Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Zero waste beer

Disclaimer: I actually do not drink beer because I think it's kind of gross. You know what I like? Coffee. There have been a few hard ciders I've actually enjoyed, and one very nice dessert pear wine we got to taste when we went on my birthday wine tour. But mostly coffee.

But even though I do not drink beer, I am a beer snob. Well, Eric, that's why. He's into mircrobrews, and we've been to all manner of place along the west coast (strangely, many of our travels take us directly into the path of breweries. Weird) "just to see." He has a pint glass collection. It's in his office so I don't care because I'm not the one who has to look at the dust.

Although Eric was quick to jump on the minimalist bandwagon, he hasn't exactly caught my zero waste mania yet, but he is good and he does try because he knows it's important to me. One way he has reduced waste: Filling his keg instead of buying individual bottles of beer. He's a homebrewer, but he hasn't brewed anything for at least a year because he's big into other projects. Like staining our deck. (Boring.) And then there's the fact we live in a small tourist trap of a town in Oregon with a half a dozen breweries. For about $20 more than it costs him to brew a 5-gallon batch, he can simply go fill his keg at one of our breweries.

Action shot

He was telling this story at some party, and the guys were like, Trisha lets you buy 5-gallons of beer at once? And Eric was all, it's zero waste! And I was like, yep, it's totally environmental. Plus it's not like he drinks it in one sitting or doesn't share it when people come over. Jeez, get a grip.

Sometimes Eric will even plan his keg purchases to coincide with little family field trips, like the one we took to Eugene over the July 4 weekend. I had planned to blog about this soon after the fact, except I'm old so I forgot. But getting a keg filled is easy. We waltzed into the Oakshire Public House (with girls in tow--they let you do that in Oregon, and I've found breweries are actually really family friendly), Eric handed over his keg, and less than 20 minutes later, he had 5-gallons of Watershed IPA in the back of our car.

Choices abound at Oakshire

Zero waste bonus: Oakshire donates a percentage of their Watershed sales to watershed conservation. I mean, come on! That's win-win.

Depending on the brewery, sometimes you have to call ahead to fill a keg, and sometimes you don't, so I guess I would advise calling ahead to be on the safe side. Also: It's not like you have to get a keg. You can go small with a growler, or go big with a half a barrel, apparently, like so:

Suddenly Eric's "corn can" is looking fairly modest

Personally, I think it's fun to find zero waste opportunities beyond the grocery bulk aisle. But then, I'm kooky that way. Someday I'll have to blog about filling my jar at my favorite coffee roasters... if I can ever manage to get there. (Busy. Bummer.)

P.S. As I reread this post, I realized I am implying that Eric never buys beer in bottles anymore. That is not the case. He still does sometimes. I prefer the keg method, though, because there's nothing left at the end to recycle or deal with. It's easy peasy, man.


onwritingbymf said...

Trish, not sure how to "like" your I'm just telling you. Like it!

Trisha Walker said...

As it happens, I don't know how to like a post either. Your way is friendlier, anyway.