For those not in the know, the craft beer movement is really into sustainability. Lots of breweries are experimenting with water recycling, repurposing old equipment, spoiled beer, and finding creative uses for the spent grain from the brewing process. Most will just give it to cattle farmers for feed or compost it, but some people are looking for uses a little more off the beaten path.
Enter Brewnola. They are taking the barley left over from the brewing process and making it into savory, tasty snacks that go perfectly with your favorite brew. Not only do they have tasty treats, but they have a pretty badass mission statement that includes paying all their employees a living wage and employing people who are often overlooked, like disabled veterans and the formerly incarcerated. That sounds like a pretty cool mission to me.
They have three barley snack flavors – barbecue, chili-lime, and sriracha – all of which taste great. They’re an excellent alternative to the bland crackers or pretzels you find on most bar counters. The company was good enough to send me some samples, so I sat down with one of my favorite beers and gave them a try.
The first flavor I tried was barbecue. I see what they mean when they suggest pairing this with a robust smoked porter or stout! The smokiness of the BBQ and the hint of spiciness would pair well with a dry Irish stout or a porter with a low malt character. This one is a little on the chewy side, but still has some nice crunch to it.
The chili-lime flavor was up next. This one paired perfectly with the beer I was drinking – a crisp saison! It had a nice spiciness with a little of that sweet lime flavor. I can see this going well with everything from a lager to a nice hoppy IPA. A bit crunchier, and more my jam (since I’m a sucker for that chili-lime combo). You can really taste the flavor of the grain too, which I really liked.
Up last was Sriracha. The Sriracha-obsessed crowd will like this one. It has all the flavors you find in the favorite hot sauce – garlic, chili powder, soy sauce, and then an intense heat in the finish. Beautifully crispy and very flavorful! The spicy factor makes me think this would go great with an IPA as well, but why not go traditional and do a lager from Thailand or Japan?
My roommates got in on the action as well, and Brewnola received an endorsement from each of them. So to me, the folks making Brewnola know what’s up! Yummy bite size snacks perfect for pairing with a nice cold one? Sign me up. They are still fully launching their business, but I’m really looking forward to being able to pick up a bag of the chili-lime Brewnola to bring along to my weekly movie nights or a party. Plus, even Lilith the Beer Cat was a fan, and that’s all the endorsement I need.