Great Barrier Beer – when three planets align

James Grugeon and me, with a Great Barrier Beer. You should have one.
James Grugeon and me, with a Great Barrier Beer. You should have one.

Sometimes you feel like all your planets have suddenly aligned — like the cogs of chaos have finally locked themselves into place to give you a bit of purchase on life’s unsealed road.

This seems like an overly loquacious and ornate start to this post, but screw it. I’m having an attack of enthusiasm.

Anyway, a few weeks back I was invited to a Mexican place called Zambreros for a mini-launch of a beverage called Great Barrier Beer.

This is where the aligning of the planets took place. And when I say planets, I actually mean three planets, one of which is beer.

To understand my enthusiasm here, I should explain a few things.

In my late teens and early 20s, I spent an inordinate amount of time around beer.

I worked as a live-in general manager for a brewery in one of those pub/restaurant chains where most of the food looks all home-cooked but is mostly carved unceremoniously from massive tin foil trays bought from even bigger catering suppliers.

But what was very real was the beer.

One of my jobs was to look after the cellar — keep the temperature right, tap and breathe the cask ales, clean the lines, that sort of thing. When I wasn’t working, I was drinking the stuff.  I lived in a pub, literally.

This is planet number one.

I left to retrain as a journalist more than 20 years ago. Just over ten years ago, I had a spell as a freelancer and one of my specialisms was writing about social enterprise — a business model that’s less interested in delivering profits to shareholders and more interested in tackling a social issue of some sort or another.  Essentially, most social enterprises have a second or even third bottom line.

This is planet two.

Now, during this period a lot of the issues social entrepreneurs were trying to tackle were environmental, such as cutting waste, reducing greenhouse gas emissions or promoting more sustainable practices in farming or supply-chain management. That’s how I got interested in climate change and environmental issues.

So these days, I write a lot about climate change – both the science and the politics of it – and being based in Queensland, I’ve written plenty about the Great Barrier Reef.  I’ve dived on the reef, snorkelled on the reef and taken my kids to holidays on the reef.

This is planet three.

So back to Great Barrier Beer.  It’s produced by the Good Beer Company – a classic social enterprise.

Half the profits go to the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s reef campaigning and it raises awareness of the reef’s plight at the same time.

The beer itself is made by Queensland craft brewers Bargara Brewing and it’s lovely – a mid-strength session IPA with some fruity notes and a nice bit of depth thanks to the malts.

So why am I telling you about this now?

Well, James Grugeon – the founder of the Good Beer Company — has just launched their new crowdfunding campaign to get started brewing a second beer.

You can help fund it and help decide whether the next beverage is a blonde, a cider or a kolsch.

Go to the crowdfunding page and give them a hand. Maybe buy some too? Think about the planet(s).

Author: Graham

Graham Readfearn is a Brisbane-based journalist. Go to the About page in the top navigation for more information.