: brew tasty beer!” Rassier says. “IPAs are my favorite, and Brewed of the North is light, refreshing and easy-to-drink. Kudos to the Drekker team on its creation!”

Ancient grains, including ceres, spelt, dylan and einkorn, make up 30 percent of the grains in the new beer.

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering what exactly are ancient grains? According to Oldway’s Whole Grain Council, ancient grains are loosely defined as “grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years.”

The council says ancient grains require fewer pesticides, irrigation and fertilization, which helps reduce their carbon footprint. Mark Bjornstad, co-founder and president of Drekker, says the four ancient grains in Brewed of the North come together to make a unique beer.

“On the aroma, they create sweet and toasty bread notes that have hints of nuttiness,” Bjornstad says. “For flavor, they build a nice hearty graininess that is sweet and gentle. Probably most interesting of all is what they do for the mouthfeel. These forms of wheat add a fluffy and pillowy nature to the way the beer runs over your palate compared to the crisp and light character typical of barley.”


Bjornstad says, to no one’s surprise, Brewed of the North was the hit of the night. With only 15 barrels brewed, you’d better stop by Brewhalla or select liquor stores to get the beer in cans, on tap or at growler stations before it's gone.

If you can’t make it in time to try this beer, don’t worry too much — members of both teams say there’s plenty more in the future. In fact, the founding event for Food of the North was a community potluck at Drekker Brewing, and they’ve worked together on many other projects since.

“Food of the North is an amazing organization, and we absolutely love working with them… They do so much great work in our community and add to what makes this area an amazing place to live.” Bjornstad says. “So yeah, you’ll definitely see us continue working together.”

Food of the North co-founders Megan Myrdal (from left), Jeff Knight and Gia Rassier pose with new Brewed of the North beer cans. Special to The Forum

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