Green New Deal gets an IPA of its own
Pond Farm Brewing in San Rafael is taking a stance against global warming with a new IPA brewed in the name of a national initiative to wean the country off fossil fuels and slow the warming of the Earth.
The beer is called Vote for the Green New Deal IPA, referring to the package introduced in early 2019 by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., as a roadmap toward carbon neutrality and an economy fired up with new energy industries and jobs. Each pint of the beer sold will send 15% of the sale toward the Sierra Club, which Pond Farm’s owners say on Instagram that they “have long admired for its bold national advocacy for our environment.” The can also features congressional phone numbers and suggested talking points for climate-oriented conversations with lawmakers.
The Vote for the Green New Deal project was launched late in the summer by Santa Rosa’s Henhouse Brewing Co. The project invites breweries everywhere to brew an IPA by the same recipe and using the same label template, but with phone numbers for local lawmakers. Furthermore, it asks participating breweries to donate proceeds to a climate-conscious organization and — perhaps most importantly — those who buy the beer to call their representatives and ask that they endorse the Green New Deal.
“We want our customers to know that our politicians work for us, and we want people to know that they can make a difference, that they have the power to tell lawmakers what they want,” says Collin McDonnell, the chief executive officer and co-founder of Henhouse Brewing.
He says the project was conceived in August, when he and his partners decided to use their voice as a popular brewery to encourage legislators to do everything in their power to help slow global climate change. Our society’s fossil fuel addiction is leading to flooding, crop failures, record heatwaves, coral bleaching, ocean acidification and other disastrous phenomena. Locally, ferocious wildfires bear the distinct signature of global warming.
McDonnell pointed out that his field of expertise is brewing beer.
“That’s what I’m good at — I’m not a climatologist, and I’m not a policy wonk,” he says. “But the science says drastic action on the scale of the Green New Deal is the only game in town” that will address the Earth’s emergency.
Sales from Henhouse’s version of the beer will support the Climate Emergency Fund, but McDonnell says fundraising is not the primary goal of the beer.
“The important part is making that phone call,” he says.
Through a dizzying vortex of misinformation and denial of science, right-leaning politicians have turned the Earth’s climate emergency into a matter of political opinion. Carbon dioxide is a molecule, and nobody contests its existence. The greenhouse effect is likewise a fact of science.
But somehow, the warming effect that CO2 is having on our biosphere has been hotly politicized. Thus, while many Democrat lawmakers have supported the Green New Deal, Republicans — many of whom have argued that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax, or simply a natural phenomenon — mostly oppose it.
McDonnell waves away the notion that this beer, and its cause, is political.
“This isn’t political,” he says. “We have a wildfire season now, and that’s bad.”
He adds that he grew up in Sonoma County.
“The climate here has obviously changed,” he says.
Dozens of breweries around the country have either joined the campaign or pledged to do so soon. Pond Farm, whose hoppy and aromatic rendition of the Green New Deal IPA is on tap and in cans now, was among the first breweries to sign up.
Stephanie Martens, Pond Farm’s co-owner, says she and her husband, Trevor, also the brewer, see it as something of their civic duty to engage on the climate issue.
“We think it’s important to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” she says. “You might not agree with everything in the Green New Deal resolution, but it’s the only national congressional effort to address climate change and we feel that is worth supporting.”
Alastair Bland’s Through the Hopvine runs every week in Zest. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.