PORTLAND, Ore. -- We here in Portland love our bicycles.
We also love our beer.
Now a local brewery has found a way to use one to make the other and help out the environment in the process.
Ben Parsons has been brewing beer at the Baerlic Brewing Company for going on three years. This year he is doing something he has never done before.
He and his team have brewed up a batch of low-carbon beer.
"It's great, yeah, it's very good," Parsons said.
It's called "Bike Crush Saison." A fitting name considering the malt used in it was crushed not by the heavy machinery that normally grinds it, but by people pedaling a bike
"We built a human powered bike crusher we call it, and we were able to get people on the bike and crush 350 pounds of malt," explained Parsons.
More than 30 community members helped crush the malt used in the beer. And while it was, no doubt, a fun event, it was also meant to spark conversation about the impact brewing has on the environment.
Traditional brewing uses a lot of energy and water. So Baerlic Brewing teamed up with the Oregon Environmental Council Emerging Leaders Board to make the low-carbon beer.
"We were tasked with taking our usual process and be as environmentally conscious as we can," said Parsons.
In addition to the bike mill, the brewery also cut down on its carbon footprint by using ingredients sourced within 225 miles of Portland. And it ditched the whole energy intensive bottling process.
"We're going to only serve it in draft so we’re not getting into bottles and all the packaging associated with that," Parsons explained.
Also, the beer will be delivered only to establishments within one mile of the brewery by bike or hybrid vehicle.
It's an environmentally friendlier beer that will hopefully get its drinkers thinking about their environment.
"There's really no better way to get people around a table talking about hard issues then with a glass of beer," said J.J. Green, co-chair of the Emerging Leaders Board.
This the third year the board has put on the low-carbon beer challenge.
This year's "Bike Crush Saison" will be released June 15. It is meant to be a one-time thing, but the brewery says if people love it, they just might make it again.