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Portland's Bike-Powered Mill Delivers A Low-Carbon Beer


Portland's Baerlic Brewing has teamed up with the Oregon Environmental Council to brew a low-carbon beer using a bike mill to grind the malt for its “Bike Crush Saison.”

The beer, scheduled to be released June 15, will be made with locally grown hops from Crosby Hop Farm in Woodburn. It will only be distributed within a mile of the brewery by bike or hybrid vehicle.

Baerlic co-owner and co-brewer Ben Parsons said grinding 350 pounds malt for this batch of beer would normally take about 20 minutes in a electric-powered mill. Using a human-powered bike mill on Thursday evening, it took about an hour and a half.

"It takes about two minutes to grind 10 pounds of malt with the bike,” he said. “It would take a lot of human energy to do this on a massive scale."

Monica Martinez, a member of the Oregon Environmental Council's Emerging Leaders Board, said the low-carbon beer challenge is a way to get the community involved in talking about environmental issues "one pint at a time."

"This is definitely an event we think is accessible for people to come talk about things that can be really complex and abstract like the environment and climate change," she said. "It sort of simplifies those things in a literal way because it is a healthy environment and clean air and water that contribute to making a really, good tasty beer."

This was the third year for the Emerging Leaders Board's Low Carbon Beer Challenge. In the previous two events, it partnered with Portland's Migration Brewing Company and Hopworks Urban Brewery.

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Cassandra Profita