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STURBRIDGETIMES

THE CHRONICLE OF STURBRIDGE COUNTRY LIVING

THE

DECEMBER 2013

MAGAZINE

Little Mouse

BOOKREVIEW
Beer Terrain: Field to Glass from the Berkshires to the Maine Coast

Continued from previous page

been from children outside Concord? The diagrams and photos do help draw people to Walden Pond for the visual connection to this special place. Some of the children do not live in Concord but came here to see for themselves. It is a factual fairy tale, so I provide accurate maps as to where the story took place. So many have come to Walden and followed my maps to Thoreaus house site. How do parents obtain a copy of Little Mouse as a childs gift for Christmas? We are set up to ship the book all over the nation but through the postal service. The book can be ordered by phone or email. My telephone is 978-2874800 and my email is: bill51montague@gmail.com.

ByJonathan Cook with Suzanne LePage Paperback, 156 pp.. Createspace, 2013 List $16.20 Amazon: $16.20

Our cover

f, after youve shopped for all of your holiday gifts in and around Sturbridge, you find yourself bitten by the bug to experience some serious pre-holiday Nordic walking, as it is practiced in Lower Saxony, you might find yourself at the Christmas Market in Hildesheim, Germany, one of northern Germanys oldest cities, which is featured on our cover this month. This lovely image, clearly a departure for us, literally and figuratively, should help place us all in the celebratory spirit in anticipation of a wonderful holiday season.

Jonathan Cooks Beer Terrain is a labor of love about people who love their labor. With his wife, Suzanne LePage they have come up with a book about the efforts of those in New England who are creating an industry that is an art form. The couple is serious about beer. Just how serious? Jonathan writes of a pause at a tavern in the White Mountains, This was a great stop on our honeymoon which took us all around New England visiting brewpubs and drinking microbrews. To spend so much time at the beginning of the marriage on the quest displays a devotion to the subject and the region. There had been fair beer industry in New England at one time. Prohibition obliterated that. So of necessity, our new brews have had to restart the process from nothing. Is this necessary? After all, there is beer in this country, freely sold. In the introduction, Jonathan makes the point about two versions of capitalism, One is the global supply network that sells grain on the commodity market and homogenizes the malt distributing it worldwide via vast interlinking petroleum based transit systems. The other involves a

Sturbridge native and his love of local beer


BY RICHARD MORCHOE
handshake and a short drive in a small truck. Must it be a worldwide consistency or is there room for a local uniqueness? It is not possible to say if Jonathan intended it, but Beer Terrain is report card as to how far we have come in getting the beer from our fields into our glasses. A lot has been done, and there is room for more. Jonathan starts close to home in Worcester. Ben Roesch at Wormtown Brewery is trying to be as local as he can. Year round, five percent of the ingredients are a little Mass in every glass. The day of Jonathans visit, he gets to taste a beer made with hops and malt grown within 40 miles. Granted its a special offering of Masswhole Hop Session, but that is an achievement. 100% once a year, is that all we can do? Well, since 2010, its been getting easier. That year, Christian and Andrea Stanley opened New Englands first malthouse since prohibition in the Pioneer Valley town of Hadley. Their malted barley is the freshest around and their customers can now close another part of the circle. Over 20 breweries use the product of Valley Continued on page 8

THE STURBRIDGE TIMES MAGAZINE

THE CHRONICLE OF STURBRIDGE COUNTRY LIVING

Book takes a swig at the local beer terrain


Continued from page 6 Malt, Theres another ingredient associated with beer. How are we doing regionally with hops? In 2010 the University of Vermont did a feasibility study suggesting there is enough demand for at least a hundred acres of production. People are trying it even nearby at Hardwicks Clover Hill Farm. Steve Prouty has planted a third of an acre and has supplied the aforementioned Wormtown Brewery. Hop cultivation is no easy number. Our damp climate puts us at a disadvantage, yet that is not stopping the adventurous. Locally, Brimfields Tree House Brewing Company uses hops grown not ten minutes away. Granted, production is such that the Local Nugget (named after a hop variety) is only occasionally on offer. So malt and hops are coming on line more and more. What else do we need? How about yeast? Is it important to have that locally too? Bryan Greenhagen, brewer and microbiologist, seems to think so. In of all places, urban, gritty Chelsea, he is working on it. From off the skin of a plum, he has developed a strain of the fungus that not only ferments, but also imparts some flavor. Beer Terrain does not overlook the largest component of almost any beverage, H2O. The book has that covered. Suzanne is an engineer and teaches at WPI. Her research has focused on storm water management. Okay, we dont want storm water in our brewskis, but she does know water. Chapter 8 is her paean to aqua. Suzanne notes we do not have a common water source. So, other than the Quabbin, the water used is

going to be local. Does that affect taste? It can. Depending on composition. The atoms that make up water can bond with other atoms. The hardness and softness has an impact as well. Whatever else we can grow here, water will always be local. The more other ingredients of a nearby origin become part of our beers, the more we will have our own terroir. Jonathan used that term, more often asso-

ciated with wine, to describe the sense of place. The malt and hops grown here are and will be different from those of other regions. We have had wonderful local brewers for a couple of decades now. It is time to build the terroir. The book is no sense a dry technical manual. Jonathan and Susanne have enjoyed their odyssey and convey it from the Wonderful Peoples Pint in Greenfield to the Peak Organic Brewing Company in Portland Maine. Jonathan, the Sturbridge native enjoys the product served at Hyland Orchard as well as the aforementioned Tree House when not on the road. One can learn a lot from Beer Terrain while working up a thirst.

THE STURBRIDGE TIMES MAGAZINE

THE CHRONICLE OF STURBRIDGE COUNTRY LIVING