Brewing Trouble: How to Drink Beer and Save the World

Dandelion Salad

by Benjamin Dangl
March 25th, 2008

Beer, like so many other products, is largely in the hands of giant corporations. Therefore, drinking beer can often enrich the same systems of power we as activists are fighting against. Fermenting Revolution: How To Drink Beer and Save the World by Christopher O’Brien (New Society Publishers, November 2006) is a book about how the people can take back the brew and join together in saying, “If I can’t drink good beer, it’s not my revolution.”

It is satisfying and rebellious in this increasingly corporate world to make your own beer. In Vermont, homebrewing and microbrewing is a state-wide past time; a 2005 census shows that there is one microbrewery for every 32,792 people in the state, which is the highest number of microbreweries per capita in the country. As many people know, beer drinkers can be activists in how they choose and make their own beer. Interested in changing the world through drinking? Fermenting Revolution can serve as a kind of bible for the beer activist that’s bubbling inside each and every one of us.

In Fermenting Revolution, O’Brien presents a people’s history of beer, allowing the reader to feel connected to beer activists centuries ago. The author explains the scientific process of brewing in an easy to understand style, avoiding what he calls “Beer geek-speak.” The book goes into the important role women have historically played in beer making, and how people can take on corporate globalization by making and drinking their own beer. It’s time to get to the home fires brewing!


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