Breweries Going Green

You Live Here
You Live Here

Today, for Earth Day, let’s talk about some of the breweries that are green and are using renewable energy.

One of the more well-known green powered breweries is New Belgium in Fort Collins Colorado, who has been wind-powering their brewery since 1998.  Since then, they have expanded their green profile by recycling bottles, and even allows a nearby company to use their waste water for creating fish food.  Quite the small footprint for the brewery known for loving bikes.

Sierra Nevada in Chico California uses fuel cells for its brewery power and heat.  They also recycle glass and aluminum, along with the majority of its carbon dioxide from fermentation.  Each year, they continue to become more green.

The Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii powers their brewery with solar panels.  They stated that by installing the panels, they reduced their carbon output by over 7,000 tons.

Going green isn’t just for the craft brewers.  Anheuser-Busch has even started going green by installing alternative energy sources over the past few years.  By installing the sources, they reduced their energy independence by 15%.

What are you doing to be green?

Beer Styles – An Introduction

Beer Styles
Beer Styles

If you are new to beer, or haven’t experienced many beers, a great place to start is by exploring beer styles.

Peter Bouckaert, the head brewer at New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado gets very upset when someone mentions beer styles because he sees beer as an art, and not to squeeze into small style categories.  This is true, but for a beginning beer lover, styles are the best guide to exploring the world of beer because it gives you a framework for interpreting the beer.

According to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), a division of the American Homebrew Association, there are 28 major divisions, with each major division containing 3-4 subdivisions, for a total of almost 100 different beer styles, and the number seems to grow every year.

So where do you start?

Many times, if you are used to lagers or light lagers, it may be to your advantage to try a few wheat beers or pale ales to expand your horizons.  Eventually, if you enjoy the hop flavor enough, you should try the IPA style.

On the other end of the scale, if you haven’t had many beers, it may be better for you to try several darker beers that have a lot of malt sweetness with little bitterness.  Some good examples include brown ales, stouts, or the seasonal Oktoberfest.

The key is to try several examples of each style.  There are prototypical examples of each style, for example Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the prototypical pale ale, but there are other examples that differ in body and flavor such as Magic Hat’s #9 or Widmer Brothers Drifter Pale Ale.

So the moral is just because you don’t like a beer style, maybe it’s just the beer, and not the style.  Or even it’s the situation.  The first time I tried New Belgium’s 1554 Black Ale, I didn’t like it, but this winter, I tried it again and couldn’t get enough of it.

Keep diversifying, and enjoy!

Today I Hate Squirrels

Today during lunch, I dug through my recently planted Cascade hops, and I had a disconcerting find.  One of my rhizomes was missing.  At first, I thought I may have missed it, so I dug through the soil again, and couldn’t find it.

At this point, I thought about when I had last checked the rhizomes.  It was Saturday evening, and everything was good.  With both of the rhizomes, I took a couple of the sprouts and placed them above ground to reach the sun, to hopefully kick-start the growth cycle.  Perhaps the birds thought it was a worm and grabbed it out of the ground.  Then I remembered the dreaded squirrels liked to dig through my soil, mentioned in my last hops growing article.

I searched the yard, about 10-15 feet from the bed, and found the rhizome.  It had been split in half and chewed, most likely by squirrels.  I was devastated.  I decided to first soak what was left of the rhizome in some water, then buried the halves in the soil.  To try and repel the squirrels, I spread black pepper and cayenne pepper over the beds.

So, let’s hope for the best so the rhizome will grow, and today I hate squirrels.

Boulevard Boss Tom’s Golden Bock

Boss Tom's Golden Bock
Boss Tom's Golden Bock

Tonight I had the chance to try Boulevard Brewing’s late spring seasonal offering, Boss Tom’s Golden Bock.

It was straw-colored, and had just a hint of caramel aroma.  Tasting it, there was a slight malt and bread flavor with a caramel finish.  It has little hop flavor and aroma.

I applaud Boulevard for trying a “late spring” seasonal.  I hope to see it again next year.

Have you tried Boss Tom’s Golden Bock?  What did you think?