Monday, May 30, 2016

Startup Week in Longmont - A Celebration of Entrepreneurship

Startup Week is a week long celebration of entrepreneurship and community. Longmont will host its second Startup Week June 6-12.  The concept of Startup Week was born from Startup Weekend, an idea of Andrew Hyde's (then at Techstars) in Boulder in 2007.  The idea was to get entrepreneurs together to launch a startup in 54 hours and then pitch the idea to an audience. It is intended for early stage startups. Learn more here.  The idea grew as more companies contacted him to have their own Startup Weekend.

Marc Nager of UP Global launched Startup Week as a non-profit, intensive program of entrepreneurship and community. The phenomenon has spread to over 40 cities all across the globe now.

Startup Week is a great networking event bringing together entrepreneurs, community leaders, stakeholders and community members in an intensive week of educational talks. It is a tremendous  volunteer effort and the volunteers in Longmont do an amazing job! Last year I participated in a panel on women entrepreneurs and this year I'll be doing one on one mentoring to help others just starting.  Startup Week in Longmont is a unique experience that reflects the particular businesses in our city, as every Startup Week is. This way you could actually travel to all the Startup Weeks across the country and never get the same thing.

Do you have Startup Week in your city? To learn more about how you can bring one to your city see To see what is happening in Longmont visit

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Beer Brewing Herbs

If you like beer you may be interested in growing some of your own ingredients. Hops are the most common herb used in beer and are used for  bittering. They are relatively easy to grow and make a nice vine to grow up your deck or elsewhere.

I've been reading "The Homebrewer's Garden" by Joe Fisher and Dennis Fisher which details many of the other herbs that are and have been used in beer.  I was not only amazed at how many herbs have been used in beer but also realized that I grow many of these herbs.

Hops are my favorite as I am a fan of great IPA's. They not only bitter the beer it but to create a variety of unique flavor profiles that include floral, piney and citrus. There are some beers that taste very similar to grapefruit juice just becasue of the hops they use. If you are not a beer drinker you may not realize that there are actually many different varieties of hops all producing different aromas and flavors in a beer because of their alpha and beta acids.
We grow hops here on the farm and use them in dream pillows as they are a good for destress and to promote sleep. You may have experienced relaxation after you've had a few beers! Hops are also good for skin care and help decrease irritation and promote hydration. I've written about the benefits of hops before, here.


There are additional herbs that are used in beer for bittering, flavoring and giving the beer a nice aroma.

Herbs used for bittering include yarrow, horehound, sage, dandelion, costmary, and clary sage. They are typically added at the beginning of the boil phase and need to be balanced with hops which are also bitter.

Flavoring herbs include rosemary, hyssop, borage, oregano, mint, bee balm/monarda, lemon balm, sweet woodruff, marjoram and thyme. Add these carefully as they can have rather strong flavors. They can be added at the beginning or near the end of the boil.

Other herbs can be added for aroma including rosemary, hyssop, lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, bee balm, elder flowers. If adding them for aroma they are added toward the end of the boil. 

Yarrow apparently was commonly used to bitter beer before hops were used, a beer known now as Gruit Ale. I don't know if any commercial brewers use this but I did find a lot of interest in it on several beer brewing websites.

Other herbs that I grow that are used in beers are Horehound, Coriander, Summer savory, Nasturtium, Raspberry Fruit, Rhubarb, Rose Hips and Valerian leaf. Not mentioned in the book, but herbs I think would be great in beer include rose petals, red clover, violets, calendula, salad burnett, and feverfew.

I'd love to taste a good hoppy IPA that is flavored with lavender. I've seen several Saison styles with lavender but never an IPA. So, local breweries, make my dream come true please!

Besides using these herbs in beer, they can be used for skin care and bath herbs. Beer Spa is a concept that is gaining in popularity and many of these herbs can be used in conjunction with beer to provide skin benefits. We just put on a beer spa event and hope to do more in our area.


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