“[…]the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”
― Jack Kerouac,
Beer Bro vs. Drinking Buddy
There is a huge distinction between a Beer Bro and the lesser, but better known, “Drinking Buddy.”
Anyone sitting next to you in a bar can be a Drinking Buddy. A Drinking Bro, on the other hand, is entirely different.
This will probably be the first guy to try your little beer darling without a helmet. He’s also the first person that you TRUST to read a new blog post, and won’t kill your dreams.
Although the name for my blog is recent, the seeds of raw curiosity were sown building motorcycles in my long lost Beer Bro’s backyard. When he broke the news that he’d bought a 50-acre farm in Bracebridge, deep down it was hard to be happy.
I wished him and his family the best, but hanging out on a regular schedule was now going to be a major hurdle.
A lot of life has transpired since Christian moved out of town.
He adopted a pair of boys.
My twin boys arrived.
He grew some vegetables and raised a bunch of farm animals. I brewed some beer. If I present it this way, it looks like some insane contest. Years later I see and understand how the farm provided him some breathing room.
He needed to get out of town.
I still remember where my roots came from. The first home brew I tasted was from his neighbor during the “Twin Motorcycle Build Project.” It was a tasty dark ale packaged in a stereo-typical PET bottle – very classic.
Co-incidently Christian also introduced me to the Niagara Brew Club, thinking I may try my hand at a batch.
The Value of A Fellow Mastermind
Over many phone calls we have also developed a mutual interest in Permaculture, and it was one of these crazy ideas on how to improve soil profile that led to the discovery of Saw Dust City Brewing Co.
Beer plus farm equals more fun.
Christian had been spreading spent grains on his fields to enrich the soil. Although later it would prove overwhelming, in return for taking the grains, he’d often get “seconds” the beer that didn’t make it through quality control on the production line.
That’s free beer in a nutshell.
It was at the Coholan farm where I tried Lone Pine and to this day it is still one of my favorites. Not a beer you can drink a ton of – but the hop content quenches your thirst after cutting down some dead trees for fun.
Showcase The Craftsmanship
Since the Barley Nectar Blog project has jumped out of the gates, I have been sharing my thoughts on how this type of platform can compliment craftsmanship and a permaculture farm like Christian’s.
It’s hard to imagine that writing is more work than farming, but at the end of the day, both pursuits have merit.
If you keep your projects hidden from the world they never have the chance to enrich others. I believe that if you take an entrepreneurial leap, you can turn your hobby into an online business.
How do I benefit the world by making a five gallon batch of beer?
Building a platform, in this case, a blog, which in turn allows me to show others a unique angle on brew culture.
One Straw Revolution
The book called One Straw Revolution has permanently altered my thinking on the subject and describes a “No Till Method” of farming. Masanobu Fukuoka (1913 – 2008) was a genius that changed the way Japanese farmers cultivated rice.
So how do rice and beer go together?
Masanobu was the first philosophical farmer I’d run across and also has been called the father of modern Permaculture. It’s unfortunate that the world wide web wasn’t a prominent fixture in my early experience on the farm.
If it had been, things may have been different.
Farmers like Masanobu have taught me to look deeply into subjects and see the natural design behind something as complex as the fermentation process, and I’m glad he wrote about it.
The Ultimate Beer Bro
Farming is about craftsmanship.
So is Writing.
The base ingredients for craft beer come from the land, and brewing is about applying scientific principles to design. Bring the fresh ingredients to the table and let Nature arrange them properly and voila you are going to get great Barley Nectar.
In the writing process, you draft, struggle with resistance, let the subconscious ferment idea, and over a single sleep, it turns into something worth discussing over a great pint.
That’s my goal.
The No-Till Method
Masanobu started his one straw revolution early in the seventies, and had my father known and applied these principles it would have been easier.
That is my humble opinion and the hindsight of a child is 20/20.
The more important thing to ask would be, did my father really want to be a farmer at all?
Did the occupation get pulled over him like a tight glove? Was it a burden of necessity? As an adult, I understand what it means to be unemployable. Once you have tasted a glimpse of freedom, why would you want a boss?
If I had a choice I would love to see my sons follow their strengths and not let themselves get blown around about like a leaf in the wind.
It’s hard to break out of the tractor rut your father sets before you, but in reality, you are responsible for making the change, to make the final course adjustment.
Most of your skills you learn early in life will set the stage for later success and failure.
I admit I don’t know if the Barley Nectar Project will succeed.
That isn’t important.
It’s in this same way that it’s impossible to know for certain how a batch of beer will turn out. With hope, determination, and practice, I have confidence that I can make this work.
Grand Prairie, here we come!
The next post will focus on the upcoming 2016 Scott Tournament of Hearts in Grande Prairie, Alberta. The purpose of the trip is to do some R&D for the host committee of the 2017 STOH at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.
It will be fun and terrifying.
Hopefully I will manage to get a selfie with the infamous Angus McStone. As always I’m more than willing to hear any thoughts comments. Let me know what you think!