Beers Made By Walking is a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes, and urban walks, and make new beer inspired by the edible and medicinal plants from the trail. The initial BMBW program took place in Colorado Springs in 2011. Since then we have worked with over 100 breweries to create unique beers that give drinkers a sense of place. The hope in the initial program was to simply get people outdoors, do something creative, and think about our local landscapes in new ways.
Beers Made By Walking helps raise funding for environmental non-profits by working with them to create educational programming in outdoor areas. The brewers that go on the hikes send their beers to a series of events that we organize in the Pacific Northwest, and in Denver, Colorado.
The initial inspiration for BMBW came during a week long canoe trip down
the Yukon River in Canada. There BMBW founder, Eric Steen, was introduced to the Norwegian term
‘friluftsliv,’ which is translated as ‘Free Air Living.’ The term
describes a way of living in which people make a habit of being outdoors
on a regular basis. There are Friluftsliv conferences that host
‘walking lectures’ where attendees hike for a few days on end, stopping
every now and again for a lecture and food.
The program's concept was also inspired by the beers of Williams Bros Brewing in Alloa, Scotland. This brewery creates historic Scottish beers that used ingredients from the landscape - like heather flower, gale, Scottish pine, and seaweed. Another inspiration came from British artists, like Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, who use walking as a means of understanding our relationship to the world. Beers Made By Walking, in some respects, is a mashing together of those pieces.
If you would like to participate in our annual program, please get in touch. We are always on the lookout for new breweries to work with, new organizations to help support, and new places to explore. Stay tuned by receiving our email updates, and connect with us on our Facebook page. Cheers!
***Update - May 2016***
2016 marks a big transition for Beers Made By Walking. We are handing over much of the control of BMBW to the fantastic organizations that we have partnered with each year.
In the past couple years BMBW has raised over $20,000 for environmental non-profits that protect wilderness areas and waterways, maintain important regional trails, and educate our communities on the importance of the natural world. Historically the BMBW team has worked to connect breweries with local environmental organizations. Over time we wondered if the organizations might appreciate having greater independence in creating BMBW events. The new change allows organizations to have a stronger and more direct connection to each brewery and was welcomed by many of our collaborative partners.
We’re still involved in the process, we just get to see how each region grows their program according to their own needs. We’re also always looking for ways to expand the BMBW program into new territories.