Drink Up: Save the Ales

Drink Up: Save the Ales

Annie Norcia

While Ales are enjoyed by many a student here at Colgate, one may be mystified as how to ensure their longevity. The “Save the Ales” party this past weekend — featuring Dangerboy and talented student band Earthman Embassy — was organized to educate students about the dangers of global warming, and the way in which it affects…beer? Indeed. The annual green get-together is a long-standing tradition of Students for Environmental Action (S.E.A.). Led by junior Gavin Leighton, sophomores Kathleen Onorevole and Nicole Dunn, the members of S.E.A strive to make the Colgate campus a little greener. Leighton explained their mission in hosting “Save the Ales.”

“We want to raise awareness about climate change and some of its effects,” Leighton said.

The event revolves around a single principle: hops, an ingredient in beer, and its production, is affected by climate change. When global warming sets in, the hops harvest decreases. The increase in hops prices makes it more expensive for breweries to make their product. In passing the costs off to the consumer, beer gets more expensive.

And why are hops integral in beer production? Apparently, they affect both the taste and smell of the beer, according to a North West New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops team website. The hops plant, also know as Humulus lupulus, was introduced into the colonies in 1629, the site explains, and is harvested for its cone. A relative of cannabis, hops crops could suffer with global warming.

The event did its part in educating the consumer: The Parker Commons was decorated with various posters which explained the dangers of global warming and the threats to our environment should our carbon footprint not be reduced. The event, from 7:30 to 11 p.m in the Commons, had a fair turnout.

The event, conceptually strong (music, free food, beer, environmental awareness) failed to draw the crowd it deserved. With loads of pizza and a choice of subs, beer and root beer supplied by Saranac, the party was an excellent time for those in attendance.

Students danced all night long to Dangerboy and the young, talented Earthman Embassy, whose set was close to conclusion when they started off Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” a cappella. The instrumental kicked in, and cheers abounded.

The organization sold mugs and t- shirts touting their catchy slogan, “Save the Ales.” The t- shirts, playing up the acronym, were blue and contained a nifty design on the back, while mugs — the green solution to countless Starbucks paper cups — were perfect for that early morning class cup of joe. Tickets to tour Saranac’s brewery were also raffled off for $1.

“[The money raised goes to] installing alternative resources, like solar and wind power,” Onorevole explained.

These are examples of native energy, she explained, rather than expendable resources like coal and fossil fuels. The event seemed in keeping with Colgate’s greener outlook, along with the Senior Class Gift’s Environmental Initiative and efforts to improve recycling around the Colgate campus.

The organization hopes to have other events this year, including an organic dinner at the Edge sometime next semester. Perhaps students will weigh their options when setting off up the hill: forcing the old legs up Persson or paying more for their brew.

Additional information about beer production can be found at: http://www.nwnyteam.org/AgFocus2007/Nov/HopProduction.htm