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Belt’s Beer Garden: Native Land

Native Land is an worldwide collaboration from Bow & Arrow Brewing to support Native organizations and strengthening Native communities

Today I wanted to share a special collaboration. Recently I heard about Bow & Arrow Brewing Company and, while I couldn’t make it out to the brewery, I wanted to share something special they did with all of you.

Bow & Arrow is the first Native Woman-owned brewery in the country and sits on the northern side of Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was founded in 2016 by Shyla Sheppard, a member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation), after she left her position with an investing firm in order to make her own space in the craft beer industry.

The brewery has recently been garnering a lot of attention. It was named one of the 12 Best Breweries of 2021 by Hop Culture, made Thrillist’s list in the “Does Good” category of their Shift Change (25 food/drink innovators of 2021), and was one of Brewbound’s Rising Stars in 2020.

On October 11th of last year (Indigenous Peoples’ Day), they released an international craft beer collaboration called Native Land, which you can read all about in the link (and I hope you do).

Bow & Arrow developed the Native Land IPA recipe and its label as part of a worldwide beer collaboration. Participating breweries started releasing their versions of Native Land back in November (Native American Heritage Month), and will continue to do so for the next few months. The full list of participating breweries can be found in the link above but, as of writing this, there are 59 breweries from 24 states and a Canadian province that have signed up.

Each brewery’s can will be slightly different, as they prominently display the name of the ancestral land they are located on, but the beer will be the same, with the proceeds going to non-profit organizations that help Native Americans.

Last month I moved from suburban Chicagoland to San Jose, California. Coming from the Midwest, and living in an area filled with such a massive Native American history (the Algonquin, Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, Illiniwek, Miami, Kickapoo, Menominee, and Winnebago all have a history in my hometown), I was shocked that I had not heard about this.

But I saw a nearby brewery in San Francisco had joined in on this collaboration, and I just had to support the cause. So today, I have Barebottle Brewing’s release of Native Land.

Barebottle’s can features the name of the Ramaytush Ohlone tribe, who originally inhabited the San Francisco Peninsula. The beer has a 6.4% ABV, was brewed with Citra, El Dorado, and Strata hops and was canned on March 14th. A pack of four 16-ounce cans is $20, while a single can goes for $6.

Native Land poured an incredibly bright, yet completely opaque and hazy, golden straw color with just over a finger of eggshell white head topping it off. As the foam dissipated it created a nice, solid lacing down the entire glass.

The aroma was dank, sticky, and packed with both earthy and tropical fruits. Big notes of resinous grass, pine, and grapefruit led the way but were followed up by lighter characteristics of tangerine, pineapple, and weed.

The beer began with the lightest touch of carbonation that fizzled across my tongue. The grist actually starts off the sip with notes of flaked wheat and oats. Those grains provide some cereal-like qualities up front before the hops fully take over the taste just a few moments later.

And, unlike the smell that was balanced between earthy and tropical notes, in the taste it’s the tropical qualities that run away with it. After being quite subtle in the aroma, massive notes of pineapple lead the way in the taste and are followed closely by the grapefruit, tangerine, and some light stone fruit qualities (such as apricot).

Some grassy notes do appear midway through, along with a sticky resin that doesn’t last too long. There is a slight pithiness to the brew that slowly builds over time, bringing forward some notes of grapefruit peel and orange rind.

My can of Native Land ends quite cleanly, with just a light sticky feeling and a dash of dryness sticking around after everything else. It was quite the smooth brew.

Overall, this was an amazing beer. It was so sessionable and tasty that my whole pint vanished in a few minutes. Native Land was as light and crushable as it is delicious. Tropical fruits may dominate but those soft earthy and malty notes that appear early on really give the beer depth and balance.

If you see that your local brewery/bottle shop has Native Land in stock, you need to get it. It’s a fantastic beer for a fantastic cause.

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