Tuesday, November 17, 2015


An encouraging trend in Maryland and much of the country toward more local self-sufficiency is the explosive growth of local beer brewing.  Even more encouraging is the 2012 passage of a law here that allows farmers special dispensation in order to brew and sell beer and other accompaniments. This reduces the logistics of delivering agricultural inputs to the brewers.  I noticed one such farm brewery close by that I would like to visit someday.  Calvert Brewing Company makes several types of beer, with their webpage telling you which types of hops go into each one.

Therein lies my interest; not so much in the drinking, but in the ingredients.  A few weeks ago, I introduced myself to the brewmaster at The Ruddy Duck Brewing Company in order to inquire as to the chances of relieving him of some of the spent grains used in making his beer.  He was happy to oblige.  I now bring him a 30 gallon container every week, which he fills with wet hops and grains out of one of his tanks.  He also gives the stuff away to a couple of local farmers.  They use it as a feed supplement.  I use it in compost (my dog won't eat it).  I do the same thing with 5 gallon buckets of coffee grounds that I get from the local doughnut shop.  Starbucks will give away big plastic trash bags full of spent grounds, so you don't even need to leave a bucket - just ask whenever you visit.  All this collecting activity is incidental to other errands nearby - same with the horse manure and the bags of raked leaves I grab from friendly neighbors who would otherwise pay for their disposal.

Of course, I collect my own leaves, coffee grounds, and dog manure (see previous post), but the volume is an order of magnitude higher with these other sources.  If I ever start home brewing beer, I will also be using the mash for composting, or perhaps for feeding chickens. As a first step, I will try growing some of the varieties of hops used by The Ruddy Duck or one of our other local breweries, in case they would like to buy them from me.

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