Can Chocolate, Beer, and Mushrooms Save the World?

That was the headline in today’s Chicago Tribune. Read the whole story here.

The premise of the article was to incite a grudge match between three authors, each of whom claims something is “saving the world.” All three are speaking at the Green Festival in Chicago this weekend. The author/speaker/my-food-saves-the-world-better-than-your-food-adversaries include:

Chocolate Beer and mushrooms

So how do the three stack up in this “save-the-world” smackdown? Some of the “competing” claims:

David says: “Cacao farms provide a green alternative to cattle farming, logging, and oil.”
Chris says: I’m all for that! In fact, I’ve done some great beer and chocolate pairings. I’ve even brewed beer with chocolate. However, the article forgets to say to choose certified organic, and certified fair trade chocolate – each of which crank up the “save the world” value by a half-nelson.

Paul says: “Some of our best antibiotics come from a fungus, penicillum for instance.”
Chris says: I love fungus – yeast is a fungus and it makes beer!

Paul says: “They’re using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is a fungus, to make it.
Chris says: Yeah, that’s what I said. And by the way, a number of brewers are now using their spent brewing grain to grow mushrooms.

David says: “I consume quite a bit of medicinal mushrooms – but in my morning chocolate drink.”
Chris says: “Sounds interesting, I’ve never tried it. But for some reason I think I’d prefer a nice low-alcohol wheat beer with breakfast.

David says: regarding beer, “I’m not a big fan” because “rowing grain requires clearing forests.
Chris says: I think he’s referring to Amazonian rainforest being cleared to raise grain-fed cattle that end up on the menu at places like McDonald’s. The barley used to brew craft beer is grown almost exclusively in the U.S. and a little in Europe, where no rainforests are being removed for it. But for the record, I’m opposed to clearing rainforest to raise grain-fed cattle too.

Chris says: One thing beer has that chocolate and mushrooms don’t: intoxication. But hey, can’t we all just get along? That’s the nature of beer, it brings people together and helps build community. And it combines the best of all three: just try a pint of my homebrewed, cask-conditioned (beer with yeast in it), organic, fair trade, chocolate stout.


11 Responses to Can Chocolate, Beer, and Mushrooms Save the World?

  1. Greg Clow says:

    You say: “One thing beer has that chocolate and mushrooms don’t: intoxication.”

    Well, that depends on what type of mushrooms you’re talking about, doesn’t it? 😉

  2. Dave Bonta says:

    I don’t feel like registering to read what sounds like a pretty stupid story (and how typical of journalistic laziness, to set it up as a contest between opposing points of view), but congratulations on the publicity!

  3. beeractivist says:

    Greg – so true.

    Dave – sorry about that. It actually didn’t require log-in the first time I went to the site but now it’s requiring it. You’re right about the false premise of opposing views. I actually told her that I really supported what the other people were saying too, but hey that’s boring. The “conflict” is pretty innocuous though.

  4. Hummingbird says:

    “Well, that depends on what type of mushrooms you’re talking about, doesn’t it? ;)”

    Greg, that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking!

    That brings to mind a petroglyph I saw in a book. It was of a Shaman, who was covered with mushrooms and bees. Evidently, one of the first fermented sacred drinks in Africa was mead type drink of honey and psychedelic mushrooms. Gives a new perspective to mead, doesn’t is?

  5. ELZ says:


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