Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Solar Energy and Beer

While taking in the NY State Fair, I came across what I would normally consider an unlikely combination. The time had approached around beer-thirty on a hot day and my sister, her husband and I made our way over to the Bull and Bear Pub's bar in the food court. An excellent selection of microbrews were on tap and I sampled a Syracuse Pale Ale among others. What really caught my attention was the coaster I was using. On one side was Brooklyn Brewery and on the other was the slogan, "There's Wind in Our Ales".

The rationale for this turn of phrase was that on September 1, 2003, Brooklyn Brewery became the first New York city company to switch to 100% wind-generated electricity. As their web site information attests (though with sparse information) "The company's brewery and headquarters in Brooklyn are 100% powered by Newwind Energy, a product of Community Energy, Inc."

I was hoping to find a graphic of wind power turbines lined up with large kegs but that is not the case. The energy is purchased through a long term contract with Community Energy, Inc.

That is not to say that Brooklyn Brewery stops there in its quest to marry the two concepts. It also produces a Brooklyn Sustainable Porter. It's all organic malts ( the malts make up 99% of the beer) but since the brewmaster hasn't found organic hops up to snuff, the beer remains simply sustainable and not totally organic.

It also has "hopped" on to the alternative energy train by teaming up during an eco-festival held at a park on the East River in Manhattan. The NY Times covered the promotion at the third annual Citysol festival in Stuyvesant Cove Park. Their pitch was “Sign up for clean energy and drink free beer.” Those who signed up for electricity from Community Energy, received tickets for four pints of Brooklyn Lager.

Cheers to solar power.

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