Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Project Heifer

In an earlier post, I talked about two groups of Northwestern Engineering students that were working on a project that dealt with our spent brewer’s grain. You can view it here. Their semester ended a couple weeks back and I had the opportunity to sit in on their final presentations.

I was hoping for more of a face-off, last man standing format that lent itself towards yelling and under-handed tactics, but got very professional (suit and tie), thoughtful presentations that were useful and informative.

Group #1 came up with some compelling ideas for composting that involved actually creating a second tier of business. They designed an area in the brewery that would serve as a breakdown area where we’d produce an additional product ready for sale. If we had the time and resources we would seriously look at this option.

Group #2 designed a rake system that would help us to make our current “grain out” process easier. Coming to the idea was smart because most in the brewing industry have these handy contraptions in their Mash Tun that rake out the grain automatically. We have none. Maybe they were trying to rub it in, but either way, it was a very practical solution.

Thanks to both teams for working with Half Acre Beer Co.

And for the finale……

Introducing: Project Heifer!

A farmer named Ben lives right here in Northcenter, and his farm is about 50 miles south. He’s begun to take the grain to his cows, and a couple of pigs he bought. Apparently cows are far more finicky than I realized – he’s in the process of gradually integrating it into their diet to see if they like it. I had the impression that you could throw used auto parts into a trough and they’d gobble it up, but I guess they, too, have temperamental palettes that aim to be pleased. I hope those prissy sonsabitches take to it.

We’ll keep you informed.

Half Acre Beer Co
Chicago, IL

1 comment:

rachel said...

wow, that's surprising. my chocolate lab chomps it up every meal ('it' being the spent grain). the dilemma arises with homebrew as well, just not on a level as large scale as yours. i'm currently using half the spent grain to fertilize the garden (i'm not actually sure if that works, but i sleep better at night knowing it wasn't thrown out) and the other half gets combined with some peanut butter and baked for homemade dog treats. hope the cows/pigs/other various farm animals not located in northcenter take to yours.