Cheers! An Outpouring of Support for Preparedness

by: EJ on 12/20/2012
Posted in: Sustainable Living


What better way to celebrate an apocalypse than with a bottle of home brew?   Richard Freudenberger, author of Alcohol Fuel: Making and Using Ethanol as a Renewable Fuel expands his brewing skills to create this most perfect item for gifting, bartering or drinking - beer. 

After a hiatus of some twenty years, I took another foray into home brewing a few weeks ago when I fermented a batch of India Pale Ale. This isn’t my calling, despite living in an area of the country that has snagged the “BeerCity USA” poll title four times in a row for its superb craft breweries. (Well, OK, Asheville tied with Grand Rapids, Michigan this year.)  

No, I got back into brewing because the cost of buying decent beer was beginning to outstrip my resources. That, and the fact that several major craft brewers are opening operations here in our western Carolina mountains, which made me think about the exceptional quality of our water, which made me think further about what might be wrong with the water in those other places. I’m thankful I live in a place where we protect our resources.   

The fact is, I was given the gift of a dandy deluxe home brewing kit four years ago which sat in a closet until I unpacked it recently. I took a local home brewing course and found that I could make five gallons of brew for about $35—that’s 65 cents a bottle for really good IPA. Those familiar with traditional brewing know that, in accordance with the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, only three ingredients are permitted in beer: barley, hops, and water. (Yeast, which wasn’t fully understood at the time, would be included later.) If you’re a traditionalist, that makes things pretty simple.  

Because I buy my supplies at a local brewer’s shop, I pretty much know where my ingredients come from. Better yet, because of the regional brewing binge, more area growers are putting in hops and barley as a hopeful cash crop. Brewing is sort of like cooking because you must pay attention to ingredients, temperatures, and timing. If you’re a tech guy like myself, you may also get absorbed in the equipment as well—the kettles, chiller, hydrometer, bottler and so forth—which turns the practice into more of a craft.    

Home brewing, along with bread making, are wonderful models of sustainability, both delivering highly desirable food staples. And the brewing experience itself can be quite satisfying because it offers a sense of accomplishment. I could think of a lot worse ways to spend my time.

Worthy of barter? You bet…and perfectly suitable for gifting too. Who is going to decline the present of a well-crafted brew? Of course there may be some, but I like to remind them that Martin Luther is quoted as saying “We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old,” and that even the normally pious Puritans were instrumental in bringing breweries to the Massachusetts Bay colony, as they recognized the benefits of keeping the populace happy and mellow.     


I’ll be ready to crack the first bottle on Christmas Eve, and I’ll probably give about half my stash a few more weeks to work in the bottle. I’m not putting a lot of faith in the end of the world, but I am a believer in being prepared, and can’t imagine a better way to celebrate an Apocalypse. 




Day One: It's the End of the World as we Know it...or is it?  New Society Publishers

Day Two: It'll all turn out in the end.  Or will it?   Ellen LaConte

Day Three: Collecting Rainwater  Albert Bates

Day Four: Building Awareness of your Surroundings  Eric Brown

Day Five: The Beginning of the Gaian Calendar  Gaia Trust

Day Six: Conversation Skills You Needed Yesterday  Cecile Andrews

Day Seven: Permaculture: How I'm Preparing for a Local Future  Peter Bane

Day Eight: Peak Oil Advice from German Poets  John Michael Greer

Day Nine: Try Something New for a Sunday Night Dinner  John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist

Day Ten: Resiliency: It's Not Just a Catch Phrase, It's a Way of Life  Wendy Brown

Day Eleven: On the Eve of the Prophecy, from a Squat in the Woods  Miles Olsen

Day Twelve: A Woman, a Plan and a Canard... Sharon Astyk

Day Thirteen: How to Make Your Own Fence and Gate for Free  Oscar and Karen Wills

Day Fourteen: Taking the 'Burbs: Square Yard Gardening' Ellen LaConte

Day Fifteen:  It NOT all or Nothing  Deborah Niemann

Day Sixteen: Tending the Fire Darrell Frey

Day Seventeen: Message from the Mayans to Us: Act Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size! Stephen Hren

Day Eighteen: 2012 Climate Change and Permaculture Starhawk

Day Nineteen: Advice for the End of the World... Or the Start of a New One  Neal Gorenflo



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