A Good Beer Blog

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Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


Comments

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Maureen Ogle -

Has nothing to do w/the post, but saw this and thought of you and realized I don't have your email addy. Also sent link to Andy, Jay, and Stan.

Article on ethics of [beer] writing

Alan -

Thanks Maureen - here is a better version of the link.

21stCenturyCavePainter -

Great article - consumers tend to forget that even food-stuffs can have unnoticed or unanticipated environmental impacts. I just recently learned of Long Trail's efforts to reduce their negative impact on the planet with their ECO Brew program. I wonder how many other breweries do similar sorts of things.

Steve lacey -

"Which looks like to me that barley absorbs more carbon (1.377 tonnes) than it takes to get it into the malted state (1.08 tonnes)."

Alan, the problem here is what happens to the carbon absorbed by the barley? In pretty short order it all ends up back in the atmosphere via yeast guts, our guts, pig guts, incineration, or composting...

When you look at the net carbon influence of natural systems, you have to look at the long term change in the sinks. Are they increasing, decreasing, or staying the same? In arable crops, the soil is the biggest sink and generally speaking is mostly in a carbon equilibrium (stable organic matter content). There was a big loss of soil carbon when land use changed from prairie or forest to farmland, but after that it found a new equilibrium. If, however, you can produce a crop in which the carbon absorbed by the plants is locked up long-term in an organic product, you have a chance of having a positive impact. With forest carbon sequestration, you have two chances of getting net sequestration: (1) if the soil carbon sink increases, and (2) if you can stop a large proportion of the product from decomposing, being burned etc. And of course the less processed it is, the better. Hence, forest carbon sequestration depends a lot on the fate of the harvested trees -- paper, furniture --> incineration/landfill?

I can't see any possible way that the production of foodstuffs can be seen as anything other than net carbon emitting processes. The barley growth/degradation is essentially neutral, but all the energy that goes into production, processing, packaging, and delivery are obviously going to be net carbon emitting. As much as we can hope for is that some businesses follow practices that emit less than they would if they didn't give a damn (reduce, re-use, recycle).

Alan -

Alan, the problem here is what happens to the carbon absorbed by the barley? In pretty short order it all ends up back in the atmosphere via yeast guts, our guts, pig guts, incineration, or composting...

I think you missed my point. All Sam Adams needs is 300 square km of forest that it farms to offset all its current production through a natural carbon sink that is managed as a separate revenue stream.

Yes, the carbon is released but it is also captured because that is the nature of life. You can complain all you want that the Good Lord gave us bowels that create gas but that is life. It is about management not prohibition or you are getting into dangers territory about denying your biological fact.

Steve -

I think you missed my point. All Sam Adams needs is 300 square km of forest that it farms to offset all its current production through a natural carbon sink that is managed as a separate revenue stream.

Oops. In fact, it appears I did barely skim that last paragraph. Sorry.

If I recall from my days inside the forest industry, it costs about $1000-$2000/ha to establish a forest on already cleared land, not counting the cost of the land. So that's $1-2 million a year for Sam Adams if they can find someone to donate the land. There are probably other hidden costs like a staff-member or three to oversee the process.

The graph of forest planting in British Columbia doesn't mean much in the world of carbon offsets because it is referring to management of the forest estate. You can't claim a carbon offset for tree planting unless you do it on land that has been continuously in non-forest use prior to 1992. In practice, you go into a landscape consisting of a mosaic of forest and cleared grazing land (say) and try to buy up or obtain leases for 1000 ha per year, I can tell you from experience (in NSW) that it is a pretty big task.

Interesting story about one of your countrymen who is a visionary and pioneer in the field of environmental offsets, which is straying well away from beer, but I can see you are interested in this topic.