The Sierra Nevada Ethanol Brewing Co.

Show Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who's boss. Chug a Pale Ale today.

By Andrew Leonard

Published February 6, 2009 11:15AM (EST)

Even close readers of How the World Works may not be aware that the hoppy goodness otherwise known as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has blessed this blog with visits on no less than four occasions: "A Cornucopia of Beer," "The Great Sprinkler Storm of Greenbelt 2007," "An Inconvenient Beer Cap" and "Beer, Happiness, and Academic Productivity."

Moreover, I don't just talk the beer talk in my blog. I am also the proud owner of a Sierra Nevada biking jersey, the sight of which has been known to send parched fellow cyclists into paroxysms of thirst, as mirages of oases sometimes do to travelers lost in the desert.

With this context in mind, you will doubtless appreciate the satisfaction I took in learning today, via Treehugger, that the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. announced on Tuesday a joint venture with E-Fuel, "the inventor of the world's first home ethanol system -- the Efuel100 MicroFueler" -- to brew ethanol from beer dregs.

From the Sacramento Business Journal:

On average, Sierra Nevada resells 1.6 million gallons of unusable "bottom of the barrel" beer yeast waste to farmers each year [as dairy feed]. Containing 5 percent to 8 percent alcohol content, the waste includes enough yeast and nutrients to enable the MicroFueler to raise that level to 15 percent alcohol, allowing for an increased ethanol yield.

"Creating ethanol from discarded organic waste is an excellent example of how the MicroFueler can help eliminate our reliance on the oil industry infrastructure. This is especially true when considering Americans reportedly discard 50 percent of all agricultural farmed products," said Tom Quinn, E-Fuel founder and chief executive officer.

I've had a lot to be thankful for in 2009, but the notion that draining a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale could help deliver the United States from its parlous state of foreign oil dependence is a bounteous gift so great that I might have to consider whether, perhaps, just maybe, there is a God.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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