Turning Beer Into Food

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Brewing beer requires a lot of energy since it involves heating large amounts of water and tossing in a bunch of plant matter. From there the plant matter gets tossed into compost (or in some places a landfill) to be reused. This plant matter is known as spent grain and you can use it again before it ends up as compost. A company called Regrained is taking those spent grains from brewers and turning them into food!

I’ve home-brewed beer and have used the spent grains to make cookies, and you can too. Here’s a guide how to prepare spent grains for baking if you also make your own beer.

That six-pack of IPA you enjoyed on Friday night generated about a pound of waste in its making. After brewers soaked barley (or sometimes other grains) in hot water and extracted the liquid to make beer, they’re left with a lot of spent grain on their hands. Most rural breweries, like Northern California’s Lagunitas or Sierra Nevada, haul the byproduct to nearby farms, which feed the grain to their animals. Others recycle it as compost. But for smaller breweries in urban areas, miles away from hungry pigs, figuring out what to do with the leftovers isn’t always easy.

The company Regrained turns that spent grain into snack bars. At a Meetup event in the Mission district of San Francisco, curious eaters lined up around the company’s booth, intrigued by the displayed logo “Eat Your Beer.” Cameron Schwartz, a tall man wearing a T-shirt with the same words, explained how his brother and buddies—all home-brewers—decided to open a business that takes beer byproducts and bakes them into bars, costing $2.50 a pop and sold at local grocery stores. So far, ReGrained has worked with three breweries in the Bay Area.

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A Beer Six Pack Meant For The Oceans

Saltwater Brewery is a beer company that makes the oceans better while selling beer. Most breweries sell their beers in six packs attached by plastic rings and those rings often end up in the ocean chocking sea life and otherwise causing harm to the ecosystem. What Saltwater has done is create a new six pack ring that breaks down in the water and can even feed some aquatic life!

The rings are also 100 percent biodegradable and compostable, which just ups the product’s sustainability game.

The brand says that the innovative design is as resistant and efficient as plastic packaging. The only drawback is that edible six-pack rings are more expensive to produce. But the company hopes that customers will be willing to pay a little more in order to help the environment and animal life.

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Enjoy Beer Thanks To Hops

Beer is delicious and has been a part of healthy living for years, but why is it good for us? Beer can provide mental benefits because it helps people relax and can bring temporary moments of joy. It also works on a physical level, which is what researchers have been looking into. The hops are one key ingredient that makes beer a healthy choice. Hops have been used in teas to improve physical health of individuals and are used in beer.

So drink it up! Just not too much.

In one study, appearing in the Journal of Natural Products, a team of Italian researchers identified three previously unknown chemicals from Cascade hops—which are used in many American brews, but perhaps notably as a finishing hop in Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale. One of the chemicals has clear anti-inflammatory properties.

In a second study, presented this week at the American Chemical Society’s annual conference in San Diego, researchers from the University of Idaho report figuring out a streamlined procedure for making synthetic versions of two key hop chemicals, humulone and lupulone, which are known to have antimicrobial and anticancer activity. With their artificial versions, the researchers plan to make an assortment of chemical tweaks to optimize the compounds for disease-busting drugs.

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Pub Proximity Produces Pleasure

How close you live to a pub impacts your happiness, the closer you are the happier you’ll be! Oxford University and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) released the study proving this fun bit of knowledge last week. CAMRA is all about keeping British pub culture alive and strong bro people keep drinking beer, which is good for you too.

The study was conducted in pubs in Oxfordshire, and it also found pubs were very important in providing a place where people could meet and make friends.
Professor Robin Dunbar of Oxford University, said: “Friendship and community are probably the two most important factors influencing our health and wellbeing.
“Making and maintaining friendships, however, is something that has to be done face-to-face. The digital world is simply no substitute.
“Given the increasing tendency for our social life to be online rather than face-to-face, having relaxed accessible venues where people can meet old friends and make new ones becomes ever more necessary.”

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Beer as Medicine

Beer is delicious and it can be healthy to drink on its own. Apparently, back in the day, beer was used to deliver medicine. It turns out that this isn’t a crazy idea and can be a good way to deliver need medicinal ingredients to patients.

Another option was to add the herbs during the brewing process, either when boiling the malt, or just slightly heating them in the beer after the boiling has taken place. Van Lis mentioned over fifty kinds of herbs to prepare medicinal beer, ranging from ginger, lavender, cardamom, hyssop, cinnamon, aniseed, rosemary, nutmeg, gentian, juniper and lemon grass to plants such as absinth leaves, sweet flag, germander sage, and eye worth. He does not advise which kind of herb-infused beer should be used for particular ailments; this was after all supposed to be at the discretion of physicians. However, Van Lis does advice that ‘Joopen beer’ (which he says literally means ‘juicy beer’ in old Dutch) heats, moistens, and nourishes the body, but causes infected blood, bad digestion, sore eyes, fevers, and gout when drunken in excess.[1]

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