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Beer related discussions.

Beer Purity Threatened by ‘Fracking’

Posted by Maggie on May 24, 2013

This article is from the Environmental Leader.

German Beer Industry ‘Threatened by Fracking’

Anheuser-Busch InBev and other German brewers want Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to block any laws that would allow hydraulic fracturing, which, they say could contaminate water used to make beer and hurt the country’s brewing industry.

The Association of German Breweries, which represents Anheuser-Busch InBev, Bitburger Braugruppe and other companies say Germany’s fracking proposals don’t protect drinking water and may overstep the 500-year-old beer purity law, Bloomberg reports.

The “Reinheitsgebot,” or German purity law, mandates that brewers produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water, according to Reuters.

A beer association spokesman told Reuters that more than half of Germany’s brewers have their own wells on areas that would not be protected under the government’s planned fracking laws. He says the association wants the government to fund additional research and ensure chemicals won’t pollute the groundwater before it moves forward with any fracking legislation.

oktoberfest1.caiqzz9j8o0kooo84k0w84w4.5r15frdicg4kos40gwk400wsw.thThe €8 billion ($10 billion) German brewing industry employs more than 25,000 people, Bloomberg reports, and carries substantial political clout as fracking becomes an increasingly contentious issue leading up to Germany’s Sept. 22 election.

Merkel, who, according to media reports, drank from a 1-liter beer mug at a campaign stop earlier this month, has agreed on draft legislation that would outlaw fracking in some areas.

In the US, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, New Belgium Brewing Company and 19 other craft brewers partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council last month to advocate for strong clean-water policies. The Brewers for Clean Water campaign aims to protect the multi-billion dollar industry’s No. 1 ingredient: water.

Earlier this month, a Duke University study of wells near shale gas drilling sites in Fayetteville, Ark. found no groundwater contamination. Low levels of methane found in samples were mostly from biological activity inside shallow aquifers, not from shale gas production contamination, scientists concluded.

Previous Duke studies of the effects of shale gas drilling in Pennsylvania found methane contamination in groundwater, but no signs of fracking fluids.


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Two Women Lager: New Glarus Brewing Co. Wisconsin

Posted by Maggie on January 22, 2013

TwoWomenMore women brewing beer. From the website ( 

Four thousand years before Christ, Sumerian women created the divine drink of beer. Viking women brewed in Norse society. European Ale Wives were so successful as cottage brewers they were taxed. Artisanal women lost their domination of the daily ritual of brewing during the Industrial Revolution. Today’s brewing trade is controlled by men. 

The collaboration of two Craft companies both led by women, New Glarus Brewing and Weyermann Malting, is unique. You hold the result “Two Women” a Classic Country Lager brewed with Weyermann’s floor malted Bohemian malt and Hallertau Mittelfrueh hops. A tempting and graceful classic lager found…Only in Wisconsin! 

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A Beer For Women: Pink and Black

Posted by Maggie on September 24, 2012

This is from


Finally a beer just for women!

By Miriam | Published: September 2, 2011

Picture of a six pack of "Chick" with a pink and black label

Finally a beer just for women, reads the tagline of the website for chick, a new “premium light beer” marketed toward women. In case you miss the female reference in the beer’s name, the pink and black six-pack case might alert you, as it’s decorated to look like a purse. And if somehow you miss all of those signals, there is the little black dress replete with hourglass figure on the bottle itself.

On why she decided to create a beer marketed toward women, chick founder Shazz Lewis had this to say:

Their whole thing is that we don’t need a beer specifically for women and I’m like, ‘Why not?’ The beer industry has been for men for so long. But it’s changing all around — the NFL has that whole line of female jerseys, and Harley has bikes for women. I say, ‘Don’t get so upset. Just relax, it’s beer.’

I wouldn’t say I’m upset. More like annoyed, and tired of the ridiculous gendering of products. Beer marketing is notoriously male-focused and sexist (super bowl anyone?), so I’m all for new advertising that doesn’t fall into sexist stereotypes. This beer unfortunately just swings the other direction–trying to reach women via outdated stereotypes about what women want. Witness the chickness! says the six pack. Witness me puking a little bit in my mouth.

Chick isn’t the first alcoholic beverage to go in this direction. Skinnygirl cocktails is a new (and extremely successful) product out on the market thanks to Bethenny Frankel, a reality tv star. I think gendered marketing is silly and serves simply to reinforce the gender binary that gets reinforced so much that we’re practically getting beaten over the head with it.

In response to the question of what makes this beer “girly,” Shazz said, “It’s very mellow. It has a little less carbonation so it doesn’t make you burp. There’s no bitterness, and I think that was the big appeal for women.”

This is what the Chick Beer website says about how it all happened.

The Chick Story

Let us tell you the cool story of how Chick Beer happened.

One day, we were in our local store looking for an interesting beer to take home, and thought “Isn’t it strange that out of hundreds of beers, none are designed to appeal directly to women?  In fact, most are clearly marketed to men.”

We went home and did some research, and found that women drink 25% of all the beer consumed in the U.S. That’s over 700 MILLION cases every year!”

The idea to create a brand of beer specifically for women kept stirring in us.  We thought about it night and day, and decided that we were going to give women a female-centric choice that reflected their tastes.

After two years of effort, Chick Beer is our answer. Chick is a craft-brewed light beer that doesn’t taste like a light beer.  It has just 97 calories and 3.5 carbs.  The taste is soft, smooth and full-bodied.  It’s the taste that most women prefer.  You’re going to love it.

The idea for the name literally came to us in a dream, but in retrospect is obvious.  For years, men have dismissed lighter beers as chick beers, something “not on par with what real men drink”.  Our take on this: “Since when is Chick a bad thing?”

So we decided to turn the pejorative Chick upside down, and to use the word as a statement on the strength and power of women.  We also decided that this Chick would be anything but subtle: Bright pink packaging with a purse; LBD on the label; and an over-the-top feminine font; just to be absolutely certain that no one could mistake it for dude beer.

Chick Beer.  Not every woman likes the idea, and some men seem to be threatened by it.  But that’s always been the story with uppity Chicks, hasn’t it?

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The Many Benefits of a Bottle Deposit System – Vancouver Sun

Posted by Maggie on March 21, 2012

Globe 2012: Lowly beer bottle sets sustainability standard

By GORDON HAMILTON, Vancouver Sun March 13, 2012

Read more:

When Canada’s brewers first started putting a deposit on their beer bottles in the 1920s, they did it because it was the best way to cut bottling costs.

Then, in the 1970s, when governments began passing anti-litter regulations, the beer-bottle deposit was the best way to control littering.

Today, when consumer businesses are looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint, again, it’s the lowly beer bottle that is showing the way.

You don’t have to look any further than the life cycle of a beer bottle to understand sustainability, said Brian Zeiler-Kligman, director of sustainability for the trade association Canada’s National Brewers.

Recycling empty beer bottles in Canada was first introduced 80 years ago as an economic solution that benefited not only the breweries but their customers as well, said Zeiler-Kligman, who is to tell the story of the beer bottle at a Globe 2012 panel Wednesday. The beer bottle is the perfect example of the maxim that sustainable practices should be good for the bottom line as well as the environment, he said.

For brewers, “the innovation story is really an old story,” Zeiler-Kligman said, referring to the post-prohibition origin of beer-bottle recycling.

“The system itself came into place as an economic solution. The brewers put a deposit on the bottles because they wanted to get them back from the customer. That was the best way they could think of to do that: To provide the customer with an incentive to do that. It’s been operating that way, with a few minor tweaks ever since prohibition ended.

“Because of the longevity of the program, because of the various incentives we provide to the consumer to participate, we have got some of the highest return rates for any kind of recovery program, certainly in North America.”

His advice on developing sustainable consumerism is to look first at the economics of it and, make sure that any program provides an incentive to the customer.

“If the economics aren’t there, regardless of the environmental benefits, the program is not going to last for long periods.”

Ninety-seven per cent of all beer bottles in Canada are recycled, he said. returning to the brewery as empties in the same truck that delivers fresh beer to retailers. And each bottle is used from 12 to 15 times before it goes into a glass recycling line, where it is broken into chips and sold back to the glass manufacturer. When you add up the impact all those bottles have on the bottom line for those three companies, it is staggering: In Ontario alone, consumers buy 1.2 billion bottles of beer, but brewers only needed to buy 93 million bottles. At 10 cents a bottle, those recyclable bottles add up to a sustainable industry valued at over $100 million.

Developing a successful return program did not just happen, however. It took cooperation among breweries to use a standardized beer bottle, something that the three major breweries that comprise the association — Molson, Labatt and Sleeman — still support. In B.C., Canada’s National Brewers have stewardship responsibility for beer bottles and cans from 23 domestic breweries and distillers.

The industry has since put other innovations in place related to other sustainability issues, such as water consumption and energy consumption, and they have all followed the same principle: it has to make economic sense.

“What makes it sustainable is that there is a compelling reason, not just environmentally but business-wise as well, to put these programs in place. It becomes almost foolish to not do the environmental thing.”

It’s not just the beer bottle that is an icon of sustainability. The packaging the bottles come in is equally designed to be sustainable.

Take the beer case for example. The beer comes off the assembly line and is packaged in cardboard cases with a built-in handle. The beer is delivered by the case to the retailer, who also sells it in the case. The consumer buys it in a case, drinks the beer and return the bottles in the original case to the retailer, who in turn sells the case of bottles back to the brewery.

It’s only then, when the bottles are back on the line to be washed, that the case is taken out of the stream crushed and baled with other cases and diverted to a recycling program.

Surprisingly, other beverage recycling programs are not as successful. In B.C., where consumers prefer beer cans to bottles, there’s a lower rate of return even though the deposit is the same. And other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage bottles and containers have a far lower rate of return, only 80 per cent, according to the website

Zeiler-Kligman attributes the high success rate for the beer bottle return program to the fact that it has been around so long. Other beverage packaging refund programs are more recent.

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Making Shaving Cream With Brewery Waste!

Posted by Maggie on February 29, 2012

Check this out!  I love the creative use of waste. 

InBev Uses Brewery Waste to Make Shaving Cream

 By | February 23rd, 2012

Fans of beer will soon have yet another reason to imbibe, when a new partnership between Anheuser-Busch (now AB-InBev) and a company called Blue Marble Bio takes off. The two firms have launched a venture to convert brewery wasteinto a group of carboxylic acids that have a wide variety of commercial uses, including the manufacture of shaving creams and soaps. This renewable source of carboxylic acids will help the chemical industry along as it transitions out of petroleum-based formulas, and as a side benefit, the process also yields biogas that will be used to generate renewable electricity.

With the new venture, Anheuser-Busch also pushes the “green beer” movement up a few notches beyond the kind of measures that have become expected from responsible beverage companies, such as water conservation, waste reduction and the installation of renewable energy.

Green chemistry and fatty acids

Biogas capture is becoming common at breweries and food production facilities (and dairy farms, too), but Blue Marble Bio’s approach is somewhat unique because of its focus on producing carboxylic acids.

Carboxylic acids, aka fatty acids, naturally occur in both animal fat and vegetable oil.  Among the more common ones are acetic acid, benzoic acid and formic acid.

Their industrial uses are pretty ubiquitous, ranging from things that go in your body or on your skin like food preservatives, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products, to other stuff including rubber, fabrics and solvents.

As far as the emerging trend in non-petroleum “green chemistry” goes, the trick is to produce carboxylic acids on an industrial scale, at a competitive price, without using conventional processes that involve fossil fuels or rare earths.

Making renewable fatty acids with a low carbon footprint

Like beer making, the Blue Marble process is based on fermentation, in which bacteria break down biomass as they digest it. Since the bacteria do most of the heavy lifting on their own, relatively little energy input is needed.

If you’ve been reading up on your biomass-to-biofuel news, the fermentation angle might ring a bell. A good deal of current biofuel research deals with identifying “extreme” microbes that are adept at breaking down the tough cell walls of woody, non-food biomass.

In addition to looking for highly efficient naturally occurring bacteria, researchers are also exploring the potential for genetically engineering a kind of biofuel super-bug.

The Blue Marble process takes the former approach by deploying natural bacteria, with the additional tweak of combining different kinds of bacteria that work together as a liv­­ing “production chain.” The company calls its process AGATE, for “Acid, Gas, and Ammonia Targeted Extraction.”

Getting closer to renewable carboxylic acids

Blue Marble Bio began testing waste grain from Anheuser-Busch about a year ago and is scaling up the process for a small facility in Missoula, Montana.

If all goes well, Blue Marble will develop a pilot-scale biorefinery at an Anheuser-Busch brewery at a yet to be identified location.

As for what the beer maker gets out of it, the company gets the benefit of cutting down on its waste disposal costs and brewery emissions (natural sulfur capture is part of the deal), along with developing a new market for spent grain aside from selling it for livestock feed.

Building a greener beer brand

The partnership also adds a little more green cred to Anheuser-Busch’s sustainability program. In a Memorandum of Understanding for the new partnership, the company stated that:

“We are continuously looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact by reducing energy and water usage, improving the quality of the wastewater that we send to local municipalities, and reducing the environmental impact of our byproducts. Converting our spent grain to green chemicals to replace those that are currently made from fossil fuels aligns well with these goals.”

That puts a nifty green spin on every six-pack you buy, but for those who are uncomfortable around alcohol-related products the AGATE process also deals with non-brewery biomass waste including agricultural waste, yard clippings, wood chips, and food byproducts.

Blue Marble also recently partnered with the University of Montana to adapt the process for algae. That would serve as a sustainability twofer, since the growing algae would capture waste carbon dioxide from the process.

Another piece in the green cultural puzzle

With the solid backing of one of the most iconic brands in the U.S., next-generation sustainability is becoming firmly ensconsed in the cultural mainstream.  Alongside American beer, you can also count professional sports  and the U.S. military as early, enthusiastic adopters of new green tech.

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The Can Van

Posted by Maggie on November 5, 2011

Some women I know are starting a portable beer-canning business in Northern California.   The Can Van is a proposed mobile canning service that would allow local craft breweries to put their beer in cans, save money, and reach broader markets.  Shipping canned beers also is much less carbon intensive than shipping bottled beers.

Cans are a convenient way to enjoy local beers at the beach, camping, at concert, or anywhere glass is not allowed but beer is.   With this micro-brew canning service, you could even get a micro-brew on a plane.  (I say this because I was just at a conference this past week and was not happy with my in-flight beer choices.)

You can learn more about the The Can Van by checking out its IndieGoGo campaign, where you can watch videos, see the founders in action, and contribute to the cause of making good beer more accessible.

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Review of Elevation 66

Posted by Maggie on October 9, 2011

On Friday night I finally made it to Elevation 66.  We arrived at 6:15 and had to wait 20 minutes for a table.  It was completely packed, which was nice to see.    When people invest time and money on a new venture and follow their hearts, you want them to be successful.   The atmosphere is very pleasant although loud when that full.  It was not designed with kids in mind but there were plenty of families there.  There were two items on the menu for kids – kid’s burger and kid’s grilled cheese.   We ordered classic pub food – burgers with fries, ribs, fish and chips.  The fish and chips were truly excellent.  Best I have had.  It was served with aioli.  We had to get thirds of the aioli it was so good.   The burger was excellent.  The ribs were a bit salty.  Too much hoisin sauce.  The food other people were getting also looked great (salads, humus, sandwiches, steak.)  I would go back there just for the food!

The beer:  The golden ale was sold out, unfortunately since I like paler ales, so I sampled three other beers:

Ester’s Vanilla Stout (3.5%):  This is well named because it is a woman’s beer – rich and not sharp.  It is dark with a tan head of perfect consistency, with a lovely vanilla flavor.   It is like a vanilla Guiness.  Yum.

Rumble Tumble Red Ale (6%):  Again, perfect level of carbonation, classic red ale flavor, smooth after taste.  I didn’t like it as well as the stout but it demonstrated that these folks know what they are doing.

East Bay IPA (6.3%):  I am the last person who should be reviewing an IPA because they are just too bitter for me.  The smell was good but the taste…well, not for me.  I have friends who would like it.  

They also serve beers from other breweries.

Clearly, these folks are professional brewers who put a lot of thought into their decor, menu, and location.  I’m impressed.  I’m looking forward to going back to try the ale and other items on the menu.

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Bud = Michelob = Coors < Miller

Posted by Maggie on October 7, 2011

This cracked me up.   The rest of my household didn’t find it quite as funny.  This is from the New York Times.

Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite: Is There Any Difference?

By Eric Asimov

It’s true that the craft-beer movement of the last 30 years has exposed a lot of Americans to the idea that good beer is complex, flavorful and distinctive. It’s also true that Americans buy an enormous amount of terrible beer. Six of the 10 best-selling beers in the United States are light beers, including Bud Light at No. 1 (it outsells No. 2 Budweiser by more than 2 to 1), Coors Light at No. 3 and Miller Lite at No. 4. Because huge budgets are devoted to television advertising, industry analysts say that light-beer sales are “marketing driven.” Basically, what the beers taste like is less important than the effectiveness of their ads — Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” or Miller Lite’s “Be a Man” campaign or Coors Light’s labels that turn blue when properly cold. And apparently there is a need for the latter — sales of Bud Light and Miller Lite have declined for three straight years as Coors Light has shown modest growth.

I recently sampled the best-selling light beers to see if there was any palatable difference between them. The results: Coors Light offered no smell and no taste, but as the label indicated, it was indeed cold. Bud Light, which promises “superior drinkability,” had only the faintest hint of bitterness but was otherwise devoid of flavor. Miller Lite was the clear winner. It seemed almost robust by comparison, but still hardly bitter. For added thrills, I drank a Michelob Ultra, the 12th-best-selling brand. Now here was a beer that truly tasted like nothing — no smell, no taste, not even the cold sensation of the Coors Light. If you want to drink basically nothing, Michelob Ultra is for you.

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Fresh Hops #20

Posted by Maggie on October 1, 2011

My friend, Adrian Assassi, gave me a bag of fresh hops from his garden.  He isn’t sure what variety it is.  I have no idea the bitterness.  However, in the spirit of medieval brewers, I am going to use these hops for this batch and hope for the best.   What is the worst than can happen?   Even #16, which I thought was my first disaster brew, actually improved with time and my friend Norm said he loves it, so we traded a partial case of beer for a case of plum wine.   Yes indeed.  Plum wine with sake on ice is very good.  

I put the hops in the freezer as soon as I got them to help keep them fresh.  I don’t know how long ago they were picked.  It isn’t polite to ask too many questions about a gift.  They are not super fragrant.  The pellets I usually use are far more fragrant.   I’ll be fine if this is a low-key beer.  I am adding them to the wort in a mesh bag so that I can remove them easily.  

I am such a domestic goddess today:  making waffles, sewing curtains for my daughter’s room, and brewing beer.  This is the recipe for a truly happy homemaker. 

Fresh Hops #20:  for 3 gallons

  • 1 lb. Organic Crystal 60
  • 3 lb. light dry malt extract
  • White Labs Cream Ale Blend WLP080
  • 3 cups fresh hops (That’s right, I don’t even know the weight!  How unprofessional.)

I am crossing my finger for this one.

I bottled this after 16 days.  I have never waited so long to bottle before but it was still bubbling two weeks in.  Hmmm… Could this be related to the hops?  I’ve used WLP080 before and never had such a long fermentation.
I couldn’t wait to try this so opened one last night, just 9 days after bottling.  It was great.  Very smooth.  I think that it will get even better over the next few weeks.  Yippee!

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Elevation 66 in El Cerrito Now Open!

Posted by Maggie on September 11, 2011

The local brew-pub is now open.  It is on San Pablo at Central in El Cerrito, CA.  I will check it out soon and write a review.  Very exciting!  I was at Pyramid Brewery yesterday and had the apricot ale.  It was very delicious.  I also had a BLT and salmon.  Odd but good.  I wouldn’t recommend the fish in the fish and chips.  Not so good.  However, they have a great atmosphere and it is kid friendly.  I hope that Elevation 66 is as good.  I can walk there. 

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