This is Mary Jo. She’s an RPN Fellow (actually she’s a lass, but we call interns “fellows”).
She came over to help me brew today. She brewed once before, just a few weeks ago, using one of those all-in-one kits that are basically like taking a frozen loaf of bread and sticking it in the oven and calling it home-made bread. Okay, maybe they’re not quit that bad. And her landlord gave her the kit for free, so who’s complaining?
More importantly, it got her interested enough in brewing to come on over and help make a partial mash all-oroganic Belgian Dubbel. That’s fast progress!
I’m psyched any time women are getting involved with making beer. Beer is way too much a guy thing these days. Just look at the Bud Light ads during the Super Bored today – boring, reactionary, insulting, and intended to appeal to the basest stereotypical male attributes.
One of the many reasons I love brewing is that it provides a great excuse for people to just hang out and chat. During our brew session I learned that Mary Jo was involved in a zero-waste brewing project at the University of California Santa Barbara. The project took spent grain from the Santa Barbara Brew House, sterilized it, and used it as a growing medium for shitake and oyster mushrooms. Bad news though, the person leading the experiment was careless with the mushroom spores and killed them off by keeping them at the wrong temperature.
But lots of other breweries are incorporating similar practices with great success. They’re taking waste products of all kinds and turning them into money while preventing all that waste from having detrimental effects on nature. Regular readers of the Beer Activist Blog will learn more about this in future posts. You can also read all about this stuff in my book.