Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Beer is proof God loves us...

And so is the sun. The sun allows us to grow barely and hops, heats our planet, and makes life possible. Solar energy is the oldest form of energy on our fine earth, and for at least the next 4 billion years, it is also renewable.

Other than basic horticulture, what does this have to with beer?

Well a brewery in beer and hippie friendly Oregon has gone and combined two of my passions into one operation: brewing, and renewable energy.

The Lucky Lab Brewery of Portland uses a solar thermal system to heat up the water, which for brewing must get up to 160 degrees. I was wondering how this system could allow for the brewing of beer in winter, but according to the Lucky Lab's website they were able to get the water to 145 just last week, and the system is also supplemented with traditional heat.

I have to say that I was impressed by the 145 degree achievement in the grey Portland winter, and I'm sure that the system will have absolutely no trouble come summer. Given the vast amounts of hot water needed to run a brewery, the Lab is truly that: an experiment in environmental efficiency for small scale brewers. After a few years of operation, the Lucky Lab will be able to provide a real world example of carbon free heating, and give other brewers a cost/reward example as well.

I've never been to the Lucky Lab, but I can guarantee that I will make it a point to go the moment I set foot in Portland. I applaud their efforts from a brewing and environmental standpoint, and wish them nothing but hot water and cold brews.

If you live in Portland, or know someone who does, tell them about the Lucky Labrador.

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