Vermont has long been a state where ingenuity and creativity reign supreme. Topographically, the lush, but sometimes rocky soil provides almost everything that farmers need to produce vibrant crops during the growing season.

Many breweries thrive here as well; the result of well-informed planning, dedication, and a bit of good old fashioned New England-style elbow grease.

In keeping with this tradition, the Long Trail Brewing Company rolled out their first product in 1989 and called it “Long Trail Ale.” This flagship brew possessed a rich and delicious flavor that has since become a household name to many around the country.

The idea behind their process was simple: create a delicious product while maintaining incredibly high standards of sustainability and environmental awareness. As they move forward in the market, they continue to remain true to their vision, brewing some of Vermont’s best known and most well-loved craft beers.

Joe and Rebecca Pimentel, farmers and owners of Luce Farm in Stockbridge, are a few of the locals who have been enjoying the crisp flavors of Long Trail beer for over a decade. Even before moving just down the road from the brewery, the Pimentel’s often found themselves sharing pints with neighbors and becoming friendly with the brewers and employees.

For the past ten years, the Pimentel’s grown organic produce and medicinal herbs, also raising both layer hens and meat birds, in addition to pigs for pork and dairy goats. Truly a diverse operation, Joe and Rebecca pride themselves on maintaining a fully organic farm and experimenting with various agricultural crops and techniques, in order to keep their farm a vibrant part of the local economy and to provide the best and highest quality products to the consumer.

In keeping with their tradition of diversity and experimentation, Joe and Rebecca like to have their fingers on the pulse of both local and state politics. As they saw the state of Vermont changing the laws and policies for medical cannabis and hemp, they decided that high-CBD hemp could be a game changer.  Soon after, in 2016, they made the decision to grow their first crop and trialed about one hundred plants to see how they would fare in the New England soil.  Needless to say, the crop grew very well, fueling their desire to deliver a hemp-infused product into the local market.  They worked hard to formulate a product that was both marketable and beneficial to the community.

This year, Luce began pairing their hemp with honey, which has quickly become a local favorite. They infused their honey with cannabidiol, commonly known as “CBD,” a non-intoxicating and naturally occurring chemical compound found in the cannabis plant, which is said to provide a natural and safe alternative to other, synthetically produced compounds.

“This year we started developing our own brand of hemp infused products.  After several attempts at different extraction techniques, and formulations we perfected the hemp infused honey,” said Joe Pimental.

Matt Kopicki, a bartender at the Long Trail restaurant took note of this. Joe and Matt met and quickly became friends. Through that friendship, Kopicki quickly learned about hemp farming at Luce Farms, where the Pimentels lived, and the CBD products they were making, especially their CBD Honey. Although Joe was initially hoping that the Long Trail gift shop would sell Luce Farm CBD-infused honey, he knew immediately that they were onto something much bigger.

Kopicki, working from behind the bar, began trying out the Luce Farm honey to deal with aches and found that it helped alleviate some of his pain.  Many of the patrons, upon hearing testimonials from Kopicki, began purchasing Luce Farm products to see for themselves what benefits they had.  Eventually word of the CBD Honey began circulating through to the other employees at Long Trail.

Brian Sherwood, the General Manager at Long Trail Brewing Company, was one of those who took note. Sherwood was a big proponent of Kopicki’s creations and decided to take it a step further and brew something that could be offered both at the Long Trail restaurant and on their shelves.

Sherwood knew that pairing CBD honey with beer was a no brainer, and was excited to be one of the first in the country to brew it.

The Pimentels were prepared. They had been working hard to cultivate relationships with various business owners in the area and were hoping to find a way to move their product into the local market.

“We developed the strategy of partnering with our favorite Vermont brands to help promote our own products. General Manager Brian Sherwood and I have been talking about some sort of collaboration for over a year now.  I brought him the honey with hopes of using it in the kitchen, and selling retail at the brewery gift shop,” explained Joe.

Pimentel and Sherwood knew they had found something special. After a series of meetings, Sherwood decided that he wanted to create a small batch farmhouse brew to see what might happen. Pimentel, without hesitation, agreed. They brewed the collaborative beer on August 22, 2017. The result was a bit of collaborative alchemy with a dash of excitement mixed in.

Ian Harbage, the co-head brewer at Long Trail Brewing Company, was just as ready for this collaboration. When asked about the new brew, he said, “We were very excited when approached by Luce Farm. We weren’t too concerned about the perception—to us, it sounded like a unique and interesting opportunity. It’s a great local connection and a chance for us to try new ingredients and learn from the process.”

When asked about what the reception might be to this new endeavor, Harbage said, “There might be a bit of a public learning curve, but we think that a lot of people will be as excited as we are about the beer.”

So, what will this beer taste like? What are the details? So far, this is what we know:

  • ABV anticipated around 6%
  • Hop forward, low bitterness, not an outright IPA
  • Brewed with Citra and Mosaic hops
  • Contains freshly grated ginger and Luce Farm’s hemp honey product, which contains CBD

Currently, they can’t disclose how many milligrams of CBD each beer will contain, as the fermentation process is not complete and the finished brew has yet to be tested.

The new beer, yet to be named, will be released at the Long Trail Brewery this coming Labor Day Weekend.  All are welcome to taste the new brew and learn more about the benefits of CBD. Joe and Rebecca Pimentel will be at the brewery from 1-4 pm on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. They will be on-site to represent their brand and to sell their CBD products, including the honey used in the beer.

When asked what her thoughts were on this new and exciting partnership, Rebecca Pimentel stated, “It’s an honor to be able to partner with our favorite VT brands to collaborate on new products and discover how best to introduce people to the benefits of CBD.”

In the future, Long Trail hopes to sell the new CBD beer locally along with CBD-honey infused hops grown at Luce Farm. In addition, Joe and Rebecca are hopeful this endeavor will lead to future collaborations with other Vermont brands.

Be on the lookout for Luce Farm CBD-Honey on the cheese plate, debuting this winter at the Long Trail restaurant. In the meantime, head over to the Long Trail Brewery this Labor Day weekend to sample some of their amazing products.

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