Saving The Planet With Beer
Monday, 26 January 2009 10:33

Predictions of the world’s imminent demise began about a week after the world was created. The exact date of creation was either millions and millions of years ago or 4004BC, probably around noon, depending on who you believe. Despite the fact that the planet has patently not been destroyed even once, end-of-the-world theories have been consistently popular.

Let us consider a few examples. In Norse mythology, the Earth would be destroyed by Ragnarok, the final epic battle between the giants and the gods. In 1798, Thomas Malthus used lots of maths to predict impending mass starvation due to population growth. The Bible describes in considerable detail the apocalypse which will engulf humanity.

Rachel Carson’s best-selling book in the 1970s, “The Silent Spring”, argued there would be massive famines in America before turn of the century because of pesticide use. Chicken Little was equally convinced that the sky was falling and would kill us all.

All of these theories have, to date at least, proved unfounded. We may to give partial credit the single dinosaur who looked up at the meteors streaking across the sky and opined “this won’t end well.”

The latest threat is global warming but we don’t call it that anymore. A number of studies showed that in many locations the average temperatures were actually going down, not up. So, in a brilliant piece of marketing, “global warming” instantly became “climate change”.

If temperatures go up, it’s climate change. If temperatures go down, ergo, that is climate change too. If the figures remain exactly the same, then the person producing them is either a “climate change sceptic” or, worst of all, a “climate change denier”.

The impending planetary disaster has been documented by Al Gore on a PowerPoint presentation and by the infallible United Nations on the internet so it has to be true. It also has the support of internationally renowned climatologists such as Barbara Streisand, Alec Baldwin and Patrick Starfish from Sponge Squarepants. Actually these luminaries are better known as entertainers (with the obvious exceptions of Streisand and Baldwin of course).

Increasingly, the pressure is on for everyone to do their bit for Mother Earth. Cycling to work and recycling at home are becoming the way to go. Those nice people at Air New Zealand will kindly let you pay extra money to them to somehow offset the carbon gases used in flight.

The greening of the planet has flowed through to the beer world. Proving that environmentalism really is the new black, Adnams brewery recently launched Britain’s first carbon neutral beer. Called East Green, the beer is made in an eco-efficient brewery, uses high-yield, local barley and local hops which require less pesticide as they are naturally aphid-resistant.

As usual, the Brits are way behind. They only discovered that first-fives were actually allowed to pass the rugby ball in 2002.

The Founder’s brewery in Nelson was certified fully organic way back in 1998. Today they produce a range of environmentally friendly, certified organic, vegan, GE-free and kosher beers. Kosher status was established when Founder’s received the Karshrus Certificate from the Kosher Kiwi Licensing Authority in Wellington. I for one was previously unaware of the Kosher Kiwi Licensing Authority.

The head brewer at Founder’s is John Duncan, a fifth generation brewer, and he has two sons involved in brewing. There is no other brewery in the country with this sort of family pedigree. It is appropriate that the Founder’s Fair Maiden Pale Ale (5%) is the first solo beer from John’s son Matt. It is available at the Malthouse now.

The Fair Maiden pours a lustrous, burnished copper in the glass which puts it at the darker end of the pale ale spectrum. It throws a soft malty nose with hints of citrus. Full-bodied and strong, the body has a firm caramel base littered with hints of orange, cinnamon and passionfruit. The beer concludes with lingering, persistent hop finish.

In the highly competitive Pale Ale category at the 2007 Brew NZ Beer Awards, this beer won a prestigious Gold Medal. In my opinion, it has really improved in quality and consistency since its launch. I would now categorise it as my favourite Founder’s brew and that is quite a compliment given the high regard I have held Tall Blonde in for many years.

Founder’s Fair Maiden is now available at the Malthouse. Wander down and savour a guilt-free pint that even Al Gore could enjoy. It’s my personal way of saving the planet.

Cheers,

Neil Miller
Beer Writer
Real Beer New Zealand
Beer and Brewer Magazine

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